For those of you who do not have a firsthand experience of what the current climate/environmental situation is in Uganda, the following statistics will be super helpful:★ The agricultural sector, which includes crop and livestock production, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, is a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. ★ According to estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 2016, emissions from the agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sector directly accounted for 22% of total global emission in 2010. In this regard, we have devised an action plan in light of this situation in Uganda to help marginalized communities who are mostly dependent on agriculture: ★ At Wilmat Development Foundation, we identified Smart Organic Farming as a way to Empower Communities with relevant crucial skills and involve them in various Agricultural Initiatives with the goal of reducing the level of socio-economic vulnerability in Ugandan communities. We intend to explore the opportunities available to communities across the country so that they can leverage these opportunities and contribute to the development of their families and the nation, overall. ★ This initiative also aims at supporting the aspects of economic empowerment and agricultural skill-development, including hands-on knowledge about the various aspects of the agricultural value chain, specifics about value-addition and building agribusiness capacity. ★ Together, we aim to apply this initiative and spread its reach to achieve the United Nations SDG 1 & 2 by 2030.
Through this programme, WDF aims at reaching out to the rural farming communities in Uganda. A few ways we plan to enable this are:
● By enlightening them about the modern Smart Organic Farming techniques.
● By enabling them to incorporate these methods into their traditional farming methods.
● By helping them increase efficiency in the use of natural resources and other agricultural input through education and skill development.
We are currently piloting this program in the rural communities of Mayuge District of Eastern Uganda and Kasese District of Western Uganda, and hope to spread in other communities over time. The community in Mayuge is dependent on sugarcane growing, while Kasese inhabitants also form a cash crop-growing community.
Our fellow Country people in both these communities depend solely on Agriculture for their livelihood, and our initiative of rural smart organic farming will help them sustain their livelihood better.
They have been able to keep themselves active and productive by supplying nutritious farm products to other members hence generating extra incomes and improving their livelihoods concurrently.
We also implement Urban Organic Smart Farming techniques such as backyard farming, vertical gardening, use of natural fertilizers, step farming, among others as a way to promote vegetable production and consumption among urban centers that are characterized with limited space for farming.
The decision to involve urban communities comes from the recognition of the fact that underprivileged communities dwell as much in cities as in rural areas, and the communities living in urban slums have limited options to generate income. If they turn to agriculture, they have limited space to do so, and our initiative will help them sustain their agricultural livelihood by suggesting techniques to farm on small areas.
This is currently being piloted within the informal settlements (slums) of Kampala, as a way to improve on the income-generating activities of urban dwellers who have limited space to grow vegetables on a large scale.
● Another pilot project initiated was the Poultry farming venture specifically in rearing the Saso Chicken type that is resilient to climate change and gives high quality yields, egg production and meat production within a period of 3-4 months. This was introduced to at least 10 farmer groups each with 30 members making a total of 300 members into Poultry farming.
● To increase agricultural productivity and the incomes of agricultural producers in a sustainable manner.
● To Strengthen the capacities of Agricultural communities to adopt better CSA Practices.
● Scaling up Climate Smart Agriculture to achieve the needed transformations in agricultural production systems and food security as a way to create a supportive enabling environment for change.
This initiative looks at youth and women as the key target beneficiaries. It should be noted here that only 49.8% of youths (who make up 75% of the total population in Uganda) are involved in the agricultural value chain.
● During the untimely lockdown in Uganda, we managed to establish new innovative projects of Mushroom growing and Poultry Farming as a way to keep our beneficiaries safe and productive amidst the tough times of Covid-19 pandemic.
● With the introduction of a new innovative project of Mushroom growing specifically Oyster species, we managed to reach out to our 5 (Five) Farmer groups each with 30 members making a total of 150 beneficiaries participating in Mushroom growing project during the lockdown season.