THE PLIGHT OF AFRICA’S GRASS ROOT FARMERS: DEMONSTRATION FARMS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

THE PLIGHT OF AFRICA’S GRASS ROOT FARMERS: DEMONSTRATION FARMS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

BY: MOSES HATEGEKA

African economies are agricultural based, with majority of its people engaged in agriculture both for basic and food sustenance, living in rural areas. Millions of grass root farmers in this continent live in hard to reach areas, where infrastructural facilities such as good roads, clean water, health facilities and power, are absent.

I have been to various African countries and am on compassionate ground, always working with grass root farmers deep down in their localities, teaching them application of agricultural best practices and agribusiness skills, I have observed and noted that, one common problem/challenge that these grass root farmers are faced with, is that, they have totally been left behind in adoption of new agricultural technologies and usage of evolving methods of increasing production. They still use traditional tools such as hand hoes, pangas, etc., which cannot and are not enabling them, to properly till their lands on a much bigger scale they would have wished to like in case they had tractors.

Millions and thousands of these grass root farmers lack knowledge and skills in proper land preparation techniques, how to properly store seeds for planting in the next season, how to properly plant crops, how to improve fertility of their lands, how to control soil erosion and how to control pests and diseases, which is making it so hard, for them to produce enough food they wish to, for their proper survival. In many communities, farmers still largely traditionally practice growing of one type of crop like maize, cassava, bananas, sweet potatoes, etc., year in and out and this has contributed and is contributing to loss of fertility of their lands, which in turn, is resulting into low crop yields and because of this, many farmers are increasingly find it hard to sustainably feed their families. In fact, many of the households, survives on one meal a day and only takes plain porridge and in some cases water, as their supper before going to sleep. Sleeping hungry is very common in many of these farmers’ homesteads. Their children are malnourished because of lack of balance diet and this is severely stunting their normal growth.

All these problems/challenges, can greatly be overcome, by establishing a well/fully built demonstration/teaching farm/s in grass root farmers’ areas and in this case in Uganda, which is a country found in East African region that is comprised of five countries, namely, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi.

When the demonstration/teaching farm/s, is/are established, grass root farmers’ groups, from various parts of the country and in the region, will always be hosted and practically be trained, in the application of appropriate agricultural technology and in the application of suitable practices as evidenced from the teaching farm. They will then be routinely followed up and guided by the skilled team from the teaching farm, on how best to apply the knowledge and skills gained from these trainings.

These demonstration/teaching farms, will also be used, for researching purposes, from where the researched information about improved agricultural technologies and farming methods, will always be disseminated, to the grass root farmers’ in an appropriate time. This will tremendously help in sustainably improving the farmers’ yields which ultimately, will enable them in overcoming hunger and poverty in their homesteads. I strongly believe that continuous grass root farmer’s trainings, is an assured and clear channel way of enabling grass root farmers in achieving sustainability of high yields. The farmers I have personally trained in embracing application of improved farming methods and agribusiness have harvested three times higher yields than they used to before the training. With teaching farms in place, the yields will even be higher than that and on a bigger scale since many farmers will be covered on a continuous basis

The establishment of a fully established teaching farm including the purchase of the land (120 hectares of land) where the farm is to be established, hiring of two tractors, purchase of various irrigation tools, fertilizer application, labor, professional fee, purchase of various seeds and seedlings, pests and disease control as well as routine farm management and maintenance will cost approximately, $120,000 (US DOLLARS).

In sum, grass root farmers in Uganda and Africa at large, are always eager and wiling to learn when given an opportunity. The establishment of a teaching farm(s) targeting to benefit them will be a blessing to them and will sustainably transform their lives in regard to overcoming hunger and poverty in their homes.

 

 

 

 

MOSES HATEGEKA, is a practicing farmer with a mission compassionate of where resources allows, to always help grass root farmers in Africa, to adopt new agricultural technologies and usage of evolving methods of increasing production. He is also a Ugandan based independent governance researcher, public affairs analyst and writer.

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DAIRY GOAT BREEDING CENTER: AN EXCELLENT INITIATIVE THAT CAN SUSTAINABLY TRANSFORM GRASS ROOT FARMERS LIVES

DAIRY GOAT BREEDING CENTER: AN EXCELLENT INITIATIVE THAT CAN SUSTAINABLY TRANSFORM GRASS ROOT FARMERS LIVES

BY: MOSES HATEGEKA

Millions and tens of thousands of grass root farmers’ families in  Uganda and Africa at large, are living below poverty line, surviving on less than one dollar ($1) a day and are trapped in chronic poverty circle, with many of them possessing very little hope of to one day be better. Many of their children are malnourished and suffering from various forms of diseases like kwashakor, persistent fever, memory lapses, etc., as they are not able to feed on balanced diet, which their bodies needs to function properly. Majority of grass root farmers cannot afford decent accommodation later alone to properly educate their children.

These people thus needs special programs from people/organizations of good will, if they are, to be helped move a way from hunger and poverty predicament situations they are living in. one of such programs, should be an establishment of dairy goat breeding center.

In Uganda and Africa at large as well as globally, the demand for goats’ milk is skyrocketing on daily basis because of its nutritious values, proven scientific evidence, also states that, goat’s milk contains more nutrients a human body craves for and that it is more healthier to human body than a cow’s milk. Because of this, goat rearing is now one of the most profitable livestock farming initiative, which I also believe that, if introduced to grass root farmers in Uganda, will positively transform their lives.

When a goat dairy breeding center is established here in Uganda, it will be a goat rearing training center, where grass root farmers from various parts of the country, will always come in and be trained in goat rearing techniques including, feeding, healthcare, breeding, housing, milk storage as well as marketing techniques. Many of these grass root farmers are only used to traditional goats and have not in their lives seen goat breeds such as, Saanen, Alpine goats, Toggenburg, Nubian goats, etc. they will thus need to be trained in these mentioned goat rearing techniques.

One dairy goat will not only transform a single house hold but a chain of households, this is because, with this program, every grass root farmer who receives a dairy goat from the center, will be mandatory required to pass on the first female offspring of his/her goat to the next grass root farmer in need in his/her community. The process will go on like this until the large numbers of grass root farmers are covered. This will also go on complementing their crop farming initiatives, as they will be getting goat’s wastes for use as fertilizers in their gardens

With this program in place, farmers will be able to get enough milk for their families thus contributing greatly to meeting the nutritional needs of their homesteads, and will also be able to get revenue from the sale of surplus milk which in turn will enable them, to buy books and school uniforms and send their children to school, which currently they are failing to do. They will also be tought how to save and with these small savings, they will be trained and encouraged to invest more in goat rearing business, this time now buying breeds from the center, so as to make the breeding center and their goat business sustainable. This in addition to transforming their lives will also give farmers, a sense of dignity and pride in their communities.

Establishing a goat breeding center with purchase of land (80 hectares of land) where the center will be established on, purchase of 250 dairy goats (various dairy breeds), land preparation, feeds, labor, professional fee, infrastructural facilities, routine center management and maintenance, etc., will costs approximately, $90,000 (US DULLARS)

In sum, establishing a goat breeding center here in Uganda, will not only transform Uganda’s grass root farmers lives, but will also be a goat rearing training and research center for other grass root farmers in East African region with interest in goat rearing  as well. Many farmers in Uganda and in East African region I have and always interacting with, are eager and willing to fully engage in this program.

 

 

MOSES HATEGEKA, is a practicing farmer with a mission compassionate of where resources allows, to always help grass root farmers in Africa, to adopt new agricultural technologies and usage of evolving methods of increasing production. He is also a Ugandan based independent governance researcher, public affairs analyst and writer.