Farmers of Lira, Apac and Kole district in Northern Uganda Embraces Improved green grams Varieties

For a very long time famers from northern Uganda have been cultivating green gram, traditionally known as choroko in langi, it has been grown and consumed for a long time in the region. Cultivating green gram is expanding due to increased demand, both in local and regional market.  Though, farmers have been growing Indigenous green grams that  are characterized by small seeds, maturing at different times, maturing late, having rapid reduction in green yields, prone to pod splitting or opening before harvest,   and their  grains are stony, which makes  green gram meal difficult to cook and eat.

Given such characteristic and challenges coupled with changing climatic conditions such as unreliable rainfall patterns and short rainy seasons, farmer’s returns from green gram are always low.

To address these, Women of Uganda Network- WOUGNET  consortium  that consist of   Women of Uganda Network (Host Organization), Makerere University, SNV- Uganda and National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) have won a project funded by the Dutch government (The Kingdom of Netherland) aimed at promoting green gram and rice growing in the lango sub-region. NARO with mandate to undertake, promote and coordinate research for; crops, livestock, fish and forestry and to ensure the dissemination and application of research results have  taken her expertise and experience in agronomy, seed systems establishment and supplying planting materials close to farmers of Lira, Apac and Kole District through a project, Enhancing Rice – Green gram productivity in Northern Uganda- ERIGNU with   intentions to increase farmers’ access to quality seeds through farmer centered seed multiplication gardens for both rice and green gram. The National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI) is providing knowledge in green gram.   Hence the programme has initiated research to identify varieties that have desirable characteristics and are adaptable to northern Uganda with selected famer groups. Since the project implementation process is participatory, farmer group’s engagement is at all stages of implementation. Recently, the group members of the participating farmer groups were engaged in a participatory Variety selection of green gram as shown in the picture below. 

The research activity is led by the dry-land legumes research program based at National Semi Arid Resources Research institute, one of the 16 research institutes under national agricultural research organization.

Objectives of participatory variety selection

The main purpose of the participatory variety selection is to give opportunity to farmers to participate in evaluation of materials and select the ones they are interested in rather than imposing varieties introduced. Specifically, the selection exercise was to;

  1. Give opportunity to farmers to assess the field performance of the introduced varieties
  2. Guide farmers in an informed position to choose preferred greengram varieties they would grow or whose seed they will multiply.

Participatory selection of greengram varieties 

Characteristics of green gram varieties

The new green gram varieties availed to farmers as trial on their demonstration plots included those that mature early within 55- 65days, can thrive in short rain seasons, endure drought/ prolonged dry-spells, have large seeds, cook fast and have relatively higher yields (up to 1400 Kilograms per hectare) compared to local varieties.

The release of these improved varieties are expected to boost farm – level of productivity as well as farmers’ incomes and thus improved farmers livelihood. Research institutes like NaSARRI are  working tirelessly to ensure farmers have green gram varieties with much higher yields than the local green gram varieties with no complains  like such verities have a lot of stony seeds, which makes a green gram meal difficult to eat. The details of the genotypes (varieties) used in the demonstrations are listed in the table below including their yield and maturity attributes.


Table 1: List of greengram varieties used in demonstration plots for PVS




Maturity days


Potential yield



Narogram 1 60-65 1200-1400 Newly Released Variety
Narogram 2 60-65 1200-1400 Newly released variety
VC6148(50-12) 58-61 900-1200 Advanced line
VC6173(B-10) 54-58 800-1100 Advanced line
VC6153(B-20) 59-62 1000-1100 Advanced line
VC6113(B-14) 56-60 900 – 1200 Advanced line
Mauritius 65-70 800-1100 Introduction


Farmers’ reaction towards the greengram varieties

Finally, farmers are so much appreciative to the dry land legume Research Program and team for introducing new varieties with so much desired characteristics as early maturing, drought tolerance and higher yielding. According to Grace Aceng “we hope to have seeds availed to more famers through multiplication gardens   just before the end of 2017. Hence it will help in boosting our farm level of productivity as well as income levels”.

By: Apio Lillian Mercy ARF – Rural Project Officer


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