QCL Agrochemicals Venture
Quality Chemicals Limited (QCL) has added Crop Health to its service catalogue. The new department was launched in 2021 as a solution to the many Agricultural Sector impediments and is currently headed by Nicholas Katongole. Our Crop Health division will trade in agrochemical products and provide crop health services to farmers all over Uganda.
The Agricultural sector is one of the biggest employers in Uganda with over 65% of the working population involved in agriculture, forestry, and fishing. Despite Uganda being naturally gifted, the country has a low crop yield per acre in comparison to other major agricultural countries. One of the major reasons for this is the high fatality rate of crops affected by pests, diseases and weeds coupled with the low and poor usage of agrochemicals and fertilizers. Our Crop Health Division was launched to assist with the increase food turnover per crop acre (yield), educate and sensitize farmers on proper usage of agrochemicals and fertilizers with the overarching goal of improving the sector. We believe that with the correct usage of the right quality agrochemicals, while making them affordable, the yields will be exponentiated and thereby contributing to the general economic growth of the country.
Issues in the sector and how the QCL Crop Health Division plans to solve them.
A key finding across various studies indicates that farmers largely rely on informal supply channels, rather than certified Agro-input dealers, to access pesticides. In fact, 80% of the surveyed households turn to the informal market; either via petty traders visiting village markets (49%) or local shop operators (31%) who typically sell a variety of products including foodstuff, household utensils and toilet requisites but are not certified to handle agrochemical inputs. This is an important finding given the risks associated with unregulated trade and handling of chemicals, which have been documented in various Sub- Saharan African countries.
Farmers, agricultural staff, and certified traders all provide similar descriptions of a rapidly growing informal market in which product imitation, repacking, dilution, and mislabelling is a common practice.
The lack of proper reliable sources of agrochemical use information is a growing problem. A study found that 58% of farmers collected their information on how to manage pests through their fellow farmer communities from personal experience. As such, QCL acknowledges a growing need and has embarked on a campaign to educate farmers as one of our key strategy focuses. The QCL sensitization will focus on counterfeit products, safe and effective agrochemical practices, and the chemicals to avoid.
Our crop health division will have an array of products targeting all types of farmers ranging from high valued agrochemicals to more affordable products.