The Agriculture Programme began in 2008 when 3 acres of land within Namwendwa Primary school was ploughed for the planting of maize
The objectives of the agriculture program are:
be able to provide every student at Namwendwa Primary with lunch from the produce and to introduce more variety to their meal;
to educate the children of the importance of nutrition and variety in their diet; and
to teach the students (through hands on practice) effective farming techniques.
to generate income from agriculture activities to reinvest into the program, so that the program can be sustained without external funding.
In Uganda rural populations have limited access to trading markets and therefore find it difficult to make an income. This is a result of the bulk of rural households relying on the farming of small plots of land for survival rather than economic returns, which is called subsistence farming.
Results from a questionnaire interviewing 170 households in the Namwendwa Sub-County in 2011 found that all of the households used extremely basic farming techniques and relied on rainfall for irrigation. Furthermore, very few households planted cash crops or produced surplus food for retail and if they did have surplus produce they would often sell it for a very low price. Due to the livelihoods of many rural populations depending on adequate agricultural productivity for survival with little money to spend on food, but relying on basic farming techniques, they are extremely vulnerable to environmental conditions such as droughts. Over the last few years prolonged dry seasons have been reported in the Namwendwa Sub-County which have resulted in food shortages for the population.
Due to the lack of resilience the population has in coping with climatic variations, One Village's planned interventions aim to provide households with knowledge and resources to help them overcome factors that are hampering their farming productivity.
Namwendwa Primary School:
The plot has been expanded this year to an area of 5 acres. Most of this space is dedicated to growing maize and the rest to cassava, potatoes, bananas and pineapples. A small amount of beans and dodo (spinach) is also grown. The pineapple plantation has had two successful harvests and are currently being replanted . From these crops, the students receive maize porridge around four days a week and on the other day receive either potatoes or cassava with some beans and dodo.
In 2012 a milling machine was built, so that the maize that is harvested from the program can be ground and the program can make an income by charging community members to grind their maize.
The milling machine was sponsored by agri-business Auscott manager Harvey Gaynor from Moree NSW, whose fundraising efforts in his ‘Walk for One Village’ initiative have already occurred early in our new financial year (2011-12).
At the beginning of 2013 a ginger plantation was established at the school. The ginger will be harvested at the beginning of 2014 and sold to Kenya. Ginger is currently a valuable crop in East Africa. The income the ginger makes will fund the next activities that the Ugandan team has proposed.
Butaaya Primary School:
Prior to 2011, the majority of students were not receiving a daily lunch because parents could not afford to supply the necessary maize and grinding fees –the exact same problem found at Namwendwa Primary before the implementation of the agriculture program. On that basis, a similar plot was established at Butaaya Primary School in September 2010 with the aim of growing enough maize to provide for student lunches.
Although September is a relatively late start to the maize growing season, they experienced a good crop and the harvest proved to be enough for lunches. Initially around three acres of maize was planted but this plot has now been expanded to 5 acres and includes the same variety of crops as Namwendwa Primary with the exception of pineapples. There were some initial concerns about the quality of the soil at the plot, so the Ugandan committee had an expert come to inspect the soil. The conclusion was that the soil was fine however the area was just coming of a drought so it was dry. Since the rains have returned there has been no problem.
Nalango Secondary School:
Nalango Secondary School is very unique in that it managed to raise money to begin its own agriculture program. Therefore, One Village supports the school by educating one of the agriculture teachers about organic farming techniques that he can then teach his pupils.
In the future One Village aims to begin a poultry farm at Nalango Secondary School, which will generate an income, increase the protein in the student's diets, show students how to run a business and utilize small areas of land.