YAP proposal #73: Community gardening to restablish social structures (Andrew Auruku, Uganda)

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Andrew Auruku is a Ugandan National aged 38 years. My city is Kampala and I live in Serere, the Eastern District of Teso. I’m an agripreneur and I have extensive farming capabilities in my community. I have initiated this project where I have trained and identified the needy farmers, I have done a community needs assessment and baseline to identify the challenges.

This project has been developed as an outcome of a consultative process, which continuously involved Andrew Auruku and MARPS/PHAs engaging with the communities and listening to the community as well as assessing some of their most pressing needs.The farmers were identified through extensive consultations with key stakeholders and MARP communities in Kateta SC in Serere.

The findings were as follows (i) Low crop production as a result of: low acreages opened due to loss of oxen for draught power, limited access to farm land, limited access to high quality yielding and fast maturing seeds that are drought tolerant and mature fast, lack of high quality planting material and other agricultural inputs [Oxen, ox-ploughs, Hand hoes, fertilizers]; soil deterioration; changing and unpredictable rain pattern/climate change; poor farming practices; increased incidence of pests and diseases especially the Mosaic virus destroying the main staple crop .i.e. cassava; gender disparities in control of production resources (land, hired labour, high quality seeds),

(ii) Poor post harvest handling especially during transportation, processing and storage have led to loss in quality and quantity of crops produced.

As a result, I seek to implement a project of increasing crop value chain to improve the economic and food security for MARPS in Kateta SC using community gardens model of community shared involvement: group rotation, participation by use of traditional systems of sharing community/group, land digging using oxen, gardening, planting, spraying, application of fertilizers, weeding, harvesting, post-harvesting handling, good storage, marketing, saving, seed multiplication and banking as a group.

This would take place in the communities in the 8 parishes of Kateta Sub-county. It would increase community crop production and also re-establish the social structure that aws destroyed by insecurity and displacement. These social structures’ used to be a safety net during times of need and it benefits identified MARPS in parish level CBO’s Kateta S/C,

Needs assessments based on socio-economic backgrounds

The effects of climate change are evident in Uganda mainly in the increasing extreme weather and climate events occurring with increasing frequency. This is connected to the El nino weather phenomenon, which caused a variety of extreme conditions in East Africa. On one hand, it causes unexpected massive rainfall and floods, and on the other side longer and more frequent dry periods and droughts. Between 2007 and 2009 there was unusually strong and massive rainfall, triggering a disaster that was resolved by international aid.

Agriculture is the mainstay of Uganda’s economy, accounting for a significant share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – 85 percent of export earnings, 73 percent of total employment, and the bulk of raw materials used by the mainly agricultural-based industrial sector.

80% of the population, estimated to be 35 million, live in the rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Much of Uganda’s agriculture is rain-fed and vulnerable to climate change. Rising temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns are already being observed and projections indicate that these changes are likely to continue, impacting crop growth and viability, pest prevalence, soil moisture, post-harvest losses, transport and other aspects of Uganda’s agricultural value chains. Uganda’s National Development Plan, 2010–2015 (NDP) emphasizes the restoration of agricultural growth as the engine for employment creation, poverty reduction and industrialization. The NDP also recognizes climate change adaptation as critical to enhancing sustainable economic and social development in regards to food security and nutrition.

The use of agro-inputs, such as improved seeds that are drought tolerant and mature fast, fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides, has the ability to significantly increase agricultural yields. However, the effective and efficient use of agro-inputs remains limited in Africa, more generally, and in Uganda, in particular. Africa uses only 9kg/ha of nutrients compared with 73 kg/ha in Latin America and 100-135 kg/ha in Asia. Uganda has one of the lowest uses of nutrients in Africa. Counterfeit inputs especially seeds and fertilizers are widespread in Uganda, by some estimates, up to 30 percent of the market, leading to a lack of faith in inputs and supplies.

Falsification takes place at a number of levels, from large-scale importation of mis-labelled or low quality products, to micro-level watering down of chemicals. This is true for all manner of agro-inputs: seeds, which can be dyed to give the same appearance as commercial seed dressing; pesticides and herbicides, which are often mislabelled or watered down; and fertilizers, often adulterated and sold to smallholders in unlabeled plastic bags.

Requested items (outputs), together with expected outcomes and other impacts through the project

The overall objective of this action is to achieve a sustainable rural development and agricultural growth in Kateta SC with specific objectives of improving the level of economic, food security and living standard of PHA-farmers in Kateta SC.

The farmers that are based in Kateta communities will be offered trainings, mobilization, and aggregation, market linkage, capacity building, group formation, and recruitment of intermediary agents, facilitating access to high quality yielding seeds and Agro-Inputs and fertilizers and sensitization to capacity building of small holder farmers.

Specifically, the project aims at achieving the following;

1. To improve the level of food security and living standards of MARP farmers in Kateta by a quantitative and qualitative increase in crop production
2. To increase agricultural production and income of MARP farmers to reduce food dependency,
3 To support the structuring of MARP farmers and their integration into the crop value chain and strengthen marketing capacity of producers through the establishment of public-private partnerships.

The project has the following Key Result Areas;
1. The productivity of crop production has been improved by conducting trainings on new crop varieties, aspects of quality and quantity and the efficient use of conducive technology and inputs.
2. MARP farmer’s producer groups have been organized and strengthened in terms of organizational development, access to savings and credit facilities and marketing,
3. Market linkages are strengthened in close collaboration with the local private sector and the producer groups.
4. Market linkages are strengthened by capacity building of local input and service providers along the crop production value chain.

Results

1. The productivity of the crops has been improved by conducting trainings on new crop varieties, aspects of quality and quantity and the efficient use of conducive technology and inputs.
2. Crop/MARP producer groups have been organized and strengthened in terms of organizational development, access to savings and credit facilities and marketing, 3. Market linkages are strengthened in close collaboration with the local private sector and the producer groups.
4. Market linkages are strengthened by capacity building of local input and service providers along the crops value chain.

Activity 1: Improving the productivity of the crops for MARPS-

A.1.1 Rapid appraisal of crop cultivation practices,
A.1.2 Identification and introduction of new crop/seed varieties and technologies including soil and water conservation practices,
A.1.3 Training of MARP farmers on best crop production and postharvest handling practices,
A.1.4
Economic analyses of alternative cultivation practices

Activity 2: Capacity building of MARP farmers associations, nucleus farmers and credit groups,

A.2.1 Identification and mobilization of groups and farmers,
A.2.2 Strengthen the technical and organizational capacity of MARP farmer groups and nucleus MARP farmers,
A.2.3 Identification, formation and training of village level credit groups,
A.2.4 Improving access to seed, fertilizers and other Agricultural inputs,
A.2.5 Support communities for contingency plans preparation,

Activity 3: Introducing out-growers schemes

A.3.1 Develop and test contract templates for the relationships intermediary agent and nucleus farmer, nucleus farmers and out-growers, nucleus farmers and input providers, A.3.2 Assist nucleus farmers with the development of business plans through workshops and individual counseling,
A.3.3
Facilitate access to short-term credit for input delivery and long-term credit for equipment

Activity 4: Strengthening private sector partners

A.4.1 Broker contract discussion between agro-processors, agro-dealers and/or whole sale traders /intermediary purchasing agents and producers associations in order to identify long-term contract mechanisms between actors in the new crop varieties supply chain , A.4.2 Assist agro-dealers and intermediary buying agents in developing business plans and facilitate access to credit,
A.4.3 Introduce warehouse receipt procedures. The project will employ both conventional and participatory monitoring approaches. Community participation in the monitoring of project activities will be crucial to community ownership of the project as well as ensuring that indicators developed are realistic and contextually appropriate. Monitoring will be carried out at two levels.

Budget

6 Bulls and 3 Oxploughs =2,000$
High Yielding and fast maturing Seeds of [Ground nuts, Sorghum, Millets, Maize, Cassava, Beans] =2,000$
350 Hand Hoes=800$
Fertilizers=400$
Training Small Holder Farmers=500$
Pesticides and Hand Spray=300$

Blogpost and picture submitted by Andrew Auruku (Uganda) – a.auruku[at]gmail.com

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.


This post is published as proposal #73 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

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