Project Title: Improving food access, income and general livelihoods for rural farmers and beyond!
Our Mission: A community where rural farmers enjoy food security, general livelihood and development.
Our Vision: To Improve food access, income and general livelihood for rural farmers in and about Uganda.
Aim: To ensure sustainable rural livelihoods for rural farmers through; sensitizing rural farmers on improved farming methods, encouraging group formation and knowledge sharing while ensuring environmental integrity.
What is the issue, problem or challenge?
Uganda's economy widely depends on the agricultural sector. Over 85% of the estimated 32 Million Uganda’s total population live in the rural areas and depend mainly on Agriculture. Most of the agricultural activities take place in the rural areas. With that fact, it only right to say that, Uganda’s food production base is widely dependent on the rural farmers.
Because families practice subsistence agriculture on small plots of land, their target is to produce enough food to feed their families until the next harvest. In many cases they fall short of their target. Often, the yields are not enough to feed the family until the next harvest leading to food shortages in homes. This has greatly been attributed to the poor farming methods (many farmers have chosen to remain local - NO diversity in their farming methods), prolonged droughts, pests and diseases. Since agriculture is the source of income, food and general livelihood for these rural farmers, under circumstances, they are faced with situations where they have to sell part of their produce to cater for emerging [basic] needs - access health facilities, pay for school fees, rent, and provide for their families – worsening food shortages.
How this project will solve the above problem?
Sensitize and enlighten the rural farmers about changing their mind set as regards improved farming methods to ensure sustainable rural livelihoods while ensuring environmental integrity. This will be done by volunteers who go out in the field to train farmers down to the "grass roots”, peer groups, training of trainers, exchange visits to demonstration farms, also through agricultural organizations.
Together with Sanyu Ly'amaka Women's Group, we shall work closely with the rural farmers both in groups and on individuals basis to uplift their farming skills and standards to better their livelihood.
We shall encourage the youth to participate in the project, assume roles in the project, use the resource centre for their information needs and attend our trainings. This opportunity will enable youth empowerment socially and economically as they will now have a chance to participate on the same platform to contribute to improve their livelihoods. We believe that by doing so, the food security base will shift from being supported by the elderly, to being supported by the youth who are more energetic, flexible and open to change.
1. The land on which a demonstration farm is to be set up will be donated by the farmers (3 of them have already promised to donate the land). We shall ensure that the demonstration farm trains more trainers from different areas around the district to ensure that the skills are dispersed widely such that the project benefits people beyond the targeted community as well - training of trainers. Knowledge and skills sharing is one of our core values.
2. There will be a monitoring and evaluation exercise every three months. The evaluation will look at how the demonstration farms are working with the farmers to sensitize them and work as a learning centre, the general assessment of food access and rural livelihoods for the rural farmers – in terms of quality of diets and quantity. We shall also assess our modes of information and skills sharing see how best to improve them to increase on the rural outreach and to extend the benefits of the project to those that need it the most.
3. Even though the project will look at promoting entrepreneurship, we shall encourage the farmers to start by growing enough food for their families. This will help to improve on food access in the families. On a side by side basis, we shall encourage farmers to produce as much as they can to promote the entrepreneurship aspect such that they can sell the surplus to earn a living to cater for their basic needs.
4. Farmers will be encouraged to work in groups to reinvent the spirit of cooperative farming with its unsung advantages. Youth and women participation and membership will be specifically encouraged.
5. We shall create connections and affiliate the farmer groups in our reach/ project with other non-profit organizations working in the field of agriculture both local and international.
Why this project will succeed over similar projects or where others have failed?
This project will succeed because we are going to start by breaking both institutional and cultural barriers that stop women and the youth from benefiting from general agriculture funding. We are going to achieve this through sensitizing our members about the gender issues. With the increased global advocacy for women emancipation, women’s incomes have improved. Women tend to invest more in education, nutrition and health of their families improving on the general livelihoods of rural communities. This is why our project particularly encourages women farmers and the youth to get on board.
The beauty of our project is that it seeks to sensitize the farmers about ecology, economy and social concerns of agriculture in development as a sustainable approach starting with rural livelihoods inspired by the global food security.
The project will succeed because it has clearly identified the needs of the farmers both the function, and the non functional. Right from information to the problems and identified the solutions for each of the problems as well as devising localized means of information sharing among the rural farmers.
This project will succeed because it promotes solidarity among farmers. Solidarity is not a new idea, but indigenous. Our ancestors had this spirit and for some reason, it was eroded! Now, we are reinventing it, with more advantages for the rural farmers to enjoy the economies of scale. Of course here I have to mention increased bargaining power, more advocacy to stop land grabs through secure land rights.
This project is going to succeed because it covers the gender gap between rural farmers. We are engineering a more gender sensitive approach to seek solutions to issues like seed security. In Africa, women have proved to be in a better position to ensure seed and food security. Often, the women are the ones who preserve the seeds for planting the next season. And they are also the ones who sow, weed and harvest in most cases. Our project therefore specifically encourages women participation.
Many projects have dictated on what the farmers should grow – often cash crops. This project is going to encourage the farmers to grow food crops for the start to ensure that the farmers ensure food security in their homes before they start producing on a larger scale. Many farmers grow cash crops which usually take too long to grow and ignore the food crops; this makes them spend a lot of money on food. And because of the immense poverty, some cannot even afford the food.
This project will succeed because the bulk produce of the farmers enabling them to tap into the nearest markets they have in their reach; this will enable them to supply food crops to schools, hospitals in their communities and beyond. Farmers waste a lot of their time trying to break into external markets and ignore the nearest markets which would even cut on their costs of production through reduced costs of transportation.
Our Partnerships todate:
* Sanyu Ly’amaka Farmers Group – in Masaka, Uganda (Our Affiliate)
* The World Bank Institute (Gave us $1000 – seed funding through Urgent Evoke) : www.worldbank.org
* Our Farm Network:
* Gardens of Gratitude: www.gardensofgratitude.org
* Global Giving (Online Fundraising for our Project) – http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/improve-livelihood-for-1700rural-farmers-in-uganda/