Over the next 3 years, emerge poverty free will be working with 900 farmers in rural Uganda to help them turn their small plots of land into profitable farming businesses which are able to support their families food and health needs. This project has been funded by Comic Relief from 2017-2020.
This project is based in the rural district of Kyankwanzi where the number of people living in poverty stands at nearly double the national average at 38%. Only 52% of the district has access to clean water and many families are unable to afford the costs of sending their children to school.
The majority of our farmers are women, running low asset households, with inheritance laws ensuring they have no control over their land. This means they can only grow seasonal crops on rented land with high costs and no local clean safe water. Much valuable time is spent collecting clean water. Without support these families will continue to miss meals, engage in low rate casual employment and their children will continue to miss out on an education through lack of essential funds.
The majority are women caring for at least four vulnerable children who grow food crops to feed their family, only occasionally selling a surplus. Vulnerable to floods and droughts, our farmers have no saving or insurance which will help their families to survive a poor harvest. Lack of market information, combined with low levels of numeracy, leaves them little room to negotiate crop selling prices and low income each season compounds the lack of investment in the following harvest.
This project will transform 900 individual subsistence farmers into an empowered community of self sufficient agribusiness owners. Stronger together, trained farmers & their families will experience increased income & standards of living. 3,600 children, of Kyankwanzi, who currently live in poverty with little access to education or medical care, will benefit from a stable source of income & food.
Training in climate resilient agricultural practices, crop diversification and purchase of improved seeds will all help farmers improve their agricultural practices and crop yields. A revolving loan fund will enable farmers to purchase equipment needed to undertake this work, or to rent land to expand their farms. Trained Agricultural Officers from ARUWE and Community Agricultural Trainers (volunteer farmers) will support farmers to implement the skills they’ve learnt.
Farmers will be trained in post harvest handling techniques and have access to machinery which will help process and package their crops. Farmers then have access to a collective storage facility where they can safely store their surplus crops until sale.
Diversifying crops grown ensures that families have a more varied diet and a decreased reliance on one crop. In addition, profits from the sale of any surplus crops can be used to purchase other food items and ensure that all family members eat regular meals and get a nutritionally balanced diet.
During the course of this project 800 women farmers will be empowered to participate in, or manage, household discussions on savings and family expenditure. Results from our pilot project indicate that women then invest profits into improving their homes, providing a regular and balanced diet for family members and education for children. As women’s confidence increases they also take a more active role in community and cooperative groups, with one women from the pilot running to be a district councillor, representing women in her area.