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Trees for life

We seek to work with marginalised rural farmers to adopt an innovative and sustainable agroforestry model that triples household incomes

Photo of Daniel Ojulu

Written by

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The trees for life project seeks to work with marginalised rural farmers to implement a one acre agroforestry model where we provide inputs and capacity building to the local farmer associations comprising of ten farmers each, and the farmers contribute their land and labour. After harvest, we buy the farmers produce at prevailing market prices and have a 50-50 profit sharing arrangement. The essence is to provide an additional income generation source without necessarily reducing the land available for food crops.

The main challenge within Pallisa District, in the Eastern Region of Uganda is the continued degradation of wetland resources and natural vegetation. Due to the poor farming methids, the soils have been depleted, resulting in low productivity and crop yields. The result has been a reduction in farm incomes thus an increase in household poverty among the rural farmers who derive their sustainance and livelihoods through agriculture. 96℅ of the local population are engaged in agriculture for employment and survival.

Therefore, through the trees for life project, we seek to pilot it with a group of 20 - 30 farmers, where we shall provide quality inputs (oil seeds and cereals) alongside tree saplings, provide fertilisers, capacity building and onfield technical backstopping, and connect farmers to premium markets for their produce. It's believed that one of the challenges rural farmers face is access to quality inputs and fertiliser, limited finance, profit appropriation by the middleman, and limited knowledge on available markets.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our beneficiaries are marginalised rural farmers who have already one acre of land in Pallisa District, Eastern Uganda. However, we shall start with the the local community in Olok subcounty - one of the poorest subcounties in Uganda.

The community will benefit through access to quality inputs, onfield technical advice, linkage to premium pre-nogotiated markets that guarantee a predetermined minimum price for their outputs, the rural unemployed youth are offered employment opportunities are community resource persons, and women will not be required to move longer distances in search of firewood anymore.

Every 4-5years, through the sale of pulpwood, households will have the opportunity to double their incomes and move above the poverty line. They are also gurranteed a reliable source of income at the end of each season - twice a year through the sale of oil seeds and cereals

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

We position ourselves as a link between rural communities and companies/manufacturers where we group marginalised farmers together to grow trees in paired rows next to their traditional crops without necessarily reducing the land available for food production. The essence is to have farmers provide raw materials to industries while still growing their own traditional crops. This is the product innovation

Secondly, through signing memoranda with local farmer associations, we supply inputs to farmers while farmers pool their land and provide their labour. We seek to eliminate the middle man and thereafter, share the profits on a 50-50 arrangement.

By replicating SAIs proven agroforestry model and adapting it to the local context and conditions, we shall largely rely on SAIs technical expertise and knowledge sharing arrangement to fast track the successful implementation of this innovative idea

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

DSM Holdings seeks to work with marginalised rural farmers to adopt innovative and mordern market oriented agroforestry and agronomic practices that increase household incomes while conserving mother nature through carbon sequestration

DSM Holdings was founded in February 2017 and will be formally established and registered as of July 2018.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • No, but we are a formal initiative through an accelerator, hub, or other entity.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

With increased degradation of the wetland ecosystem and the subsequent expulsion of people from cultivation of rice in the wetlands, this resulted in a reduction in household income since rice cultivation is the main cashcrop grown within Pallisa District.

I attended a SAG-SEED Replicator connect workshop in February 2017 in Kampala, Uganda and picked up interest in the collaborative Business models for smallholder farming where I was matched with an Originator to further develop the idea

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Plannet has been impacted by increasing degradation of the wetland ecosystem through the continued cultivation of rice within the Wetlands. Population explosion has also necessitated an increase in land required for cultivation and thus lead to the destruction of wetlands and other sensitive ecosystems. The cutting and burning of trees for charcoal and firewood has resulted in climate change. These have had a negative impact on agricultural productivity and household incomes.

Prosperity has been impacted by land fragmentation and degradation, use of poor farming methods and low yielding crop varieties. These have resulted in low agricultural outputs yet 96℅ of the community is engaged in agriculture

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Our main partners are the local farmer associations (LFAs). Each LFA comprises of ten (10) marginalised rural farmers with at least one acre of land who pool their land and labour. We shall split the resulting profits on a 50-50 arrangement

We have also partnered with SAI: Sustainable Agro Ltd, who have allowed us to replicate their proven innovative agroforestry model. SAI will provide mentorship, capacity building and legal advice throughout the replication process, and guide the development of the prototype and financing arrangements with the farmers.

We will also enter into partnerships with input suppliers to provide quality inputs, industries to add value to farmers produce, research institutions to engage in research activities and refine the agroforestry model, and the local government agencies and international development partners and agencies

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

The average household size is 9. This implies a readily available labour to till the farms.

Most of the households have more than one acre of land and will be able to allocate at least one acre which is the basic minimum for our agroforestry model.

The women have an equal share to family land and are the ones engaged in agriculture the most.

The area also enjoys a reliable amount of rainfall and is largely bordered by wetlands and a large number of small water bodies.

Geographic Focus

The idea targets rural farmers in Pallisa District, Eastern Region, Uganda. Africa

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The idea refinement process and development of the prototype will take 6 months. The pilot phase is 24 months. In total, the project idea requires 30-months to implement

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

21 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of David Ezra Jay
Team

Hi Daniel,
Good project! GreenStand we love trees and would love to support your famers. Our project is just launching, if you have people planting trees we are happy to help support them.

One of our goals is to create a networking tool for smallholder farmers to sell them sell their agroforestry products. Feel free to reach out to me. All you need to get started is an android smart phone
Jay@greenstand.org

Photo of Daniel Ojulu
Team

Hello Jay,

Thanks for this amazing opportunity to work together to improve our planet and farmers as well. We are currently finalizing with the ideation stage and looking forward to commencing with the prototype phase and hope to roll-out our operations in the next 6 months.

Feel free to contact me on my personal email dojulu50@gmail.com to further discuss how we can work together to combat climate change

Photo of Chang Lee
Team

Hello Daniel.
I found your idea to be an interesting take on a common agriculture initiative engaging rural farmers. I am now interested and curious to learn more about this SAI model you reference. You mention that its a pilot starting with 30 or so farmers. What is your scale up vision once this moves beyond the pilot phase (of 2 years?). Also, have you or do you plan to do any assessments as part of this pilot, or are you relying on other data for that (and if so, from where/whom?). Interesting idea though!

Photo of Daniel Ojulu
Team

Hello Chang,

Thanks for your positive review. Regarding the SAI Model, u can read more about SAI and its operations on http://www.sai-agro.com/ it will give you a better understanding of their modus operandi.

We hope to scale our operations from the third year onwards and this will be dependent upon the success and lessons learnt from the pilot. This will inform our design and learning process. We are targeting working with 10,000 farmers in the next ten years when fully scaled up.

We will do an assessment before and during the implementation process to track our impact. We hope to have a well developed M&E system in place

Photo of Russell Davis
Team

Good afternoon Daniel it was a pleasure to talk with you and I look forward to your request to join your project within our Rural Renaissance project. We have a tremendous amount of material that can be provided to you to help in your project and you should know that our experience with the Agenda Gotsch project has been adopted at COP16 as the global standard for regeneration of desert lands. I will also put you in contact with our colleagues in Uganda to speed up the process of process and innovation transfer. Via your email I am sending files that have information you will find immediately useful. Here are a few links that will help you:
https://vimeo.com/146953911
http://youtube.com/watch?v=BaZVRqExleg
https://sites.google.com/view/alagoanoruralrenaissance/home (Portuguese)

We look forward to working with you!

Photo of Russell Davis
Team

Good morning Daniel, I would like to discuss consolidating your project along with several complimentary proposals in an effort to have greater impact and opportunity to gain support for your project. We have several other projects in your area. Please provide your contact details, WhatsApp or SkypeID so we may have a discussion today.

Russ Davis
Chairman H2CI

Photo of Daniel Ojulu
Team

Good evening Russell.

Thank you for the opportunity to further develop a and consolidate my project.

My WhatsApp is +256704111368 and Skype ID is danielojulu

Photo of Erin Burba
Team

Hi Daniel, this is a great project idea. How are you going to select the crops that are grown through this program? I think there's an opportunity for additional benefits in terms of health and nutrition. For example, I've heard of someone in Rwanda promoting quinoa to farmers for its health benefits, and there are certain crops genetically modified to contain greater quantities of vitamins to combat malnutrition or deficiencies. Also, what kind of fertilizer inputs are you providing? I'm not sure about the costs and availability of materials in Uganda, but I know in Tanzania many people keep chickens and cows alongside their crops, and these animals provide many benefits by eating farm and kitchen scraps, providing fertilizer through their waste, and providing additional sources of food and income. If the capital is available to provide farmers with livestock or chickens, this could be a productive, long-term solution to fertilizer.

All the best, Erin

Photo of Daniel Ojulu
Team

Thanks Erin for your positive feedback.

First and foremost, we're positioning ourselves as a business to business initiative and aim to promote farming as a business venture to the marginalized rural farmers who practice farming for basic survival. By promoting this initiative, the focus is to supply raw material for the agro processing industries without necessarily reducing land available for farming. We have already developed good working arrangements for producing and supplying oilseed like the Soybean that has both nutritional benefits and also go a long way in improving soil fertility through fixing nitrogen in the soil. The soybean has seen value addition through the production of soy milk and yoghurt, including developing it as a protein Neal for feed manufacturing.

GMOs on the other hand are illegal in Uganda as per current legislation.

Regarding the type of fertilizer we hope to use organic fertilizers which are now easily accessible and government has tried to promote production in country. Many farmers also keep a sizeable amount of livestock and poultry and this will provide additional organic matter

Photo of Erin Burba
Team

Thanks for your response, this sounds great!

Photo of Daniel Ojulu
Team

I've been thinking about your suggestion to include livestock In the project idea for its double benefit of both nutritional and economic benefits to the farmer while offering additional organic manure. It looks great and more appealing to the farmer.

Photo of Daniel Ojulu
Team

I've been thinking about your suggestion to include livestock In the project idea for its double benefit of both nutritional and economic benefits to the farmer while offering additional organic manure. It looks great and more appealing to the farmer.

Photo of Erin Burba
Team

Thanks Daniel, I think the livestock could be a great addition to your program. If you like I'd be willing to join your team to share ideas and help with research - let me know~

Photo of Daniel Ojulu
Team

Thanks Erin,
Will be glad to have you on board

Photo of Bremley Lyngdoh
Team

Hi Daniel I like your project idea and I am also implementing an agroforestry project in my home state Meghalaya in north east India. But right now I am working on developing a blockchain to power the first Ecosystem Services market place that rewards indigenous communities to restore the Eastern Ghats in India. Together with out local partners in India we are building bridges between community driven mountain ecosystem restoration using blockchain technology for sustainable development financing. https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/bridgebuilder2/ideas/developing-a-blockchain-to-power-the-first-ecosystem-market-place-that-rewards-communities-to-restore-and-protect-the-eastern-ghats-in-india

Perhaps we can collaborate at a later stage as you progress on your project idea. I have been to your country and worked with my local partner Semakula Daniel who was leading YES Uganda and Worldview Impact Uganda. Let me know if you want be to connect you to him ok. All the best!

Photo of Daniel Ojulu
Team

Hi Lyngdoh,

Thanks for your feedback.

You are welcome to collaborate and exchange ideas at a later stage and I could perhaps add you to my team too. Iam also open to further networks and you are welcome to connect me with your local partners too.

Looking forward to more collaboration

Photo of Marnie Glazier
Team

This is a really wonderful project idea and is in sync with efforts underway at a number of US colleges and universities to aid rural residents and bring prosperity to people and planet through sustainable farming/planting techniques. Have you thought about partnering with any schools?

Photo of Daniel Ojulu
Team

Thanks Marnie for the positive comment. We are exploring all available opportunities for collaboration and partnerships and we would be glad if you recommended any particular schools or colleges. We believe in collective action for global empowerment

Photo of Marnie Glazier
Team

Let's try to connect and join teams and this will help us to find ways to locate partner institutions for you.

Photo of Daniel Ojulu
Team

Its more than an honour to have you on board. I believe this initiative can go a long way in charging lots of lives and creating lasting impacts for our environment. Looking forward to positive collaboration

Photo of Marnie Glazier
Team

Thanks so much, Daniel! I will add you to our team and look forward to more conversation!