EARLY WARNING MESSAGE FOR FOOD SECURITY FROM

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EARLY WARNING MESSAGE FOR FOOD SECURITY FROM UGANDA: AUGUST 20, 2010
INTRODUCTION
Quite often Uganda experiences food shortages, especially in the off season months of March – May. This is due to poor budgeting
and failure to store adequate food reserves in quantity and quality. The main cause of this is failure to copy with climate change in
planning for land preparation, planting and subsequent activities. This often leads to crop fail lure or low yields.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, therefore, extends the following advise to farmers, in expectation that the
message will assist the farmers to improve on their crop calendar and cope with climate change as well as store adequate food. It is
also expected that the farmers will be able to harvest enough food for the market as well as home consumption.
Crop calendar in Uganda
PERIOD
CROP
January / Cereals,
February
(Maize,
Sorghum,
Millet)
This is the
dry season
throughout
the year
This is the
dry season
throughout
the year
ACTIVITY
TECHNICAL ADVICE
This is the time crops are maturing. As you wait
 DO NOT dry food on bare ground or floor
for the harvest, farmers must;
smeared with cow-dung as this causes food to
 Prepare for storage
deteriorate in quality. Tarpaulins and polythene
sheets are good for sheltering the food incase of
 Construct maize cribs, storage bags for
sudden rain.
rise, millet and sorghum granaries
 Prepare drying racks ( 1 meter above
ground)
 Procure tarpaulins/mats, polythene
sheets or concrete slab
o Wait for crops to mature fully before
o Harvest crops on time to avoid deterioration and
harvesting maize, sheaths should turn
crop loss in the field. For example, over mature
brown. For Millet and Sorghum, sheaths
maize start falling and will be attacked by weevils.
should turn brown but harvest before
This also delays land preparation for next crop.
grain start falling to the grown.
o DO NOT harvest premature crops as this reduces
quality
o Thresh rice before drying.
January / Pulses
February
(beans peas,
groundnuts
soya- beans
simsim)
 Harvesting
 Drying
 Construction of disinfectant pit for pest
control
 Preparation for storage.
This is the
dry season pulses
throughout
the year
January /
February
This is the
dry season
throughout
the year
Root Crops
(cassava,
sweet
potatoes etc)
January / Vegetables
February
Amaranthus,
Onions,
Tomatoes,
This is the Sukumawiki
dry season etc
throughout
the year
Preparation of storage facilities
Harvesting
Primary processing
Primary processing
Storage




Weeding
Irrigation
Continuous harvesting pruning
Processing and preservation e.g. Drying
and pounding
o Construct drying racks before harvesting
 DO NOT dry food on bare ground or floor
smeared with cow-dung as this causes food to
deteriorate in quality. Tarpaulins and polythene
sheets are good for sheltering the food incase of
sudden rain.
 Harvest crops on time to avoid deterioration and
crop loss in the field. For example, over mature
maize start falling and will be attacked by weevils.
This also delays land preparation for next crop.
 DO NOT harvest premature crops as this reduces
quality
 Dry on clean surface (not on bare ground or
smeared with cow-dung)
 Construct drying racks before harvesting
Mature cassava and sweet potatoes, should be
harvested, sliced or grated, dried and properly
stored
For crops like yams (Ndagu for central region)
leave the crop in the field if the land is not
needed for another crop.


During dry period, the demand for vegetables is
high and the price offered is equally high. Food
security can be secured through the pocket.
Waste water can be used to for watering
vegetables but avoid soapy and salty water.
In areas where watering is possible, this is the
time for growing leafy vegetables. Some leafy
greens like Dodo, Nakati, and Sikumawiki Scan be
produced throughout the year by constant
January / Perennial
February
Crops
(Banana)
Fruits
This is the (Mangos,
dry season Citrus,
throughout Pineapples)
the year
This is the Fruits
dry season
(Mangos,
Citrus,
Pineapples)
January
March
/ All Crops
This is the
dry season
throughout
the year
March
/
o
o
o
o
o
Weeding
Pruning / thinning
Mulching
Digging holes for next planting
Manure application
watering, continuous harvest must be done to
avoid flowering. Additionally, the green
vegetables can be harvested, dried and preserved
for future use during off season.
o Mulch to a thinness of least 10 – 15 cm to
conserve water and control weeds.
o Weed the plantation, pure, trim, mulch, split
pseudo stems and trap weevils. Take advantage
of the straw as mulching materials
o For new Banana plantation, prepare holes for
planting (dig and put manure)
 Mango season ending, so its time to
 Farmers should be sure to use lean planting
clean up in place soil and water
materials
conservation measure
 Add manure to the orchard
 For citrus, farmers should be preparing to
 If possible prepare water harvesting trenches.
harvest. Their trees should be cleaned
and marketing agents informed.
 Nursery trees should be budded/ grafted
and put in potting materials in
preparation for the next rain season.
Prepare to procure planting materials for
Land preparation includes field clearing and
the next cropping season
harrowing 2 weeks after first ploughing
Dry planting is recommended for cereals
Early planting avoids diseases and pests which
(maize, Sorghum, Millet and rice) to
multiply as rains intensify
benefit from nitrogen flash at the onset
of rains
Plant early (immediately it begins to rain)
for the rest of the crops (beans,
groundnuts, Bananas etc.
 For Vegetative crops and vegetables start The 1st season is usually short. It is better therefore, to
April
This is the
beginning
of the 1st
rains
May / June
This is the
peak of the
1st rains
June / July
This is a dry
season
throughout
the country.
July
/
August
This is the
2nd
dry
season
September/ Cereals
October
The
rains
have began
planting / transplanting
dry plant and take advantage of nitrogen flash at the
beginning of the rains. Prepare the fields early instead of
It is time for planting Maize, Millet, Simsim, waiting for the rains.
groundnuts, and cassava in the North.
 Sweet potatoes are planted at the end of the rain
Planting perennials such as citrus, Mangos
season to avoid excess vegetative growth.
Bananas in the other regions.
o Land preparation continued
o Storage of harvested crops
o Storage pest control
o Nursery preparation for vegetables
Time for planting vegetable such
cabbages , Amarathus , Spinach, etc
o Farmers should take advantage of the dry spell to
prepare land for next season, prepare planting
materials and manure for next season.
o Food for storage should be protected from pests.
as
This is the time for harvesting cereals (Maize,
Millet, Sorghum, rice) pulses (G/nuts, Beans,
Soybeans) and oil crops (Sunflower, Simsim) in
all regions. In Eastern Uganda, fruits like Citrus
are ripening during this period.
o Planting
The main activity is harvesting of first season
crops: Land preparation for second season
crops
It is time to plant most of the crops. Weeding
and control
 Prepare for storage
 Construct maize cribs, storage bags for
millet and sorghum granaries
o In western Uganda this is the on rains suitable for
planting cereals
o In the Northern and eastern Regions, it is also
suitable for planting the cereals for 2nd season.
2nd rains normally begins in Mid –August, which
is the time to plant the 2nd season crops.

Pulses
October / Root Crops
November
This is the
peak of the
2nd rains
This is the vegetables
peak of the
2nd rains
This is the Perennials
peak of the
2nd rains
November/
December
Fruits
Prepare drying racks ( 1 meter above
ground)
 Procure tarpaulins /mats, polythene
sheets or construct concrete slab.
 Harvesting
 Drying
 Construction of disinfectant pit for pest
control
 Preparation for storage.
The main activity is weeding: this is a time for
weeding all crops. Cereals are teaseling. Pulses
are flowering, pudding. Oil crops are flowering.
Preparation of storage facilities
Harvesting
Primary processing
Primary processing
Storage
 Planting
 Irrigation
 Continuous harvesting /pruning
Processing and preservation ( e.g. Drying and
pounding)
o Weeding
o Pruning / thinning
o Mulching
o Digging holes for next planting
o Manure application
 Harvesting
 Preparation of drying yard s and storage
facilities
 Threshing of cereals
Weed early to avoid the flowering period, as the
activity can cause flowers to drop.
Incase rains come so easily, farmers should take
advantage and plant 3 seasons. Incase rains begin
late; it is advisable to irrigate crops such as
vegetables, perennials and rice.
For the case of Matoke, leave only 3 plants per
stool
Incase buyers do not come immediately, there is
needto prepare storage facilities



All Crops





Mango season has ended, so its time to
clean up and put in place soil and water
conservation measures
For citrus, farmers should be ready to
harvest. Their trees should be cleaned
and marketing agents informed
Nursery trees should be budded /grafted
and put in potting material in preparation
for next season
Land preparation
Storage of harvested crops
Storage pest control
Nursery preparation for vegetables
Grains should be protected against weevils and
grain borers. Fruits should e protested against
rotting.
Source of information: Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) – Department of crop Protection and Marketing.
Compiled by James P. Obbo
Marketing Research Officer - AMPRIP
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