SIMIYU’S cotton farmers have managed to triple their farms output thanks to the new seed variety. The new seed UKM08, according to farmers, was much superior compared to the old UK91which they used for 26 years.
Simiyu farmers told ‘Daily News’ during media tour that UK91 has poor productivity with average yield of 300kilogrammes per acre compared to UKM08 which yields up to 1,200kg per acre.
Christopher Nkhanda, a farmers from Mwabusalu Ward, Meatu District, Simiyu Region said they also used less amount of new seeds per acre of merely 6kgs compared to old variety of between 15 to 20 kgs germination is not guaranteed.
“The delinted UKM08 also has a good germination rate and is suitable for machine planting since they can flow easily in the ox drawn planter,” Mr Nkhanda jovial said. He said out of the 27 acres of cotton he cultivated, he harvested 17 tonnes which equals to average of 600kg per acre despite limited rains.
This was good harvest despite poor rains,” Mr Nkhanda said, “previously with old seeds yield stood at 300kg or less even if there are plenty of rains.” The farmer said most of them were at first afraid as there were myths that the delinted UKM08 seeds were of low yield and took time to grow.
“Even when I planted them on trial basis my colleagues laughed at me but after I saw the results I decided to plant more and ended up getting bumper harvests,” he said. He said by using the new seed he realised that he did not have to plant a lot of cotton seed like they used to do with UK91 whose harvest was very little.
Another cotton farmer, Matondo Kitinya from Ikugijo Village in Meatu District said he bought six kgs of delinted UKM08 at 15,000/- and planted them on one acre on trial basis and harvested 700 kilos of cotton.
“Last season I spent 180,000/- for land preparation, planting, weeding and harvesting and got a harvest of 700kilos and earned 900,000/-compared to 200 kilos that I used to get when I used UK91,” he said.
He, however, said one has to be very careful and ensure that the seeds are planted in a row and well distanced as one seedling produces more than 80 bolls. Mr Minza Lukomanga of Ng’obhoko Village, Meatu District, said apart from the new seeds producing more harvest, it is easy to plant them by using drawn planter.
The Tanzania Cotton Board Regional Manager, Jones Bwahana, said the new seed had proved a lot of success.