Archive for the ‘Farmer to Farmer Advise’ Category

Traditional Vegetables

Traditional vegetable of Uganda are those plant species grown and
gen-types which are either indigenous or which were introduced long time
ago and are now cultivated. A number of them grow in all geographical
regions of Uganda, but their existence and importance vary with the
cultures staple foods of people in the various regions soils.*

They are a rich source of ascorbic acid in the diets; they
do not contain saturated fatty acid or cholesterol. In addition,
traditional vegetables supply a lot of other micro-nutrients, increase
taste and paratability and complement the nutritional values of staple

*Domesticate vegetables are grown in small plots adjacent to the homestead
which is an old age survival strategy. Production of these vegetables is
less demanding and sprouting quickly at the onset of the rains. Leafy
Amaranthus (Dodo) species, for example can be harvested in three or four
weeks after planting; they are therefore handy in emergency situations.

The importance of the traditional vegetables has rarely been appreciated,
however these vegetables make a substantial contribution to the food
security of the rural poor, and therefore their production should be

Rural women should be educated on the nutritive values of these crops and
encourage eat as many kinds of traditional vegetables as much possible.

Simple Insecticide Recipe using Tobacco to get rid of Aphids from your Garden

By Mary Nakirya

What you should have:

1 cup liquid dish soap

1 cup antiseptic mouthwash

1 cup chewing tobacco juice (Place 3 fingers of chewing tobacco in an old nylon stocking and soak in a gallon of hot water until mixture turns dark brown.)

Put mixture into a 20 gallon sprayer and fill the rest of the container with warm water. Spray on vegetables and plants every after one  week.

Do not spary on potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, egg plants or any other members of the Solanaceae family, using tobacco spray because it affects them too.

The Benefits of Ginger

By Mulopi Joseph,Mayuge

Ginger is famous for its healing properties from ancient times; the chemical composition of ginger is very complicated as it contains more than 400 compounds. That is why the taste and flavor of ginger are so subtle and original. The useful properties of this remedy are innumerable as it has analgesic,  absorbing, antispasmodic, carminative, aphrodisiac, healing soporific, tonic, antibacterial, choler tic, and antibacterial properties.

Ginger has a strong antioxidant and depressant effect, it enhances immunity, protects well against parasites, retards the growth of bacterial, and protects against parasitic diseases. It nourishes the whole body and has a beneficial effect on the digestive symptom.

Ginger is effective for colds, flu, coughs, and congestion in the lung and is excellent remedy for many skin diseases and allergies as well as asthma. It reduces the amount of cholerestrol in the blood and it reduces the pain caused by diseases of joints, is used for rheumatism, arthritis, edema, sprains, and muscles aches.

Ginger is said to be an excellent cure for mental or physical fatigue, which can help you overcome stress and rejuvenate, and it stimulates the thyroid gland. It is effective as an anti-aging remedy, in additional it enhances the men’s potency, helps in the treatment of infertility, increases the tone of the uterus and elevates sexual arousal.

Garlic Growing

Garlic is grown from the individual cloves. Each clove will produce one plant with a single bulb. This may in turn contain up to twenty cloves. Growing Garlic is therefore self-sustaining. In Uganda it is traditional to plant garlic on the shortest day of the year, whether this is for symbolic or practical reasons is unclear. One can eat garlic fresh out of the ground but if stored it must be cured first.

How to Grow Garlic

  • When planting garlic choose a garden site that gets plenty of sun and where the soil is not too damp.
  • The cloves should be planted individually upright and about an inch (25 mm) under the surface. Plant the cloves about 4 inches (100 mm) apart. Rows should be about 18 inches (450 mm) apart.
  • Garlic can be planted in the dry and wet seasons.
  • In warmer climates, it is best to plant Garlic in early dry season but seed Garlic must be chilled first to break it out of its dormant state.
  • One should be sure to plant each clove with the pointy tip facing up and the basal/root end facing down.
  • Planting garlic more closely produces more cloves although each clove will be smaller however many growers feel that close spacing increases total overall yield in pounds of garlic per square foot of garden.
  • Garlic prefers loose loamy soil with plenty of organic matter separating bulbs into cloves right before planting leaving the papery layer around each clove.
  • Larger cloves should be used for planting and the little ones for eating or preserving.
  • Mulching garlic can be very helpful, mulching can protect against winterkill in cold climates. It helps moderate soil temperatures, keeps weeds in check, and conserves soil moisture. Mulching is not recommended in wetter climates. Mulch for garlic can be straw, hay, swamp grass, reeds, chopped leaves or plastic.
  • One should be sure to obtain cloves from certified disease-free stock, because once a field has been infected with white rot fungus it may take decades for the infection to completely clear and nematodes can breed in garlic for up to six seasons before suddenly taking an entire crop. Besides using clean stock, inspecting plants and pulling any that look diseased, and using sticky traps for onion thrips, are the best management practices.

Use of Garlic
Garlic is used in so many dishes and with over 600 sub varieties there is ample room for gourmet garlic growers to carve out a niche.
For the home grower, a year’s supply of garlic is easy to grow and one can give away braids of it for presents throughout the year if grown too much.
Hard neck Garlic produces a curly green flower stalk called a scape. Garlic scapes should be harvested from the plant as it grows so that the Garlic concentrates its energy into growing the bulb larger however, if growing bulbils for seed, allow the Garlic scape to grow because Scapes are edible and delicious.

Pests that Affect Garlic Growing

  • White rot is the most serious disease of garlic.
    White rot is a fungus that can strike all Alliums crops including onions. White rot-infected garlic plants can be identified because their leaves will turn yellow and the plants will die back partially and wilt. The roots rot as well, so infected plants may uproot easily. White rot typically develops from the middle of the season to harvest.
  • Nematode is another problematic garlic pest.
    These microscopic animals are similar to worms and live inside the garlic plant itself, eating it as it reproduces. Nematodes do not need water to survive and they can live in the surrounding soil for several years. Nematode infestation can build up for several seasons without much damage, then strike and take out an entire crop.
  • Onion thrips are the most common insect that plagues garlic.
    Thrips damage the leaves by drinking the sap of the plant, which slows the growth of the bulb thus severe thrips, may cause the garlic to wilt and die.
    Soil should be evenly moist, with a dry spell two to three weeks before harvest time. If conditions are too wet near harvest, mold may grow. 
  • Weeds are a big threat to garlic, so the plot should be kept well-weeded.
    Weeds can easily out-compete young garlic plants. Good mulch keeps weeds in check and watering of Garlic should be done evenly during early growth, but avoid watering for the last few weeks.

Harvesting of Garlic
Harvesting of garlic should be done when half to three-quarters of the bottom leaves have died which usually happens in mid to late July and August for most areas.

Harvest a test bulb or two to determine maturity. garlic should be well-wrapped but not split.

To harvest garlic, loosen the soil with a shovel or fork and pull up plants by hand with caution because garlic bruises easily. If raising bulbils to propagate new garlic, harvest and dry them separately from the bulbs.

Storing of Garlic

Garlic should be placed in a dark place with good air circulation for two to three weeks after harvest to allow it to cure. For storage braid the soft neck Garlic. Trim stems of hard neck garlic to one inch above the bulb. Storing it where it will have good air circulation, 65-70% humidity, and a temperature of 35 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

In warm sunny climates, garlic can be left in the field to dry, but it should be covered with leaves to prevent sunburn. Cured garlic will keep at least six months and up to a year when stored in optimal conditions.

Health Benefits of Garlic

  • It has immune-enhancing allium compounds (dialyl sultides) that appear to    increase the activity of immune cells that fight cancer and indirectly help break down cancer causing substances.
  • Diallyl sulfide a component of Garlic oil has also been shown to render carcinogens in the liver inactive. Studies have linked Garlic as well as onions, leeks, and chives to lower risk of Stomach and Colon Cancer.

Varieties of Garlic

  • There are several garlic varieties grown by Ugandan farmers. Over 600 varieties of garlic are grown worldwide. One of the most common are
  • American garlic with white, papery skin and a strong flavour.
  • The Italian Garlic
  • Mexican Garlic has a pinkish-purple skin and a slightly mild flavour


Making Plastic Bags out of Bitter Cassava



There are various non-food uses for cassava.…………………..
It is applied in manufacturing of paper, textiles, medicines and adhesives, among others.
Scientists at National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) in Namulonge are making biodegradable plastics from cassava via a method known as bioprocessing. 
Ephraim Nuwamanya, a scientist involved in the experiment, says they use the tubers and peels of the bitter cassava variety. 
It is being carried out under Eastern Africa Agricultural Productivity project (EAAP) in conjunction with University College Cork in Ireland.

Reduce cyanide
The reason for the focus on bitter cassava is that it is neither consumed by human beings nor animals. It has a sizeable amount of cyanide thus unsafe for consumption.
This particular type is grown in most parts of West Nile and western Uganda in areas bordering Rwanda.
“Cassava consumers have tried to boil and ferment bitter cassava but it is still not good for human and animal health, this is the reason why we think it is good to utilise in biodegradable plastic products,” Nuwamanya said.

“We are using a technology which is not sophisticated but we need a technique, which will enable us rapture all the cells in the bitter cassava and destroy the cyanide.”

Alternative methods
Dr Steven Tumwesigye from National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL), who wrote a paper on processing of bitter cassava for packaging material, points out that bitter cassava cultivars have been utilised as an emergency food and less as alcohol, flour and starch.
The traditional methods applied in transforming roots into dried products had been a factor in low-value products and negative environmental impact.

This means an alternative for improved human safety and minimised environment impact is needed.
This is the basis for exploring the use of bitter cassava to produce biodegradable polythene paper in a bid to steer our agriculture from low-productivity enterprises to high-productivity commercial production.

Bitter cassava which has lasted in the field between 12 to 18 months is most appropriate.
“Both unpeeled and peeled roots are processed in two stages; mechanical tissue rupture and biopolymer release and recovery in order to obtain biopolymer powder to complete the entire process,” Dr Tumwesigye says. “Findings show that using both peeled and unpeeled roots has a positive impact in reducing the cyanide in bitter varieties.”

Environmental concerns
Application of sodium chloride also has a significant influence on the ratio in both the lined film product and in the interaction with peelings.
The experiment therefore means bioprocessing has a high chance of protecting the environment because of its indirect way of minimising waste.

Cassava as the main component in making packaging material is a unique one in eastern Africa. It is particularly important for cassava communities, which are exposed to environment-based dangers caused by bitter cassava.

The process
Ephraim Nuwamanya, who is part of the research to make biodegradable plastics from bitter cassava, explains the process: We get cassava root mainly from bitter cassava variety, crush it in order to obtain powder containing starch, protein, fibre and vitamins. We mix this powder in water in the presence of sodium chloride, heat it and we get a paste out of it which is passed through a machine called thinner to make a film-like lining.It is then put in an oven to dry to make polythene, which is put in a silk gel and later dried.The product is what can be used to shape into a bag, mug, handbag and phone cover, among others.


Sugar Cane (Saccharum Officinarum)

Sugar cane is a perennial grass, which under favorable conditions grows to a height of 2.5- 6m depending on the variety. It has a well developing fibrous roots found mainly in the top 25- 30 cm of the soil and which may spread outward to 2m. The stem, sometime known as canes or culms usually grows erect but are procumbent in some varieties.

Sugar cane is un-branched except for the tillers and consists of a series of nodes and internodes. The crop is mainly grown for sugar and this sugar may be extracted from the stems and used for sweetening a wide range of foods and drinks. It may also be used to making sweets, chocolates, spirits and sweetening livestock feeds. The crop requires a minimum annual rain fall of 1,500mm of which at least 70% should fall evenly during the growing period. Artificial irrigation is necessary when this amount of rainfall is not available, if maximum yields are to be realized.

Sugar cane grows on wide range of soils although it prefers heavy fertile and well drained soils. The PH required is not very critical as the crop may grow quite well in soils with PH of 4.2- 8.5. The growing season should be warm with mean day temperature of 28- 30 centigrade while temperature below 20 centigrade retards growth and those above 35 centigrade reduces photosynthetic rate.

Photorespiration increases with temperature can appear wilted irrespective of water supply when temperatures approaches 35 centigrade and growth is curtailed. Low temperatures are the effective means of ripening cane, counteracting adverse factors such as excessive moisture or nitrogen.

Land preparation and planting

Land preparation involves; clearing the bushes, removing stumps, building terraces or ridges to prevent soil erosion, grading slope grounds in preparation for irrigation by gravity, demolishing ant hills, ploughing and making furrows. Three eyed setts are planted in furrows at the depth of 20-30cm and 1.5m between the rows and cover with 2.5 7.5 cm of soil.

The planting material is obtained either from the harvested cane (the white tip) or from seed nurseries. The setts are planted in rows and they are placed end to end with a slight overlap. Double planting of poor tillering varieties can be well worth while with the yield benefits extending with ratoon crops. A seed bed density of 2,500-3,000 setts per ha or 6 to 7 tons of sugar cane per ha. Sugar cane can be planted almost any time of the year though it is best to avoid dry periods (December to February and July to August) to uplands as the plants are then delayed to germination and early growth.


Weeding should be done soon after all the setts have germinated and this should be done 5 to 6 time for a better growth of the plant.

Manure and fertilizers

Plant is effective to sugar cane and it should be applied before the boom period (6 months). Filter mud is a useful by-product of the factory containing phosphorus and nitrogen so it is important to put it back to the field.


Sugar cane responds well to fertilizer application and it has specific demands on phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium.


The crop will mature at 15 to 24 moths depending on the varieties and season


The determination of the maturity of a field of cane is one of the most important aspects in managing the plantation. After the boom period of growth, some of the stems change from the vegetative to reproductive state and produce reproductive inflorescence called arrows or tassels. Appearance of the tassels at times can be deceptive as to the level of sucrose accumulated in the stems.

Where irrigation is practiced ripening is induced by withholding water several weeks prior to harvest. A more precise way of determining maturity is by using a hand refract meter which reads Brix number and for a mature cane the Brix should be 20%. Harvesting is done by hand using knives and specialized machetes and it is important that the field id cut clean as any short left in the stool gain advantage over those subsequently produced from the underground rhizomes, with  results that the following crop becomes very un-even

The number of ratoon that are economical to the harvest from the field before replanting depends on the characteristics of the individual fields, the variety of the cane and the method of cultivation used.


The following pest have been of concern in Uganda

Stem borer (sesamia vuleria.stoll). The attack commences near the apex of the short; the caterpillar boring in the softest tissue and then down the stem mainly in young canes. The infected plants have appearance of dead hearts within withered innermost terminal leaves.


Prevent the pest by weeding in the garden regularly and treating the planting material in warm water. Control the pest by cutting of the dead hearts, and removal of borers successfully controls the outbreak. Allow atachinid fly in the as it is parasite on the caterpillar.

Eldana borer (Eldana saccharine)

Eldana borer causes serious damage in some parts of Africa to maize and sugar cane, the larva feeds on the outside of the stalk around the node after which it enters the stalk feeding the rest of its life inside the stalk.

Prevention is by clearing the papyrus around the garden as it is the alternative host and field hygiene. Control is by cultural methods, using hot water treating the seed cane.

Aphids (Rhopalatosiphum maidis fitch)

This is important because it is a victor of mosaic disease, and the danger caused directly by the insect is negligible. Prevention is by the garden free of weeds and all around the garden. Control by spraying a mixture of garlic and marigold leaves to repel the insects.

White scale

White scale insect stays on the nodes of the cane and sucks the juice reducing the quality of the juice and decreasing yield. The leave tend to dry and growth is suppressed and the plant may die altogether. Prevention is by weeding in the garden regularly and removal of the dry leaves of the cane. Control is by burning of the trash killing the larva and adults.


Termites cause serious damage to the crop during germination and maturity time. The insect cut down the growing plants causing death. Prevention is by destroying the ant hills around and in the field. Control is by applying Neem tree crushed leaves together with dry wood ash on the plant roots.


Mosaic disease

The causal agent for this disease is the sugar cane mosaic virus (SCMV); the main symptoms are small irregular, elongated non-necrotic spots, yellowish green or dark green on a light background which appears on young leaves when in shade and causing plant stunting. It is transmitted by several aphids and through contaminated setts, and it causes a loss of tonnages and the extent of this loss depend on the varieties. Prevention is by avoiding the aphids in garden and keeping the garden free of weeds.

Red stripe disease

This disease appears mainly on young canes in the form of narrow continuous dark red to reddish brown stripes running longitudinally along the leaves from the base upwards, and the causal agent is the bacterium phytomonas rubrilineans. The tissue between the stripes is often pale green to yellow in colour and infected plants are easily sported in the field.

There are many other sugar cane diseases like smut, leaf spot disease, ratoon disease, root disease and top rot.

Pumpkin:The Miracle Plant

 Mary Nakirya

Pumpkins are one of the climbing plants similar to guards. They are eaten fresh  or dried.. Apart from the real fruit,the seeds and leaves are also eaten with very high nutritional values.

Farmers in Masaka claim that once seeds are eaten by a man, he will become sexually stronger.

They are rich in carotenoids which are well known for keeping human immune system strong and healthier.Because of the beta carotene content in the fruit,chances of strokes are also reduced. They also slow down the process of aging and eye problems which may result into blindness.

The high fibre content in them is good for bowel health yet the potassium reduces hypertension.

The zinc in them is good for bones and boosts the immune system.

The leaves contain iron,  phospherous and sulphur.

The cooling and cleansing property in the fruit reduces hunger over due to too much alcohol. Get leaves,boil and drink the soup. The effect is immediate.

To prepare pumpkin,cut and cook the well washed fruit.The seeds can be dried and fried or cooked while fresh and eaten. Some people get young fruits of pumpkin, cut into pieces and put them in the sun for drying. The pieces can then be cooked as soup or mixed in ground nuts .

Planting Garlic as a Pest Control In your Garden

Garlic is one of the strongest pest control methods in gardens. While using it, plant it around areas where pests are a problem Most insects are repelled by the smell.

However, even the beneficial insects may be repelled by the garlic. This means that care must be taken while planting it so as not to loose the beneficial insects.

To control moles, Use one whole or crushed garlic and place directly into their tunnels. The odor of garlic is very strong to their sensitive nose, and this will encourage them abandon the area. Garlic plants also work as a great deterrent So planting garlic as a companion plant is helpful to eliminate a mole or rats.

Using garlic water for plants can also work as a tonic that seeps into the soil and disrupts the harmful insects that usuallyhide  there. moles  will avoid digging in the dirt that has been treated with garlic water.


Agro-forestry refers to practice of carrying on agriculture and forestry in the same place, while agriculture refers to all practices which are carried out to produce crops, livestock, and forestry refers to growing of trees. Agro-forestry may therefore involve

·         The growing of trees and crops in the same place

·         The raising of livestock and trees in the same place

These forms of aggro-forestry in which crops and trees are planted in the same place is known as ago-silviculture and the form where tree are grown in pasture is known as Silvia-pasture where the pasture is harvested and taken to live stock in a separate area.

Most farmer in Uganda depend on rain for growing than crops and pastures and poor exposed soils do not hold much water when it rains on such soils, most of the water runoff, and if the farmer planted the seeds, the little water left in the ground will help the seeds to germinate, and after a few sunny days, most of the water evaporates and the soils become very dry and the crops start to wilt and dry up.

By practicing agro forestry (agrosilvienlture) may improve the water holding capacity of the soil, failure to improve can, led to crops loss which will occur year after year. If the soil is able to hold water for a long time, the effect of drought may be less deratanting than other wise.

Trees provide shade for live stock but some trees are used as folder for live stock.

Environment conditions such as drought, floods, wind, hailstorms and others don’t affect individual farmers, but affect all farmers; it affects all farmers such environment problems should be tackled communally, and the only way of tackling these problems is by practicing agro forestry.

Land scape can be changed by use of agro forestry, and a community may be able to change its landscape and influence some environmental factors by concerted effort in trees planting. In this way farmers will be able to choose not only where they need trees and in what quantities but also, which varieties suit each place most.

Individual farmers can only make decisious affecting their own farms, but a community is able to discuss and implement ideas in the whole area. While a single farmer may have very little influence of landscape outside his farm, a community working together can transform it in only a generation.


Mulopi J

Crop Damage Caused by other Factors









Field crops can be damaged or destroyed by non-parasitic factors in addition to pest and diseases which are known to most farmers. These non-parasitic factors include but are not limited to the following; burning, lightning strikes, drought, too much water or rain, extreme humidity, wind, shortage of light or soil exhaustion. The symptoms of all these non-parasitic factors are more similar to those caused by fungal or bacterial infection or nutrient deficiency. These damage crops in many ways:

Burning can be caused by sun or large burn fire, can also be caused by application of too high concentrations of chemical pesticides or leaking of ammonia onto to the leaves plants or trees can look weak or even die.
If they become exhausted due to over production of fruits. Also if they are transplanted at wrong hours and time, they may end up drying and sometimes even die. This is particularly dangerous in the dry periods when the plants have used all of their reserves to produce shoots and fruits.
Pruning at this time also cause irretrievable damage to the plants. Direct and intense sun exposure can also cause branch cankers and damage of the plants fruit and leaves.

Like on tomatoes hard green or yellow crust can develop on the ripe tomatoes and sweet pepper of the soil moisture fluctuate too much and this may cause leaf discoloration which lower the green pigments that help in manufacturing nutrient necessary for crop growth and health. Leaf discoloration may be also caused by shortage sun light in some plants.
Farmers need to be conscious of all these factors and try to prevent their occurance.

Written by Mulopi J and edited by Mary Nakirya
Celac mayuge district farmers net work.