December Story 2017: Kayunga, Uganda

New beginning

During the final project visit to the project “Promoting women through agriculture” a new member joined the group of organic farmers unexpectedly.

Article and photos by Meng Tian, Communication & online editorial Biovision

Even though you may want to visit every farmer group during a project trip, there is often too little time. So it was that during the final visit to the Rural Women Development Association in Kayunga, Uganda, project officer Loredana Sorg and I arrived for our scheduled visit at the farm of group member Jusef Lugendo. We were delighted to see the crop variety and the healthy fruit harvest but most of all his 100% belief in ecological farming and his commitment to spreading it throughout his community. He took us on a guided tour of his farm and explained in detail how he always seeks an integrated approach to farming; he produces his own fertiliser and in the middle of the farm he has even planted a small area of woodland that includes medicinal plants. Not only him and his family can enjoy the taste of his organic mangoes but also neighbours and visitors

In future, the 29-year old wants to earn an income from farming.
Simon Ojambo, the head of RWDA listens attentively to the possible new recruit to the group
Until now, Abas has only grown bananas and plantains on a large scale
Carrying three passengers is a doddle – Abas, the driver has even chauffeured five people on his motorbike.
A small parcel of woodland on one’s own land is an unusual luxury.
Producing your own fertiliser is a must.
The work is bearing fruit: Jusef’s children learn the principles of organic agriculture at an early age.

An unexpected new member
As is usual in the area, we were taken around by motorbike and so our driver Abas Mutebi joined us for the tour of inspection. He said absolutely nothing during the entire tour but when he tried Jusef’s mangoes, he told us that he was also a farmer. He said that he knew nothing about the “Rural Women Development Association” (RWDA) but that he would be interested in finding out more about ecological farming and possibly even joining the group. Simon Ojambo, the group leader immediately changed the programme and the following day we arrived at the young motorcyclist’s farm.

Until now, the 29-year old had only grown pineapples and plantains on his large plot. He urgently needed help with composting and accessing markets for his produce. The young man has big plans and is looking forward with confidence to the future: “In two years’ time I should like to be keeping animals on the farm and earn a good income from my work as a farmer”. Jusef and Simon listened attentively and provided a few initial tips about regular composting. With the support of RWDA, there is no doubt that Abas will have what he needs to achieve his aims.

Biovision supported the project from 2010 to 2017. RWDA, the local group is now independent and continues its work. More on this