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Written by: Sheila Alumo (CEO & Founder EADC)

A WORLD WITHOUT HUNGER AND MALNUTRITION (Livelihoods powered by farming)

Photo of Sheila Alumo
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Eastern Agricultural Development Company Ltd (EADC)

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Nacri ( National Agricultural Centre for Research Institute) CIAT/PABRA (International centre for tropical agriculture & Pan African Bean Research Alliance) Master card( for farmer digitalisation), CIP(International Centre for Potatoes)

Website of Legally Registered Entity

www.eadc-ug.org

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Soroti district, Uganda Located 320 Kilometers from the capital city; Kampala

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

Uganda

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Karamoja Region, Located in the North Eastern part of Uganda, has a total area of approximately 27, 200 sq kms

What country is your selected Place located in?

Uganda.

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

I work here. The Karamoja region for instance is heavily characterized by high poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition rates. Over 80% of the inhabitants live in abject poverty and over 54% of the inhabitants especially children are acutely malnourished

From a social impact point of view, this place despite its challenges offers opportunites for its people. The green belt of karamoja (Abim district) has some of the most ferttile soils in the country and I believe we can transform this region by increaing agricultural poductivity in this district and creating sustainable markets for the farmers 

I believe we can change the world through food, only if we developed a rethink in our food systems and approaches and designed solutions that address food issues from a holistic and systems change point of view. 

With my network of 6000 small holder rural (2000) from the Karamoja region  farmers I work with. Collectively these farmers through our engagement have started transforming the region through production of nutritient rich foods i.e Vitamin A orange sweet potaoes and Iron & Zinc. These foods are aimed at reducing malnutrition rated deficiencies of Vitamin A, Iron and Zinc and well as provide nutrition and income security for the farmers. 

Secondly as a business our overall goal is to change the narrative by creating sustainable business models for rural small holder farmers that are aimed at addressing malnutrition, food and income insecurity. We guarantee markets for our farmers products as well as engage in food processing of these products in abide to increase their self life and create product diversity. 

The karamoja region because of all its challenges served as a point in which to create change for me and my team. 

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The Karamoja region comprises of approximately 1.3M inhabitants. The Karamoja region consists of seven districts in northeastern Uganda (Kaabong, Kotido, Abim, Moroto, Napak, Amudat and Nakapiripirit).

The Karamojong or Karimojong are an ethnic group of agro-pastoral herders living mainly in the north-east of Uganda. Their language is also known as Karamojong or Karimojong, and is part of the Nilo-Saharan language group.

The main livelihood activity of the Karamojong is herding livestock, which has social and cultural importance.  Crop cultivation is a secondary activity, undertaken only in areas where it is practicable that is Abim district.

Due to the arid climate of the region, the Karamojong have always practised a sort of pastoral transhumance, where for 3–4 months in a year, they move their livestock to the neighboring districts in search of water and pasture for their animals.

The availability of food and water is always a concern and affects the Karamojong's interaction with other ethnic groups.

Climate summary: Unlike most of Uganda, which has two distinct rainy seasons, Karamoja has historically had a single long rainy period between April and November. Rainfall peaks during April and May, with a break typically in June. Rains then return in July or August and continue through November. Annual average rainfall ranges between 300 mm in the pastoral regions to 1200 mm in western areas of Abim and Nakapiripirit. Average annual temperatures range from 16°C in the highlands to 24°C in the rest of the region

Karamoja is classified as one of the world’s poorest areas, with high rates of malnutrition and a disproportionate number of its 1.3 million inhabitants (82 percent) living in absolute poverty and over 54% of the inhabitants especially children are acutely malnourished. Hunger, stunting and lack of access to food are prevalent, with estimates suggesting that about 100 children aged less than five die each week from preventable diseases. Food insecurity is a major and ongoing challenge and a heavy reliance on the natural resources base renders livelihoods sensitive to climate dynamics. Climate variability and change undermine the already limited resources and development in Karamoja through recurring droughts, flash floods and prolonged dry spells. High levels of variability in the climate cycle, including unpredictable rainfall patterns, already exist

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)

27200

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

1300000

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Karamoja is classified as one of the world’s poorest areas, with high rates of malnutrition and a disproportionate number of its 1.3 million inhabitants (82 percent) living in absolute poverty. Hunger, stunting and lack of access to food are prevalent, with estimates suggesting that about 100 children aged less than five die each week from preventable diseases.

Food insecurity is a major and ongoing challenge and a heavy reliance on the natural resources base renders livelihoods sensitive to climate dynamics. 

Climate variability and change undermine the already limited resources and development in Karamoja through recurring droughts, flash floods and prolonged dry spells. High levels of variability in the climate cycle, including unpredictable rainfall patterns, already exist. 

Other vulnerabilities that constrain development in Karamoja stem from historical dynamics affecting current governance, including 1) cattle raiding, 2) severe environmental degradation, and 3) poor infrastructure

Rainfall in Karamoja is characteristically episodic, alternating with a prolonged severe dry season, and considerable variation arises from year to year. Cyclic droughts occur every two to three years. The episodic nature of these events means that most of the region’s population is typically affected by a sequence of shocks that pose significant challenges to livelihood security (figure 3). The main climate-related shocks in the region include erratic and unevenly distributed rainfall, which can result in:  Droughts (generally between April–June)  Severe dry spells and erratic rains (particularly between May–July)  Floods (particularly from July–September)  Outbreaks of livestock disease or changing crop pest dynamics (August–September)   High food prices  Livelihood insecurity

The common hazards in this zone are insecurity, drought and dry spell conditions, water logging and seasonal floods, crop pests (birds) and diseases and wild fires. In case of adverse impact of these hazards, poor group respond through increased collection and consumption of wild foods, distant migration in search of labor employment and increased reliance on natural products. Better-off group normally cope through increased purchase of food and migration in search of water and pasture for livestock.

The main markets are both rural and urban within 60 kilometer’s distance. Which is mostly far to reach for especially the poor rural small holder farmers with no means of transport forcing them to sell their produceat a record low price

There's very little agricultural productivity taking place in this region mainly due to cultural practices being that they are mainly pastoralists but also due to little rainfall registered in the region , meaning there's very high rates of food insecurity and malnutrition. Todate most of the inhabitants in this community live on food aid Secondly, the crops grown take alonger maturity period (3 to 4 months), 90 to 120 days meaning the little rainfall registered in the region can not support robust agricultural productivity

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Our approach is 3 fold and is focused on addressing the root causes of malnutrition from a systems change view point, by tackling the root causes as listed below;

1Immediate causes of malnutrition directly affecting the indovidual i.e dietry needs, 2.) Underlying causes related to food insecurity and poverty, and 3)Basic causes related to policies, culture, infrustructure,.

Below is what our solution proposes;

1. Immediate causes- Dietry causes:   a)  We at EADC have introduced healthy and nutritious foods to our farmers for production and consumption aimed at addressing the mulnutritional deficiencies of Vitamin A, Iron  and Zinc. These foods are the Vitamin A rich orange sweet potatoes and the Iron and Zinc rich beans    b) We have created awareness campaigns and massages in the communities on the nutritional benefits of these products in collaboration with district officials, farmer group leaders, church leaders and health workers and today we have a vast majority of farmers producing and consuming those foods       c) We have gone ahead to skill women on value addition so they are able to add value to these products and prepare diverse nutritious meals for thier families i.e fortified baby porridges

2. Underlying Causes; Caused by food insecurity and Poverty

a) We have introduced climate smart drought tolerant crops to our farmers for production to withstand the harsh weather conditions of karamoja. that is the High iron beans with mature in 68days as opposed to the older varities that matured in 120/100days. Today our farmers are able to grow beans 2 seasons a year as opposed to the previous years where production was done only once ayear  (b) Through our model "farming as a business" we have established reliable and sustainable markets for our farmers at EADC, we guarantee markets for our farmers products (c) Technology: through our ICT digital payment platform- Payments are made easy and instantly directly to the farmers mobile phones. This system is aimed at making the rural small holder farmers financially bankable so they can borrow money to expand on their production and also diversy thier investments hence improving on their household incomes.The digital payments platform also promotes crop insurance since theirs a record of farmers trade transactions hence allowing them to ensure their crops against climate shocks. (D) Food processing technologies of biofortied foods and precooked beans aimed at increasing farmers incomes, reducing food wastage during harvesting(for every 24MT of sweet potatoes we sell, we have 48MT of poor grade that is not accepted by the market but which we can process into flour and other products) aimed at improving household nutrition and the precooked beans technology is aimed at sasving cooking time as well as the fuel spent in cooking. Traditionally beans take 2/3 hours in cooking and yet it's a staple among many households in the communities

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

We anticipate a shift in mindset of the people in karamoja from mostly cattle rearing to adapting farming as a businness of healthy nutritious foods as opposed to the foods they commonly cultivate i.e sorghum, maize, cassava etc 

Atleast 30,000 SH farmers(60% women & youth) reached in sustainable production of OFSP and high Iron & zinc rich beans

30,000 SH farmer households, 210,000 memebers in the SH farmer households reached with nutritious foods, for health & nutrition

Improved food & income security(reduced poverty rates) for the 30,000 SH farmers & improved social behaviour change and Increased nutrition at house-hold & community level through consumption and production of OFSP & Iron rich beans  

A robust market system in place for our products (processed and unprocessed) exported to the regional & Internal markets

$ 3M raised to set up a fullyfledged processing line processing;

a)20MT a day processing biofortied flours

b) 10MT a day processing ready to eat precooked iron rich beans in abide to reduce on cooking time,  environment preservation & nutrition security

c) Processing snacks make from gluten free biofortiied flours

Increased collaborations with multi-stakeholder partners  i.e WFP, USAID, Rockefeller, CIAT, CIP,  district officials, Government, NGO’s

Policies in place that promote food and nutrition security country wide

We will have local community leaders engaged in enacting bye-laws that promote food security


Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

EADC food systems change illustrates how the EADC food and market systems approach is used as an intervention measure to foster development approaches that improve both economic and nutrition outcomes for households

The approach above takes a systems change approach at addressing the root cause of malnutrition versus just targeting the symptoms. The Inclusive and integrated markets systems approach will improve economic outcomes and hence promote sustainability. The model also seeks to improve returns on time/labor investments for women / small holder farmers hence promoting both food and income security. In a nutshell, the idea is to apply a horizontal approach that looks at solving  both the basic, underlying and immediate causes of malnutrition. With that inmind, the results below is what we aim to see;

30,000 SH farmers(60% women & youth) reached in sustainable production of OFSP and high Iron & zinc rich beans

30,000 SH farmer households, 210,000 memebers in the SH farmer households reached with nutritious foods, for health & nutrition

Improved food & income security(reduced poverty rates) for the 30,000 SH farmers & improved social behaviour change

Increased nutrition at house-hold & community level through consumption and production of OFSP & Iron rich beans  

A robust market system in place for our products (processed and unprocessed) exported to the regional & Internal markets

$ 3M raised to set up a fullyfledged processing line processing;

a)20MT a day processing biofortied flours

b) 10MT a day processing ready to eat precooked iron rich beans in abide to reduce on cooking time,  environment preservation & nutrition security

c) Processing snacks make from gluten free biofortiied flours

Increased collaborations with multi-stakeholder partners  i.e WFP, USAID, Rockefeller, CIAT, CIP,  district officials, Government, NGO’s

Policies in place that promote food and nutrition security country wide

Impact brought about by production of High Iron beans is as below:

Increased bean production of varieties rich in Iron and Zinc at household level, supported by increased market demand. 

Increased nutrition at house-hold level through consumption and production of Iron rich bean varieties. Among the objectives of this innovation-driven concept is to improve nutrition among base-of-the-pyramid (BoP) consumers and increase the incomes of value chain actors, especially smallholder producers, in Karamoja. This will be achieved by developing markets and generating demand for new bean-based food products that are affordable, nutritious, safe, and attractive to BoP consumers. The overall hypothesis is that providing BoP consumers access to such products and nudging consumers towards their consumption will significantly contribute to reducing malnutrition among BoP consumers. In addition, we also believe that the successful commercialization of biofortified bean-based products in urban markets can make biofortified varieties attractive to East African farmers and thus increase both their supply and consumption in rural areas, where malnutrition rates are generally higher.
Job creation in new agro-enterprises at various stages of the value chain (production, grading, bulking, packaging, transportation, processing and marketing), especially for women and youth

Increased incomes at house-hold level from the sale of beans

Less wood used in cooking beans and less time spent by women collecting it, as well as less time spent in cooking the beans

Empowerment of various social groups (women, men, and youth) engaged in adding value to beans

Increased awareness and availability of value added pre-cooked beans and fortified bean flours

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Conference/event

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Photo of Rethabile Konopo
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Hi CEO & Founder, Eastern Agricultural Development Company Ltd  welcome to the Food System Vision Prize Community!

What would life in [your city] look like in 2050?
We've built a very comprehensive Food Vision Prize Toolkit with a lot of information, activities, and guidelines. The Toolkit will help you refine your Vision and make it systemic, human-centered and well informed for the future.
Here is the link to the Prize Toolkit: http://bit.ly/2X4ZxQk

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