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Improve farmers' livelihoods through better farming methods and value addition to attract more people into farming to boost food production

To equip farmers with the necessary information and training to help them earn more from their small farms.

Photo of Kayondo Shafiq
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

SULEY INVESTMENT GROUP LTD

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

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

  • Just beginning now

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

Wakiso District

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?

Kitanda Sub-County, Bukomansimbi district

What country is your selected Place located in?

Uganda

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

 I was born in this area and its where I grew from. During our childhood, this place was a food basket for many urban centres. Trucks would frequent this area loading matoke and coffee and carry them to Kampala. 

Both young and old, men and women were fully absorbed into this industry. Residents had enough food to feed on and incomes to cater for their other needs. Parents were able to provide better shelters for their families and take them to good schools.

There was no use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides, there was enough labour in every household to do the weeding and cattle keeping and picking coffee and drying it. This resulted in health soils that produced healthy food that attracted higher price to the benefit of every farmer.

Today, however, residents of this area who once cultivated their own food are now buying it from other areas. Young men and women have migrated to urban centres and Kampala city in search for jobs and have deprived this area of that much needed manpower on farms.

Now what remains are old men and women and very young kids. Farmers have resorted to use of deadly herbicides and pestcides to control both weeds and pests to the detriment of the environment. 

Whenever I see this, I feel dismayed and want to do something to reverse the situation.

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 feel of the place:

The inhabitants of this area are mostly old women and men as well as infants.

Young men leave home early morning and go to urban centres to do petty jobs like riding bodaboda (motorcylce taxis), working in butcher's shops, salons, and they take any little money they get into gaming and sports betting and bars.

Mostly people eat posho and matoke and cassava and sweet potatoes and beans and peas and occasionaly meat. They depend mainly on the food they produce during the two rainy seasons. But due to climate change, the seasons are no longer regular. Sometimes the rains destroy the very crops they grow because they are too much, and on other occasions the long dry spells not only make planting seasonal food crops impossible, but also dries the perenial ones.

When you drive through Kitanda, you would meet skinny, mulnourished and hungry poor people wearing rags and residing in soon-to-fall houses. The schools in Kitanda are mostly government aided but many of them have structures that are in poor condition with less qualified and demotivated teachers.

Farming in this area is done mainly by women, most of whom old women, using hoes, and it is generally subsistance farming.

There is no piped water in this area. Water is drawn from wells, mainly by women and children, carrying it on their heads, sometimes moving 500 meters to 1km. In some areas residents share wells with cattle, though a few areas have boreholes donated to them by some charity organisations.




 

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

30000

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

The challenges facing food system

Land degradation due to overuse of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, burning bushes and cutting trees to clear more land for farming and getting fuel, without replanting them. This has left soil bare, caused soil erosion, and deprived the soil of beneficial organisms. The end result is unhealthy soil with unhealthy plants producing insufficient and non-nutritious food which can’t give required health and energy to farmers to produce more food.

Food waste. A lot of food goes to waste because it is not considered to be food by people of this area, yet most of it is so nutritious. Foods like cassava leaves, sweet potato leaves, jack fruit seeds, banana blossoms aren’t considered food, yet the same are food to people in other areas. 

Ignorance among different stakeholders. Farmers are so much into traditional farming. They have very little knowledge about their soil, what affects its fertility, and how they can revitalize it. They don’t know what the market needs in terms of quality and quantity, and they end up producing too much for the market or not what the market needs. The end result is low quality produce, which attract low prices, discouragement and quitting farming.

Unfair trade. Usually, unscrupulous middlemen take advantage of farmers’ illiteracy and ignorance to cheat them, and this pushes many farmers away from the business.

Climate change. Before, there were two rainy seasons which were known; farmers would plan in advance when to plant and when to harvest. Rains and heat were moderate. Nowadays, farmers can’t know when rains would begin or end. For example, the first quarter of 2019 was extremely hot, and from April till the end of the year was rain. These unrelenting rains caused great losses to farmers, because they couldn’t dry their produce after harvest, for all the drying is done under the sun; at the same time there are no irrigation systems to help farmers during drought. You find that no farming is done during drought, and food is lost during rainy season.

Lack of storage facilities. Farmers don’t have proper storage facilities, neither do middlemen. In the end, a lot of food is affected with aflatoxins, which make them unsellable to the international market. So it ends up attracting low prices.

Reluctance of the government in enforcing some laws, like the law against the use of plastic bags, importation and sale of fake agricultural inputs. There are no clear laws prohibiting people from practicing detrimental farming practices, like bush burning, tree cutting, etc.

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

on-farm Training for farmers

We shall set up a demonstration and model farm in the area, from where farmers shall learn different farming methods.

They will learn environmentally friendly farming methods and techniques, such as making compost manure, mixed farming, crop rotation, etc.

They will learn about soil, what kills the soil, how to revitalize it for better yields. In this, they will learn about alkalinity and acidity of the soil, how the two affect plants, and which plants are affected by each, and how to mitigate each.

Farmers will learn about which crops add nutrients into the soil and which ones consume them.

We shall introduce to farmers and promote growing of crops that can cope with the changing weather conditions and at the same time nutritious and marketable at both local and international markets.

Encourage, teach, and help farmers to harvest water during rainy season so that they don’t lose their crop when drought hits them mid-season.

Update farmers with the information relevant to their trade, such as which crop is on demand, which one is not, what the future looks like, the current and future prices etc.

Teach farmers how to get more out of food by showing them how food can be recycled to benefit them more.

Sway away farmers from bad farming practices, such as bush burning, cutting down trees without replacing them, limited use of synthetic chemicals, etc.

Encourage farmers to grow identical crops that will attract buyers in the area.

Marketing and Selling

Market farmers’ produce both on local and international markets through both traditional and technological marketing methods.

We shall set up a website/online shop and mobile application that will feature farmers’ produce; this will widen farmer’s produce’s market and attract them better prices.

There will be a marketing office and store in Kampala, which will get the farmers’ produce closer to the market. This will help farmers get more from their sweats, and this will motivate them to produce more food, and attract many others back into the business.

We shall avail small agricultural machinery, such as planters, tillers, to farmers for hire at a very affordable rate. This will solve the labour scarcity challenge facing farmers of this area, it will enable them cultivate bigger chunks of land that would otherwise lie idle, and this will eventually help attract more people into farming fold.

Value addition

We shall set up solar driers on farmers’ farms as a way of adding value to their produce; construct granaries to help them keep their crops longer and safer for their own health and for the health of buyers, and for better prices.

Lobby both local and central governments for improvement in farmers’ produce.

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.

After addressing those challenges, the people of Kitanda will have improved lives. They will be producing enough food for themselves and for the market. 

Food waste shall be reduced to lowest levels, as many farmers will have learnt how to make the best out of food.

Farmers shall no longer be producing food using traditional methods. They will then be well accustomed to modern methods of farming.

There won't be any use of synthetic fertilizers, as all farmers shall have adopted the use of compost manure.

Farmers shall be earning more from farming, as they will be selling high quality and value added produce.

With enough food in their homes, the people of Kitanda will be able to sustain families that will be working on farms. There won't be thefty of food, as everyone will have what to eat.

With money in their pockets, the people of this area will have better housing, they will be able to give their children better education, among others.

Urban migration of young men and women will reduce, as there will be more economic activities taking place in this area.

By 2050, farmers of this area won't be damaging the planet through farming.

The negative perception that farming is for the peasants and uneducated will have changed greatly.

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

environment and diet

We shall set up a 20-acre modal farm which shall be divided into different plots. There will be a plot for livestock, for banana plantation, for coffee plantation, for herbs, for cereals, for grains and pulses, for vegetables, and for fruits. There shall be sun-driers, silos, a processing area, and a training area.

To save the planet's little water and to make good use of water, there shall be a rain-water harvesting system and an irrigation system. The plots for coffee, banana, fruits and vegetables shall be mulched to preserve water underneath the soil for a better crop yield. We shall also dig terraces in those plots so that rain water is retained in the soil. When our farms are well mulched, we can then save the harvested water for cattle and poultry and home use, or it will be used to irrigate crops when droughts hit hard.

The livestock section shall comprise of both hybrid dairy and beef cattle and goats and sheep, and a poultry farm, and a pasture growing area. Part of the milk and eggs shall be sold and part of it shall be retained and eaten by farm workers. The proceeds from milk and eggs shall help meet the day-to-day livestock farm expenses to enable us keep reproducing.This livestock farm shall act as the parent-stock and learning center for Kitanda community. The livestock shall be fed on planted pasture as well as food remains and residues such as peels. 

To ensure fertility of the soil, we shall have a laboratory where soil experts shall be testing soil for organic matter, acidity and alkalinity, among other things. There will always be two acres of land that shall be left to fallow for at least a year. These two acres shall provide the required vegetation for mulching at the same time regaining fertility. It will also be a dwelling place for other microbios that are important in farming and composting area.

With fertile soils and benefitial insects and organisms left dwell and thrive and multiply, there will no use of synthetic fertilizers which shall help save the environment.

In addition, we shall have agronomists who will be working as extension workers and shall give advisory services to farmers, helping them have the right product for the market. There shall also be veterinary officers who will help farmers treat their cattle, goats, and poultry.

We shall buy small agricultural equipment like planters, sprinklers, water pumps, forage harvesters, tillers, and station them at our model farm. These machines shall be rented out to farmers at a low fee. The fee that shall be charged to farmers shall be used for maintaining the machines or replace them when they are worn out. These equipment shall help farmers produce more food both for their home use and for the market.

culture

After the modal farm is fully done, we shall start inviting farmers for practical training on the farm. They will be trained in soil and soil management techniques, plant propagation, plant health, water harvesting, modern farming techniques in changing climate, among others.

The farmers shall be trained on the model farm and they will be required to replicate what they see on their farms, and those farmers that will be showing progress shall be given, in form of a loan, a cow or goats or poultry to start with after assessing their capacity. Coffee farmers shall be given beehives to be placed in their coffee plantations

Farmers shall be assisted to set up a granaries and sun-driers which will help them store their food for some longer periods of time.

With time, this will be the new normal way of farming. Every farmer shall have to be a mixed farmer, producing nutritious food for home and the market. There will no longer be food wasting or damaging the environment.

POLICY

Every participating farmer shall be given seeds or seedlings to grow, and they will helped to start livestock farms to help them save food, have more income from their farms and at the same time to have manure for the soil.

As a matter of policy, when the cow or goats give birth to the second calf, the farmer shall be required to give it back to us as a way of paying back the loan so that more farmers benefit from the scheme. 

For those that will have received poultry, they will have to return eggs equivalent to the chicks they received, which will be hatched and chicks given to other farmers. Those who will have received seeds and seedlings, they will have to return the equivalent of the seeds or seedlings they received to be given to others.

This loan repayment system shall help ensure that farmers take care of their livestock and at the same time benefit more and more farmers.

The farmers shall be monitored closely to ensure that they follow the right farming practices to ensure soil fertility, environmental protection, and nutritious food.

Economics and technology

We shall register a brand name and logo, which we shall use to market all the participating farmers’ products - matoke, coffee, herbs, spices, eggs, milk, meat, etc.

Only those farmers who will comply with environmentally friendly farming methods, like using compost manures, shall have their products bought and marketed by us.

We shall set up a website profiling our farmers, talking about us, who we are and what we do. We shall aslo have an online shop and a mobile app through which we shall market and sell the farmers' produce.


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Photo of Lauren Ito
Team

Hi Kayondo Shafiq great to see you joining the Prize!

We noticed your submission is currently unpublished. Was this your intention? We'd love to have your submission included in the Prize. Even if you've not started populating your Vision just yet, by publishing your submission you can make it public for other teams in your region to see, get in touch and possibly even collaborate with you.

You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your Vision at any time before 31 January 2020 by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top. If you need inspiration or guidance, take a look at the Food Vision Prize Toolkit. linked here: http://bit.ly/2X4ZxQk

Look forward to seeing your Vision evolve through the coming weeks.