PMIL in Uganda
PMIL researchers in Uganda and the U.S. are breeding improved peanut varieties to enhance productivity, quality, and marketability of peanuts in the country. For example, varieties are being developed for resistance against disease and pests, such as groundnut rosette disease and the leaf miners.
Uganda is a landlocked country in east Africa. The official languages are Swahili and English but many local languages are spoken including Luganda, Southern Luo, and Runyankore. Uganda is about the size of the US state of Michigan.
This sub-Saharan African country has 38 million people. Poverty rates are dropping yearly and primary school enrollment for both boys and girls is much higher than the sub-Saharan average. About 78% of people 15 years or older are literate. However, life expectancy is similar to the sub-Saharan average at 58 years old, still a rather low figure.
Uganda has a steady climate with temperatures ranging from 21-25° C (70- 77° F), with cooler temperatures in the mountains. This tropical country has a wet and dry season with average yearly rainfall at 100-200 cm (39-79 in). Uganda is unique with its bimodal rainfall especially in the peanut areas.
The Ugandan diet relies mainly on starch roots (cassava and sweet potatoes), cereal crops (maize, millet, and sorghum), and plantains. Rice is growing in popularity, especially in the urban areas.
While pulses, nuts, and leafy greens are eaten as well, micronutrient intake is lacking overall, as 15% of the population is undernourished. Child stunting affects around 38% of the population, with particularly high rates in the southwestern region.
Peanuts are primarily grown in the eastern and northern regions of Uganda. Groundnut production collapsed during the 1979 war but has been recovering to pre-war production levels through the introduction of improved seed varieties and improved crop management practices.
Challenges remain for Ugandan farmers, who are primarily small-scale. These include radical weather variations, pests and diseases, and limited mechanization.
|Table Data Source||(FAOSTAT, 2013)|
Improving the yield Ugandan farmers get from their land would help the smallholder farmers’ bottom line and provide nutritious food for malnourished children.
Local Peanut Facts
- Peanuts provide important nutrients to the primarily cereal-based diet of Ugandans.
- After the common bean, peanuts are the most important legume.
- Peanut cake (after oil extraction) and foliage are used as livestock feed.
- Peanut sauces are used with a variety of fish and meat dishes.