Onion farmers cry foul over fake seeds

Onion farmers cry foul over fake seeds
Farmers sort, grade and pack cured onions for storage and eventual sale. Courtesy Photo.

Onion farmers in Kabale, Ntungamo and Rukungiri districts are up in arms against Boona Bageigahare Nyekundiire Group, a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) for supplying them with fake seeds.

Boona Bageigahare Nyekundiire group operates under the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) program to promote onion growing in the three districts. In November 2016, Boona Bageigahare Nyekundiire group supplied four thousand kilograms of Onions seeds to one thousand farmers in the three districts.

Each farmer paid Shillings 12,000 for the onion seeds. The group is said to have procured the contested onion seeds from Simlaw Seeds Company Uganda Limited. However, the farmers say they were shocked during harvest to discover that the onions had failed to form bulbs, which renders them useless.

Kedress Tukwasibwe, a farmer from Rwahi in Kayonza Sub county Ntungamo district, says she had planted one and a half acres of onions hoping to reap huge profits in vain. Tukwasibwe says she is now stuck since she can’t sale the onions. She regrets wasting her little money to hire a piece of land and cultivate it to plant onions.

Steven Basheka, another farmer from Karogwa in Bukinda Sub County in Kabale district, says he invested over Shillings 700,000 in growing the onions with the hope of making over Shillings million from his two acre piece of land.

Basheka says although it is harvesting time, he has nothing to harvest and sell as all the onions failed to form bulbs. He accuses Boona Bageigahare Nyekundiire Group of deceiving them with fake seeds.

Basheka wonders why other farmers who didn’t get onion seeds from Boona Bageigahare Nyekundiire Group have a bumper harvest.

Peace Rugambwa, the Director Boona Bageigahare Nyekundiire Group shifts the blame to Simlaw Seeds Company Uganda Ltd. Rugambwa wants the company to compensate the affected farmers or else be dragged to court.

Sylvia Kyeyune, the Manager of Simlaw Seeds Company Uganda Limited denies supplying the farmers with fake seeds. She blames the failure of the onions to form bulbs on the effects of climate change.