The relationship between agronomic practices and productivity of Barley in Kwosir Sub-County Kween District
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The study was conducted in Kwosir Sub-county, Kween district in Eastern Uganda where farmers through their Kween Commercial Farmers Association produce barley on contract with Nile Breweries Limited and Uganda Breweries Limited. This contract arrangement could be an advantage to farmers in order to enable access markets and inputs for commercial production. However, this has been criticized by the respondents for being exploitative and non-considerate. The aim of this study was to determine the agronomic practices and constraints in barley farming that limit yield potential of barley and to examine factors that affect its profitability. The study involved both qualitative and quantitative analyses of survey data collected through interviews from a sample of 40 randomly selected farmers. Primary data was collected from the twenty randomly selected respondents by using a questionnaire. This research covered the whole production process of barley. The respondents were fairly literates with a high male dominance in barley production than their female counterparts and young adults. The study further revealed that the contract barley farmers do break-even and the gross margins were significantly influenced by the total land capacity of the farmer and the use of fertilizers and herbicides. Herbicides were majorly used for weed control in barley fields and inputs like fertilizers were intensively used by the respondents. Pesticides were used for pest and disease control but their usage rate was very low due to less resurgence of diseases. On average, the respondent yields were 20 bags per acre and the main method of harvesting was hand method. The contract provides assured market for the farmers produce at pre-determined prices and this helps to reduce risks of price fluctuations. The study recommends improving Agricultural extension system with various farmer trainings; contract farming should be embraced by the farmers, increasing the level of mechanization and post-harvest handling coupled with a well improved and accessible financial system. The farmers need to be insured against several calamities like bad weather and failure of seed to germinate in the field. With these developments, barley production will boom and farmer’s standard and welfare will automatically improve and more land will be allocated for wheat growing.