Many farmers complain about poor germination of groundnut seeds, especially of the variety Igola. Fields planted with recently harvested seed or those stored for some time have gaps or bare spaces without seedlings.
Groundnut seeds are difficult to store. They lose strength quickly because they have a lot of oil. Igola is an oily variety. Farmers’ methods of harvesting and drying groundnuts, especially in Central Uganda, often leave the seeds too moist.
Moist seeds breathe too rapidly, which depletes seed energy, needed for germination. Moisture also allows the seed to be spoiled (kuwumba) or to rot.
Groundnut seeds should be harvested when the nuts are mature, that is, when the shells are hard. Mature seeds dry fast.
- In humid areas, like Central Uganda, pods should be plucked from the plants immediately after uprooting. However, in dry areas such as Eastern Uganda, uprooted plants can be spread in the field to dry.
- When pods are plucked fresh, they should not be kept in the bag overnight. When groundnuts are kept in the bag too long, they heat up, breath too rapidly, and mould attacks them. The pods should be dried by spreading them out sparsely on a dry compound.
- To check whether they are dry, pods should make a loud noise when the shell is squeezed at the beak end. And the seed should not be very soft. The naked seed should be hard enough to make a cracking noise when you bite it.
- Dry seeds should be stored in shells in a dry, cool store or house, free from rats, and on a raised platform, to keep them dry.
- Seeds should be stored for not more than 12 months (two planting seasons).