Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (test)

Plant breeding programs in Uganda

The Republic of Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa which enjoys fertile soils and regular rainfall. About 90% of the population directly derive a living fromUganda_Map agriculture through the production of a wide range of crops for local consumption and/or export.

By 1960 there were three Uganda three research stations located in different regions of the country. Two of them belong to the public sector. Even with that early recognition, the human resources deployed in research and plant breeding in particular are very small. The entire country, including public and private, had only 19 plant breeders serving a population of 20 million people by 2001.

Given the constraints imposed by limited resources, not all crops are researched. Uganda’s breeding programmes tend to focus on crops of relatively high economic and social importance. Major activities are line development and line evaluation.

Financial support from the national government is meagre. The remuneration is very poor and acts as a strong disincentive to people seeking to enter or remain in the profession. The biggest constraints for plant breeding come therefore in the form of lack of financial resources for experiments and inadequate numbers of breeders.

Research and education institutes with activities in plant breeding

Public Institutes


Faculty of Agriculture (Makerere University)
Website available in English

Makerere University is a public sector university with plant breeding experience since the 1950s, and biotechnology since 1997. Although the university has been in existence for a relatively long period, the number of breeders remains small. Breeding programmes focus on soybean and cowpea. Main budget allocations are directed toward biotechnology and germplasm enhancement.


National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO)
Website available in English

NARO was established by the Uganda Government in 1992 as a semi-autonomous organization to streamline, undertake and promote research in crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry. NARO has nine research institutes working on different commodities. NARO’s plant breeding programmes therefore cover a wide range of crops but cassava, banana and coffee attracted the most of the budget. NARO is working on five areas of biotechnology.

Private Institutes


Nalweyo Seed Company (NASECO)
Website available in English

NASECO was established in 1996 as a private seed company following the introduction of Structural Adjustment reforms in Uganda. The primary business is seed production and marketing of maize, rice, bush beans, groundnuts and sesame. Line evaluation and germplasm enhancement are the two improvement activities carried out by the company. In keeping with the increasing trend, line evaluation in rice took 100% of the resources while in maize the same activity took 95%. The company does not engage in biotechnology work.


Information by George Bigirwa (2005). - Information based on the Uganda's full report from the PBBC survey. Last revised 26-06-2010, GIPB.