Farm Summit: Masaka, Uganda
The farm summit was a wonderful and enlightening introduction into agricultural methods that emphasize maximum use of local resources, cost reduction, and most of all, sustainability. Through these methods food security can be increased substantially as well as creating a thriving communal economy.
A bio-gas unit has been constructed that provides energy for light and cooking. 15,000 farmers have been trained in organic farming.
The farm produces a wide variety of plants and vegetables; lettuces, carrots, spinach, cabbages, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, coffee, and colliandra, to name a few.
500 orange trees and 500 mango trees have been planted. These particular fruits produce high yields, which are a crucial source of food and income. At markets, mango producers can earn an average of 4,000 Ugandan shillings per mango, and with and output of 2,000 kg from a single tree, mangoes are an extremely high commodity.
300 families have been given seeds to produce beans, maize, cassava, sweet potatoes, mangoes, apples, oranges, etc. The farmers are required to bring back the seeds after harvesting so that they can be given out again to other crop growers. This program ensures a constant supply of seeds at very minimal cost.
Apiary units have been set up that produce honey. This honey can be harvested at least four times a year.
Manure making is also demonstrated at the farm.
Farmers are trained in animal management, utilizing goats, pigs and chickens. 598 pregnant goats where given ti 598 families in 2009.
The summit in Masaka created and incredible opportunity for outreach workers and volunteers from different parts of the globe to see first-hand how a single idea could reshape an entire community, and possibly a country.
10 acres of land spawned one of the most amazing agricultural projects seen anywhere. Serving as a demonstration farm, this project not only provides a school for crop-growers but also as a community centre.
It provides youth education, education and training for women, a workplace and training centre for locals as meeting point for discussion of critical issues within the local community and throughout the country.
Domestic violence, health and hygiene, sanitation, HIV/AIDS, gender equality and the importance of sustainable agriculture and food security. This kind of community involvement creates a sense that everyone is a stakeholder in the project, its their project. The need for security is also minimal. Through community policing the locals ensure that there is little need for constant intervention from project directors and coordinators. The farm sustains itself and therefore the local community sustains itself.
On December 14, 2011, volunteers, project directors and NGO affiliates all came together for a common purpose; to learn. What is the purpose of this project? What makes it so successful? Community involvement is the key. These ideas and methods can be disseminated and implemented, not only in other parts of Uganda and Africa, but also other locations around the world.
“Think big, start small.” – Peter F. Luswata -