Growing Ground Nuts In Uganda

Groundnut farming in Uganda is an extremely lucrative business in the country with many of the farmers from majorly Eastern and Northern Uganda planting a variety of groundnuts for both commercial and home consumption. There is a ready market for groundnuts because it is cheap and can easily be got in the different markets across the country. Groundnuts which are also known as peanuts are the 2nd largest grown legumes in Uganda after beans and in Uganda the red Valencia is known to be the indigenous one. There are however other varieties that have been introduced in the country and since 1970, there are over 15 varieties that have been introduced.

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Varieties of groundnuts in Uganda

The varieties of groundnuts that are grown in Uganda include the following:

  • Acholi white

  • Long manyema type

  • Valencia type

  • Makulu Red

  • Amasoga

  • Roxo 531

  • Serere Red

  • Bukene

  • Mwitudde

Planting of groundnuts

Groundnuts are planted during the onset of the rainy season because they grow well in well drained loamy soils. The spacing between the rows depends on the variety of the groundnuts that you intend to grow. You need to make sure that the groundnut seeds are got from a reliable certified source so that you do not get already infested seeds. It is also advisable to treat your groundnut seeds with fungicide before planting.

The best ways in which you can control weeds among groundnuts is by spraying using various chemicals so that there is less competition between the groundnuts and the weeds for the soil nutrients. Weeding should be done regularly and as early as 3 to 4 weeks and herbicides also applied after planting of the groundnuts to control the weeds.

Groundnuts are always at a high risk of being affected by diseases and pests throughout their various growth stages. Some of the pests that affect the groundnuts include white grabs, termites, centipedes and aphids as these attack the roots, the leaves and the stem base causing the farmer to get low yields. The diseases that affect the groundnuts include leaf spot, crown rot, rust and bacteria Walt. These can be prevented by carrying out crop rotation, spraying with fungicides and cleaning the farming tools after use and regularly weed them.

Groundnut farmers are also faced with the challenge of aflatoxin which is found in the soils. You will need to test the soil and find out if it is suitable and if not you are advised to either look for another location or treat the soil before planting the groundnuts.

groundnuts farming uganda

Harvesting of the groundnuts

Harvesting of groundnuts is a bit hard to tell since they keep on flowering even when they are ready for harvesting. The best way to find out if they are ready is by pulling out from the ground and it is advisable that you keep on checking on the garden on a regular basis so that they do not rot from the ground. The groundnuts can be harvested 4 to 5 months after the initial planting and after harvesting remove the soil from the nuts and let them dry.

Using hoes can lead to damage to the groundnuts therefore hand pulling is the best harvest method and is widely used by many of the farmers across the country. As you harvest make sure that you avoid damage to the shells because this greatly increases the spread of infections in the harvested nuts. The pods are left in the sun to dry as this is the best and cheapest way for most farmers in the country. Moisture affects the groundnuts and if they are dry enough, this might result in rotting.

Market for groundnuts in Uganda

There is high demand for the different groundnut varieties in Uganda because they are used for different things like making sauce, bread spread and also sold as whole nuts for roasting. Groundnuts can be sold to processing companies where many by-products ready for consumption are made. Some of the products that are got from groundnuts include the following:

  • They are eaten as snacks after boiling or roasting

  • They can be processed into making groundnut paste

  • Groundnuts can be used to make groundnut oil

  • They are also processed to make groundnut sauce.

At the moment a kilogram of groundnuts goes for shs 7000 to shs 8000 although this is liable to change due to different circumstances like availability of the groundnuts on the market, the variety you are buying and the location from where you are buying them from.

The main challenge that groundnut farmers face is poor management but if you use the best management skills from planting, addition of fertilizers, weeding, good harvesting practices, proper treatment of disease, warding off the pests, you are bound to get the highest yields at the end of the day from your groundnut farming venture.