Food security: Training rural farmers in improved farming practices
Food security is a huge concern for thousands of people in Africa, and actually for millions around the world. With the mess of climate change, lives are threatened especially our people in rural communities whose lives are entirely dependent on agriculture for food and as well as economic progress. In Uganda, over 80% of the populations is employed in the agriculture sector. For the past several months, most parts of Uganda have experienced prolonged droughts which drastically affected the produce from the previous season. Farmers saw their crops fail which meant low food supply and less income for their families. Many families have struggled to feed their families and failed to send their children to school. It’s scary.
URF is making efforts to help farmers through various strategies such as agriculture trainings. On the weekend of Sept 19th, URF organized a farmers’ workshop which introduced awareness of improved farming practices and practical advice on how the farmers can deal with changing rainfall parterns. Irrigation doesn’t seem to be a viable option for most Ugandan communities; how one get water to water crops when they are struggling to find water for drinking and domestic use. The workshop also addressed issue markets and new technologies that make agricultural information accessible to farmers in rural areas via cell phone and the Internet. URF is researching some of these technologies that will be soon introduced to our farmers. There is also some genetically improved crops breeds that could be more resistant to rough seasonal changes and with potential for higher yields on small plots.
Additionally, URF also provides seed loans to farmers who may not have seeds to plant due to crop failure in the previous season. At harvest they have to return a certain percentage of their produce to URF to pass to another farmer in the following season. We are assisting child-headed families to plant small vegetable gardens that are manageable and would help improve the kids’ nutrition.
We would like to acquire a Tractor which would be useful for the community; farmer can rent and use to plough their fields. With hand hoes you can’t really cultivate bigger plots. In the old days you could get people to work for you but now it’s difficult to find people looking for farm work. So families are limited by what they can manage to cultivate and maintain– it comes down how able-bodied one i
digging in a very dry field
s and often having to work long hours in the sun — and if you are not eating well, you can be productive with manual labour. I grew up digging and understand how all this dymanics works — this what my family lived on. I have heard about tillers but not sure they are readily available in Uganda.