Groundnut Production Guide for Uganda: Recommended Practices for Farmers
Kalule Okello, David
Michael, Deom Carl
Herbert Kefa, Oloka
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Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) also known as peanut, is cultivated in the semi-arid tropical and sub-tropical regions of nearly 100 countries in six continents between 40˚ N and S of the equator. It is an important legume grown and consumed globally and in particular in sub-Saharan African countries (Okello et al., 2010a). For people in many developing countries, groundnuts are the principal source of digestible protein (25 - 34%), cooking oil (44 - 56%), and vitamins. These qualities make groundnut an important nutritional supplement to mainly cereal diets of maize, millet and sorghum of many Ugandans. In many countries, groundnut cake and haulms (foliage, straw/stems) are used as livestock feed. Groundnut is also a significant source of cash income in developing countries that contributes significantly to livelihoods and food security. As a legume, groundnuts improve soil fertility by fixing nitrogen and thereby increase productivity of other crops in the semi-arid cereal cropping systems. Groundnut requires little input, making it appropriate for cultivation in low input agriculture by smallholding farmers. Groundnuts are grown in most of SSA by smallholder farmers as a subsistence crop under rain-fed conditions. Yields per hectare are generally low compared to those from developed countries like the USA, because of a combination of factors such as unreliable rains, mostly non-irrigated cultures, traditional small-scale farming with little mechanization, outbreaks of pest infestations and diseases, the use of low-yielding seed varieties, increased and/or continued cultivation on marginal land, poor adoption of agronomic practices and limited extension services. Insecurity instability and the frequently unsupportive oilseed policies have also played their role in low groundnut productivity. Therefore, there is excellent potential for yield improvement. This production guide seeks to address salient issues in groundnut production in order to maximize groundnut productivity.