Our team with local farmers at a New Nursery Site
We are grateful as always to share with you the latest updates from Organic Perspectives’ community work with rural smallholder farmers in Kamuli and Buyende—Eastern Uganda.
First, as a quick reminder, our overall project activities are in 3 main categories: agroforestry, alternative household energy and organic agriculture.
Of the three components, tree planting is the easiest we are usually able to sustain—even during times when our capacity is essentially limited.
The third component (i.e. organic farming), for its part, has literally never been undertaken as a separate project, certainly due to limited resources. Instead, what we do is train farmers on how they can use various nitrogen fixing tree species as green manure for soil enhancement (under agroforestry); make organic pesticides using residual bioslurry from biodigesters (under our alternative household energy work) etc.
Looking back, however, there is generally a lot of knowledge and skills we have passed onto local farmers on organic farming (though never undertaken it exclusively as an independent project). In particular, our colleague ‘Moses Baleese’ has participated in several capacity building training workshops by Heifer International Uganda on the use of the digester bioslurry and other waste materials in organic farming systems, as well as livestock and poultry feeds—and he has been quite keen to share his experiences with farmers during our outreaches, at times through one-on-one guidance in their gardens!
On the alternative household energy component (which presently includes the installation of fixed dome household biogas digesters and dissemination of improved woodstoves), our work has generally slowed over the last 10 months. This is mainly because our key partner Heifer International Uganda that helps cover most of the (biodigester) plant installation costs is ending the first phase of their national biogas program (funded by SNV/HIVOS) this year. So subsidies had to fade towards the end.
They are definitely going to have a second phase, however, and that’s perhaps when we will regain our pace. The more outreaches we do on signing up biogas households are also what concurrently catalyze the dissemination of our improved (fuel-efficient woodstoves), as this often comes up as an alternative for households that don’t have cattle or can’t afford the cost for a biogas plant.
Our latest project updates are in 2 areas: our alternative household energy work and the agroforestry project.
1) ALTERNATIVE HOUSEHOLD ENERGY: though we have mentioned above that our activities in this area have literally slowed down, we have also steadily explored numerous partnerships over the last couple of months to extend/expand our work.
Organic Perspectives has been a Partner (see here) of the UN Foundation’s Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC) since 2010—a network via which we are in touch with all latest developments in the global clean cooking industry—as well as organizations doing the same work locally and internationally.
The GACC initiated its Ugandan National Chapter (called UNACC) last year, after a Regional Stakeholder Consultation Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya which was attended by Anthony Kalulu from Organic Perspectives (though sponsorship by the GACC).
To date, a series of country-level actions plans have been laid down, and this is one of the key partnerships we anticipate enabling us to further our work on alternative household energy in general. The latest UNACC meeting in Entebbe, Uganda has been running this week (22 – 23, Oct 2013) and our team was represented by Moses Baleese.
2) AGROFORESTRY: In the last 5 months, three of our newest community agroforestry centers established this year have had the best work at their sites; a nursery by students and local women at Kamuli Vocational College (although their seedlings haven’t been transplanted yet); a site in Kanagage (that we usually call the District Forestry Officer’s community nursery—as it is in his village and partly supported by him) and a community nursery where the picture shown here was taken 4 months ago.
We have not been able to capture new photos lately (due to a faulty camera that was provided to us by our colleagues at Trees for the Future), but the community site where the above photo was taken has probably been the most successful; very many farmers from their village planted over 45,000 trees altogether and a huge volume of seedlings is still available. The District Forestry Officer’s nursery has also given out at least 30,000 saplings to local people.
Besides, our team (with Mathius of Trees for the Future - Uganda) has also directly provided large quantities of tree seed itself (for those who want to raise seedlings themselves) to many individuals and groups in the last few months.
We are grateful for sharing our latest news with you--and greatly appreciate your support for Organic Perspectives!