The Power of Working Together
On 1st April 2023, we started a 3 year long project with our partner VAD in Akulonyo and Aturai Villages in the Kapelebyong District, Uganda. The project helps establish farmer groups and supports them to work together for the benefit of the whole community. The project builds upon the work we’ve already been doing with farmers in the Kapelebyong District.
The aim of the project is to increase income and food security for 250 vulnerable households in the area through supporting local farmers.
Extreme Poverty and Food Insecurity
Poverty, food security and environmental degradation are major concerns for those living in Kapelebyong District, Uganda. Over 1 in 3 people in Uganda live in extreme poverty. This number is higher in Kapelebyong District where over 1 in 2 people live on less than £1.53 a day.
Households in the area rely on growing food to feed their families, with the majority only eating one meal a day. The common crops grown by the majority of farmers in Aturai and Akulunyo are food crops (banana, cassava, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes), cereals (maize, millet, rice and sorghum) and legumes (beans, green gram, ground nuts and cowpeas).
Climate Change and other Challenges
Furthermore, farmers face challenges of on-going cycles of conflict, unpredictable weather patterns due to climate change and under investment from central government.
Last planting season, farmers in Aturai and Akulunyo villages were provided with cassava cuttings which the farmers planted. Cassava, a root vegetable similar to a sweet potato, is the main crop across Subsaharan Africa. Once maturing, it is fairly robust crop and can be left in the ground for a few years until needed. However in the early stages of growth, the cuttings are very vulnerable. Due to failed rains, boardering on drought conditions, the cassava cuttings dried up in the gardens. Devestatingly, this left 30% of farmers with nothing to harvest and 70% were highly affected by unpredictable weather patterns.
Overcoming Challenges through Working Together
Despite these challenges, working with farmers in organised groups has proven successful. Trainings accompanied by constant follow ups equipped the farmers with knowledge and support. Revolving loans brought the groups together and they worked hard as a team to improve livelihoods.
A total of 125 farmers reported having improved diet and having two meals a day (75 in Akulonyo and 50 in Aturai Villages) and over 95 indirect households. This further enabled their families to live a healthier life and have enough food at home.
Another 250 farmers trained over the next 3 years
The project focuses on the same area of Aturai and Akulunyo but is working with different farmers. So far, 7 farmer groups (25 members each) have been trained in group formation, dynamics and development. And a further 4 of the 7 groups have been trained in Post Harvest Handling, an essential part of improving food insecurity.
Through these trainings and with the farmers working together, we believe they will more resilient and equipped to face any challenges ahead.
Learn more about our Sustainable Livelihoods projects here.
Photos from our previous project with farmer groups in Aturai and Akulonyo
Photos by Liam Johnston from Man Alive Studios