Tomatoes increase nutritional food security and income among Ugandan smallholder farmers who have limited access to high quality seed. The objective of a new study was to analyze the current tomato seed value chain for Uganda.
Survey responses determined roles of key participants, including Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) for regulation and certification; National Agricultural Research Organization for breeding cultivars and seed multiplication; Makerere University for education and research; commercial seed companies for seed importation and conditioning; seed distributors for sales; and smallholder farmers as savers and end users of seed.
Challenges included an inefficient domestic seed distribution system, technical constraints in seed production and conditioning by seed companies, inadequate networks and communication among the seed industry’s key participants, and partial regulation of the seed industry.
Seed companies played a key role in seed conditioning processes. Companies imported all tomato seeds into Uganda and stated germination as their primary goal for quality. Challenges for seed companies included assistance from MAAIF to regulate and certify seed and access to improved technologies. Attaining high quality seed by commercial Uganda-parent companies will require additional investment and training of seed technologists for domestic testing and seed quality assurance.