Promoting women through agriculture

Market access for farmer families in Uganda

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Even though they work hard, most farming families in the Kayunga District live in near poverty. Life is particularly hard for women who also have little say in what happens. Worried by the loss of soil fertility and the poisoning of farm animals by agrochemicals, women farmers turned to the local Rural Women Development Association (RWDA), which campaigns for environmentally sound and socially responsible agriculture and the rights of women and girls.

The RWDA gives support to women in particular but it also supports male farmers. It trains them in ecological farming methods and equips them with the skills they need to develop new sources of income. This includes composting to regenerate leached soils and biological methods to protect field crops from plant diseases. RWDA also draws on information from the Biovision Farmer Communication Programme, which it translates and then distributes.

In addition, the project helps participants gain better access to markets for their produce. Farmers are trained by two of the partners (RUSBA and Shatwa Mixed Farm) in cultivation methods and the use of drying processes (only RUSBA) to process their produce. Both partners also buy the produce and this gives the farmers access to markets.

Women and girls in the Kayunga District of Uganda have a hard life. Despite their hard work, they often live in near poverty on small family farms.

Development Goal

To improve the food security, health and incomes of rural communities in the Kayunga District of Uganda by disseminating knowledge on ecological agriculture and its application.

Relevance

By avoiding artificial fertilisers and chemical pesticides, the Kayunga farmers can reduce the pressure on the environment and save money. They increase their crop yields and so improve food security. By selling surplus products, they also earn an income. This is of particular benefit to the women as it improves their self-confidence and their position in society.

Beneficiaries

A total of 800 small-scale farmers are benefiting directly from training in ecological farming methods. Some 400 farmers are receiving support in accessing markets for their products.

Objectives 2015 - 2017

  • Encourage ecological farming as an environmentally-friendly alternative by educating and training farmers 
  • Improve the economic wellbeing of farmers by improving access to markets for their products.
  • Develop a sustainable organisational structure to ensure an effective legacy after completion of the project

Achievements

A total of 800 farmers have been trained in ecological methods of farming. Farmer groups have established a management committee and a marketing committee. 10 members of the marketing committee have been trained as trainers and farmers have also been provided with the required seeds.

Additional information

In Kayunga, it is often women and girls who do the work in the fields and yet in most cases, they have no right to be consulted or share in the decision-making process. Their existence is often precarious. RWDA is providing farming advice and so opening doors. In this way, the women can institute a process of change.