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Klit International Limited vision 2050

To create a food supply chain to consumers that is free from pesticide contamination by 2050

Photo of Innocent Kirungi
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Lead Applicant Organization Name

Klit International Limited

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?

New York City

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

United States of America

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

Bunyoro Kingdom

What country is your selected Place located in?

Uganda

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

I attended my junior school from Hoima District, one of the district the kingdom covers. I later started high school from Masindi District which is also found within the Kingdom. During my first internship placement by the university, I carried it out in Bulindi Zonal Agricultural Research Development Institute (BuZARDI). BuZARDI is one of the nine Public Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institutes (ZARDIs) which were established through the NARS Act of 2005. The Institute is responsible for carrying out applied and adaptive research in Bunyoro Kingdom. It is during my time in this Institute that I managed to participate in the AgShare II Project aimed at Documenting Agricultural Indigenous Knowledge. Some of the output can be found on youtube "Agshare CoCIS CAES CoVAB." With all the time I spent in this Kingdom adding the fact that it is my ancestral home, I am well acquainted with the native language, cultural traditions, climate and topography and the farming systems in practice. One of the scarce and expensive natural resources (OIL) has been discovered in Hoima District and exploitation efforts are all in place. Population in increasing each single day, week, month and year. This population needs to be fed and most farmers are trying to grow as much as they can to supply to the markets. The most active sector farmers are investing into is the horticultural sector (tomatoes, cabbages, green paper, collards, to mention a few among others). This sector is associated with use of pesticides especially tomatoes yet most farmers lack the knowledge about pesticide usage and handling. If the agricultural sector (farmers) is not closely monitored, consumers (tourists, business people and natives) are at a great risk of consuming foods contaminated with pesticides.

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.

Bunyoro is one of the kingdoms in Western Uganda. The current ruler is Solomon Iguru I, the 27th Omukama (king) of Bunyoro-Kitara with the Royal Palace, called Karuziika Palace located in Hoima. The people of Bunyoro are also known as Nyoro or Banyoro (singular: Munyoro) (Banyoro means “People of Bunyoro”); the language spoken is Nyoro (also known as Runyoro). In the past, the traditional economy revolved around big game hunting of elephants, lions, leopards, and crocodiles. Today, the Banyoro are now agriculturalists who cultivate bananas, millet, cassava, maize, yams, cotton, tobacco, beans, groundnuts, coffee, rice, to mention a few among others. The people are primarily Christian though there is freedom of worship for the natives. The transport system around the towns in mostly a special type of motorcycles locally called "Boda Boda" and taxis. Deep in the villages, most people use bicycles due to their affordability. The Boda Boda business has attracted a great number of youths into towns and most young men look at it as their hope. This is because agriculture is considered a dirty job only meant for the unsuccessful poor people. With government education programs about poverty eradication and improving nutrition health, the trend is beginning to change and most youths are starting to embrace agriculture. The major driver has been due to the discovery of oil which has attracted a large population into the area, setting an increase in food prices. Most youths' success stories are attracting more youths into the agricultural business and the most money rewarding venture has been noticed in horticultural crops (tomatoes, brassica spp, red pepper, green paper and onions). This is because the crops take a short time to mature and they are money rewarding. It is also said that the many tourists and skilled labour (from USA, China and Europe) in the oil sector love to eat vegetables and fruits and their demand has greatly increased. Thanks to the discovery of oil! Farmers now have hopes of demanding for good prices for their agricultural produce.

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

1400000

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

80% percent of farmers in Bunyoro kingdom are subsistent farmers. The system is associated with use of rudimentary tools like hoes, pangas and axes to clear land for crop growing. This is because of lack of enough capital to invest in mechanized agriculture. Once they harvest their produce, the transport means to transport it to market centers is a big challenge. This has created a team of middle men who are the main players in price determination. Middle men take advantage of the hard earned produce by dictating their own prices and since most farmers are unaware if the market information, they just give in and sell their products at the set price. It is the money earned earned that will be used to look after the family and cater for the next planting requirements. The fact that most farmers are switching to horticulture, most of the crops like tomatoes, green paper, onions and cabbages are associated with a number of pests that attack them. This is because most of the farmers grow them in the open field. Therefore, this requires that they set aside money for buying the pesticides. The biggest challenge the farmers buy chemicals basing on recommendations from friends and neighbours who have tried growing the same crop. In this case, a farmer goes to an agro input with the name of the chemical the friend has recommended without any prior knowledge of how the pesticide works and it's handling and application procedures. Once the spraying is done, waste disposal of chemical containers is not strictly followed. Either, the chemical containers are left in the field or just burnt. This poses a great risk to nearby water sources when it rains and chemicals are washed directly into them. the burnt containers also pose a great risk to the atmosphere in terms of emitting dangerous gases of which some highly contribute to global warming. There is also a tendency of farmers applying higher rates of the chemical than the recommended ones thinking that they will completely eradicate the target pest. This poses a problem to useful microbes in the environment and to consumers as well. Some farmers do not follow the post harvest interval and some crops like tomatoes have been seen in markets having chemical residues. Unfortunately, some consumers prefer to buy tomatoes with chemical residues since they have a belief that they have a longer shelf life without thinking of what risk they are likely to cause to their health. It is also unfortunate that there are few efforts from the government to enlighten the people and farmers about the dangers of consuming foods contaminated with pesticides. The entire kingdom has no facilities to help with testing chemical levels of foods that are supplied in the market. If this trend continues, we are likely to have a continued food supply chain that is contaminated with pesticides.

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

As Klit International Limited, the health of the people and the environment matters to us a lot. The healthier the population is, the more productive it is likely to be. All this depends on the source of energy and this all points to the foods they consume. Since the greatest food supply is from farmers, as Klit International Limited, our main point of focus will be directed to equipping farmers with good crop agronomic practices. As for the start, the company will target horticultural farmers. The company will choose demonstration farmers in selected villages per district and form focus group discussions. Farmers will be equipped with knowledge about planning for the planting and harvesting seasons, recommending to them well certified agro input dealers, market information, training them on proper use and handling of pesticides. Farmers will also be taught about the need to conserve the environment and the dangers associated with improper use and handling of pesticides to their health and the environment. Klit International Limited will hold radio and Television sessions to reach to a bigger community in order to sensitize the people about proper use and handling of pesticides. The Company will work hand in hand with the district agricultural and extension officers to help with passing the message across to all farmers in their reach. It is based on this that the company seeks to influence policies in decision making and in this case, the government will be encouraged to allocate more resources on farmer trainings and food monitoring systems.

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.

Something of great concern is there are people who come from countries that have strict food monitoring systems into the kingdom. Due to weak systems and less knowledge the farmers and the public know about food pesticide contamination, they also fall a victim of consuming such foods. If their countries managed to implement such systems, as Klit International Limited have a positive mind that the same can be achieved in this area. Once this is achieved, we expect the public to consume foods free from chemical contamination. We also expect people to take safe drinking water and enjoy breathing air free from air pollution (due to burning chemical containers) since chemical containers will be properly disposed of. Farmers will have full knowledge of proper use and handling of pesticides and this includes strictly following the chemical application rates, wearing PPE, following the right Restricted Entry Intervals (REIs) and Post Harvest Intervals (PHIs). Consumers will be vigilant when choosing the foods from the market (tomatoes with residues will be avoided). Food monitoring systems will be put in place to monitor the food standards in the market. Farmers will avoid being exploited by middle men due to the prior knowledge about the market information from the company.

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

Our beautiful planet Earth is endowed with a number of resources to support itself. It is better to look at the planet at cell level. All the activities that take place right from the nucleus are all aimed at supporting the cell. In the same way, this cell (Earth) has many components that are operating each day that passes by. One of the components is categorized under the animal kingdom and to scale it down, is identified as the Homo sapiens (man). Man, with his great intelligence is the main driver of most of all planet activities going on in the name of satisfying his needs. In the process of producing and consuming commodities, matter and energy are derived from nature, pass through productive processes and get to the consumption stage. A lot of products reach the consumption stage but our main focus will be on food and this is mainly about the farmer-to-market supply chain. There are a number of food supply chains across the globe and the major idea here is to think big, but start small. As Klit International Limited, we have realised that to create a change in the way systems operate, we have to begin right away with the people and communities that are close and well known to us. It is on this note that we decided to choose Bunyoro Kingdom as our starting point as we aim to reach out to more communities. Different farmers in Bunyoro kingdom are engaged in growing different crops among which include starch foods (cassava, maize, sweet potatoes) and proteins like beans and cow peas. Much as this is happening, there are special types of crops (horticultural crops) which can never miss in every household. It is because most of them are used as spices in making sauce and are known to be very nutritious. The horticultural crops commonly used include; tomatoes, onions, cabbages. carrots, green paper, kales, collards, to mention a few among others. Therefore, these crops have a high demand in market centers.This has created a special trading group called the middlemen who have transport means and are well informed about the market prices. Even after the farmers' great effort to produce these crops, they are exploited by middlemen due to lack of market information and transport means to market centers.These crops are grown by most farmers in the open field yet they have many pests that attack them among which include; aphids, caterpillars, whiteflies, thrips, blights, powdery mildew, leaf rusts and so on. If not well checked, pests can cause a great loss to the farmers. It is barely impossible to do away with pesticides when dealing with production of these crops unless one is having a greenhouse, which is capital intensive. It is also unfortunate that most farmers are not well acquainted with the knowledge and skills about proper use and handling of pesticides. Most farmers lack knowledge about Restricted Entry Intervals, Post harvest Interval, strictly following the right chemical application rates, the need to use PPE, how to allocate money on chemicals during dry and wet seasons and best way of disposing chemical wastes. This poses a great risk to the chemical handler's health, the consumers and the entire ecosystem. When we zero down to the ecosystem, when a pesticide is applied at rates higher than the recommended ones, useful and non target organisms are at risk of getting harmed as well. Lowering the chemical rates than the recommended has a danger as well in that we shall have the pest developing resistance and to kill them, it would require using a stronger chemical. A stronger chemical would mean more cost to the farmer to buy it and strong chemicals tend to have more target organisms than the intended ones which is harmful. Failure to follow the post harvest intervals exposes the consumers pesticide consumption. The lack of food monitoring systems to counter check the quality of foods in the market and how they were produced has left a big gap for any kind of food to freely enter the market. As Klit International Limited our concern is if no drastic action is taken, consumers stand a great risk of pesticide contamination. Therefore, we aim to involve different stakeholders (policy makers, politicians volunteers and government representatives) in this food chain system. We believe every individual has a right to access safe drinking water and foods that are free from any kind of contamination, the reason we came up with our vision. For our vision to be achieved, the government has to be involved and support our cause. Therefore, we shall work hand in hand with District agricultural and Extension officials to achieve the following: We shall begin by choosing villages per district where the changes are to be implemented. We shall then form focus group discussion and farmer groups of which we shall elect demonstration farmers to help us with training the rest of the village community members. It is through this that we shall equip farmers with the right knowledge and skills about pesticide use and handling procedures plus the good agronomic practices in raising a healthy crop. The farmers will also be linked to certified agro input dealers to phase out the issue of buying counterfeit pesticides The consumers/public will be sensitized on radio and TV sessions about the dangers of consuming pesticide contaminated foods. The farmers will also be equipped with good and accurate market information to reduce exploitation by middlemen. The government needs to allocate more resources to monitoring food systems in the market to ascertain the required market standards.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

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Photo of Innocent Kirungi
Team

KLIT International Ltd, @Village Development Center (VDC), Am very much humbled. The world begins with us and it is our responsibility to save the planet.
Etyang Tiberious @Salvation Farming solutions, I very much enjoyed your webinar. Thank you for organizing such an informative discussion.

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