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TECH FARMERS - Revolutionizing farming through Information Technology, Permaculture and Value addition chain

Our solution combines Information Technology, Permaculture and value addition chain to build a critical mass of small-scale farmers

Photo of Michael Ahabwe Mugerwa

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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

Our idea combines Information Technology, permaculture and value addition chain into a single 'three-dimension model' that will build a critical mass of small-scale farmers able to regenerate their ecosystems and build self-sustaining communities. We have partnered with over 360 farmers groups since 2008, we are building on our experience, our idea will train 150,000 small-scale farmers every year over the next 4 years. Permaculture will train farmers to build increasingly self-sufficient food production system and regenerate the ecosystems; Value addition chain will nurture business skills and improve farmers incomes while Information Technology will connect farmers to information such as markets, prices, pest control methods and weather patterns that is important to improve their production, lives and communities. Our idea was born from the insight that interventions targeting small-scale farmers require aggregation of activities to create lasting impact. Farming shapes identify and livelihoods of small-scale farmers, we have designed our idea to include activities that will create long-lasting impact, empower small-scale farmers to move their communities forward. We have a clear roll-out plan and a sustainability plan and we will ensure that our idea serves as a critical capacity-building tool for farming communities. To do this, we need funds to roll out our idea to 500,000 farmers by 2020 and we want to build partnerships to maximize impact.

WHO BENEFITS?

150,000 farmers who are all members of small-scale farmers groups will be the direct recipients of the proposed idea. We will work with coffee farmers, fruit farmers, corn (maize) farmers, and banana farmers to support learning, innovation, skills transfer, improved incomes and bring new opportunities to farming communities. Local communities will also indirectly benefit in the following ways; Improved access to pertinent information regarding agriculture, markets and value addition chain

WHERE WILL YOUR IDEA BE IMPLEMENTED?

The idea will be implemented in 5 districts of Uganda. Each district will focus on a single project component during the first year and switch to other components in the second and third years. E.g start with IT, then permaculture then value addition

ARE YOU IMPLEMENTING IN AN ELIGIBLE COUNTRY?

  • Yes

EXPERTISE IN SECTOR

  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year

EXPERIENCE IN IMPLEMENTATION COUNTRY(IES)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU!

Founded in February 2008, ICOD Action Network has a team with diverse expertise and experience. Our work extends beyond material support and touches the need to empower communities so that they can support themselves. We are an extremely cost­-effective, we ensure all funds benefit communities

IS THIS IDEA NEW FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION?

Our idea is not new to our organization, we have been training farmers in Information Technology, Permaculture since 2008, benefiting over 80,000 farmers. In 2015 alone, funding from Vancouver based Lush Manufacturing supported training of 7621 farmers. We have learned valuable lessons along the way which have informed the development and improvement of our current model to create sustainable impact . Our proposed idea is different from our previous projects because it will not only strengthen Information Technology and Permaculture training for small-scale farmers but also work with farmers in a value addition chain. Farmers will be trained in processes that support production of juices, chicken feed, art pieces, Hay, biogas and charcoal briquettes. We will ensure 100% utilisation of unconsumed, unmarketed and farm organic material. Our team will work with farmers to design their training packages and select preferred enterprises based on their needs, cost of production and impact. One of our most successful models at ICOD Action Network has been the Partnerships Model, we hope this platform will help build more collaborations. Our contact - nationaloffice@icodan.org

HOW IS YOUR IDEA UNIQUE?

We have previously built partnerships with farmers and used community organization to improve lives of farmers. We are building on this! Our idea is unique because it will ensure 100% utilisation of unconsumed, unmarketed and farm organic material. Our idea will improve livelihoods of small-scale farmers and reduce food wastage. We already have data on the numbers of smallholder farmers who will benefit, and being a cost-effective organisation, we will ensure that every single dollar we receive impacts lives of small-scale farmers and their families. After almost a decade of working with small-scale farmers, we have come to realize that farmers have the capacity to change their lives, families and communities if they receive better suited tools, services and training. We believe that the idea we have proposed here best suits millions of small-scale farmers across Africa. We have a team with diverse expertise working in food security, Information Technology and value addition chain. At local level we will work with leaders, farmers, and we also have a strong network of community based volunteers to ensure the project activities are effectively and sustainably implemented.

WHO WILL IMPLEMENT THIS IDEA?

ICOD Action Network, a registered non-profit in Uganda will implement the idea. Founded in February 2008, ICOD Action Network runs two regional programs in Northeastern Uganda and Southwestern Uganda and we have our National Office in Uganda’s capital Kampala. We have a fully functional solar-powered training center, equipment, offices, manuals, full-time staff and volunteers to fully implement the proposed idea. All we need is a 'little push' so that we an train 150,000 farmers every year.

HOW HAS YOUR IDEA CHANGED BECAUSE OF BENEFICIARY FEEDBACK?

Our idea has been applauded for its uniqueness! Flavia Karugasha, a local farmer in Uganda, wrote the following concerning the need for this kind of project:
“…. we lack information on market prices, pests and disease control, as well as training on appropriate farming methods—all of which limit our agricultural productivity … I believe that improving our access to information technology and training would bring more productivity to our villages and improve our incomes.” To fit the needs of farmers like Flavia, our proposed idea will also build up competence, transfer experience, improve partnerships and develop good practices among small-scale farmers in their communities and across the country. Beneficiary feedback strengthened our understanding that farming communities better understand solutions that can transform them. We worked with our Board and consulted farmers groups representatives who recommended increasing the number of beneficiaries from 33,000 to 150,000 every year. Our Board which is partly drawn from farming communities and farmers representatives have always provided us the best feedback since 2008. That's why we strongly value their input in this idea.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS IDEA?

One of the unanswered questions is how we will integrate financial services for small-scale farmers over the next 5 to 10 years. Smallholder farmers experience lumpy cash flows due to the seasonal nature of their work. Because of this, smallholder farmers require financial products that fit in their livelihoods. We have not included financial services in this idea, but it’s one important aspect we will consider in future.

WHY DO YOU THINK THE PROBLEM YOUR IDEA SOLVES FOR HASN'T BEEN SOLVED YET?

In Rural Uganda, small-scale farmers do not have access to Information Technology, permaculture and value addition chain training that can improve their livelihoods. We have continued to scale out our food security program since 2008 because no other organizations are focused on these interlinked components (Information Technology, permaculture and value addition). Our idea bridges production and value addition, connects farmers with the right information and regenerates ecosystems which will improve livelihoods of small-scale farmers. The under performance of corruption-ridden government agriculture programs makes our idea a vital project for small-scale farmers in Uganda.

WHAT WOULD YOU ULTIMATELY LIKE TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS IDEA? WHAT IS YOUR NEXT STEP TO GET THERE?

Our ultimate goal is to train 150,000 small-scale farmers every year to promote self-sufficient food production, reduce produce wastage and build self-sustaining farming communities. Information Technology will help connect farmers with markets, farmers will be able to build increasingly self-sufficient food production system, regenerate the ecosystems and value addition chain will improve their livelihoods. Our idea contributes to our overall goal of serving 500,000 farmers by 2020.

MEMBERS OF MY TEAM HAVE BEEN WORKING TOGETHER FOR:

  • More than a year

MY INTENDED BENEFICIARIES ARE:

  • Within 50 km of where our team does most of its work

MY ORGANIZATION'S OPERATING BUDGET FOR 2015 WAS:

  • Between $100,000 and $500,000

Access to current and relevant information in today’s competitive world is imperative for individual, as well
 as community growth and development. Today, in rural Uganda, small scale farmers do not have easy access to information that could drastically change their lives.

Since June 2008, ICOD Action Network has partnered with Agricultural Co-ops of smallholder farmers in Uganda.  We have also partnered with farmers groups  in an information-sharing program that provides instruction in Information Technology to elected “information agents” from each group. The agents use their training to retrieve relevant information (focused on, but not limited, to agriculture - such as market access and prices, disease and pest control methods, weather patterns, etc) from our solar powered internet facility to be posted in their respective villages for their communities to access at large. Information Agents search for information requested by their communities, repackage in their local languages and post in  their communities. Our team also repackages information about  weather patterns, crop health, farming techniques et.c. into illustrative videos that we use in our farm based training sessions.   weather, the health of their crops, farming techniques, market prices

We have been training farmers in Information Technology and permaculture  so that they can design their own environments and build increasingly self-­sufficient food production systems and regenerate the ecosystems that provide for their communities.

Image title

                                  Some of the farmers receive training at our center

Supported by hundreds of individual donors worldwide, Canady Foundation, Project Focus, Lush Manufacturing Ltd Vancouver our Information and Permaculture projects have benefited over 80,000 farmers since 2008. In 2015 alone, funding from Vancouver based Lush Manufacturing supported permaculture training of 7621 farmers in 2015 alone. 621 bunches of bananas, 270 avocado fruits were produced,  319 kilograms of Pineapples, 78 kilograms Passion fruits and 1.5 tonnes of Oranges  have so far been produced.

Because of several production and market hindrances, tonnes of farm produce goes to waste on farms, in storage, in transportation and in homes. This leaves small-scale farmers who produce millions of tonnes of food struggling to feed their families. Our proposed project will not only connect farmers with other farmers, link farmers to markets,  improve farmers innovations but also build capacity of farmers to produce food in an ecological manner and  utilize their produce and farm organic matter to benefit their families and communities.

We have a fully functional solar-powered internet facility for training, equipment, training manuals, full-time staff and volunteers to fully implement the proposed project. All we need is a little push; so that we an train 150,000 farmers  every year over the next three years and train thousands more over the next 10 years. 

Image title

Organic manure making DemonstrationOut Information Technology project combines  information  sharing among small scale farmers and  training  in areas that farmers need and believe can change their lives

Attachments (1)

One Pager - ICOD Action Network.pdf

Our one pager above briefly describes what we stand for, our 'action' networks and how we work to strengthen the movement for global action against extreme poverty, global hunger, disease and advocate for rights for all.

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Photo of Yazmin
Team

Information Technology today is on a higher level, it can help businesses, companies etc. to gain more success and gain more efficiency. Its good that they will be revolutionizing it and integrate it with technology, this will help them to achieve more efficiency and gain more success. It would be great if they can find a good IT service that can help them with this project so that they will not spend more money.


Yazmin Barajas, Head Ops
Internet Marketing
Offshore Business Processing IT Solutions Outsourcing
http://www.offshorebusinessprocessing.com/it-solutions

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