Introduction

Much of Uganda’s agriculture is rainfall dependent. However, due to climate change and variability, crop growing seasons have shown more erraticism in onset and length of growing period, often resulting in reduced yields or total crop failure. In response to this, Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) periodically provides seasonal climate forecast. The forecast has been found to be limited in interpretation, understanding and use by stakeholders and consequently with support from GIZ project “THE DEVELOPMENT AND DISEMINATION OF OPTIMUM CROPPING CALENDAR FOR BEANS, MILLET AND MAIZE DERIVED FOR RAIN-FED AGRICULTURE IN FOUR RAINFALL ZONES OF UGANDA” and USAID PROJECT “ENHANCING RESILIENCE OF AGRICULTURAL LIVELIHOODS”, the national Agricultural research organization (NARO) has developed an online cropping calendar tool that would contribute towards stakeholder’s interpretation and understanding of a forecasted season.

The cropping calendar tool is derived from analyzing variability in rainfall onset, cessation and length of the potential crop growing season based on historical time-series data (1961 to 2016) a contribution from UNMA. Seasonal onset and cessation dates and length of cropping season are generated Using INSTAT software. The standard deviation of the generated characteristics then defines the windows of onset and cessation respectively. The difference between the two dates is the potential crop growing period. The analogue year of the forecasted season can be read directly from the tool thus guiding the user on the probable behavior of the forecasted season based on the analogue year.  After the stakeholder receives the forecast from ICPAC and UNMA, then they can use the tool to discern seasonal rainfall performance from the tool.

 The cropping calendar tool therefore helps in interpretation of the forecast by profiling the probable seasonal characteristics of the analogue year and this   helps in climate smart agricultural decision-making. Only three (maize, beans and millet) crops have been used in validating the tool through multi-seasonal rigorous field trials set up in only four rainfall zones of Uganda. It is anticipated that in future more crops and more rainfall zones will be added to tool. 

The tool also provides advisories on crop agronomic management including when to prepare fields, start planting, weeding, apply manure/mulch, harvesting, and post-harvest activities, developed in conjunction with MAAIF.  These advisories are based on agro-meteorological data and information throughout a forecasted season. The tool can be updated regularly on a seasonal scale.

In its current format, the tool is meant to benefit agricultural extension workers, researchers, and large-scale / commercial farmers that can interpret the outputs from the tool for timely farming decisions. It will also help MAAIF to develop advisories for agricultural planning. However, the tool needs continuous piloting and refinement to make it in sync with smallholder farmers’ farming activities.

Key words:  

Optimum cropping calendar for Millet, Maize and beans, Meteorology, climate change, responsive tool, climate smart agriculture and how the meteorology part is linked to crop productivity, yield increase 

 

About the National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL)

  • Welcome message from the Director
  • Research Programmes:
  • Core Values of NARL

Background:

Formerly a rubber estate, the institute was acquired in 1934 from K. Borup, a Danish farmer. It became the headquarters of research division of the Department of Agriculture in 1937 with a mandate to conduct research on coffee, tea, cotton and native food crops. The 630 hectare station located13km north of Kampala became the hub for scientific investigations for African agriculture to make it more productive and economically viable.

The institute has undergone several transformations both in naming and core research mandates and activities over the years. Currently, it is one of the six National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs established by the NAR Act 2005) under the dispensation of the National Agricultural Research organization.

Our Mandate

Conducting research and providing services on soils, agro-meteorology and Environment; bananas; biosystems and agricultural engineering; food science and agribusiness; and biodiversity and biotechnology

Our Goal:  Agricultural productivity and household incomes increased through use of improved technologies and practices

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  Research Programmes:

Implementation of activities is organized in five research programmes and an information and documentation unit supported by an administration unit:

  • Soils, Agro-meteorology and Environment Research Programme,
  • Banana Research Programme,
  • Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Research Programme,
  • Food Biosciences and Agribusiness Research Programme,
  • Biodiversity and Biotechnology Programmes.

Hosted institutions:

  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
  •   International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
  •   Korean Project on International Agriculture (KOPIA)
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Core Values of NARL:

  • Excellence
  • Accountability
  • Market responsiveness
  • Client oriented
  • Demand driven
  • Sustainability
  • Integrity
  • Gender sensitivity
  • Transparency
  • Environment consciousness

Institute expected outputs

NARL’s activities are premised on the following outputs:

  • Tools, recommendations and technologies for improved soil and water management, sustainable land use and resilience to climate change
  • Improved banana varieties and other technologies for enhancing banana productivity and utilization
  • Technologies and practices that enhance conservation and utilization of genetic resources
  • Processes, systems and products that enhance market value of agricultural commodities
  • Biosystems and agricultural engineering products that improve agricultural production efficiency
  • Impact at specified sites created through multi-stakeholder innovation platforms
  • Information systems that support agricultural research and development
  • World class infrastructure and management systems that strengthen generation and promotion of outputs
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Vision

To be a centre of excellence generating and promoting appropriate agricultural technologies

Mission

To generate and promote agricultural technologies and improve productivity, value addition, income and food security

Latest News

Cropping Calendar Tool
Monday, 19 December 2016
Thumbnail Introduction Much of Uganda’s agriculture is rainfall dependent. However, due to climate change and variability, crop growing seasons have shown more erraticism in onset and length of growing...
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