Considering the mountains here, unpredictable trails of dirt and many broken roads, we actually haven’t got stuck anywhere. What we have done, is managed to get ourselves right into the thick of Ugandan agricultural life with many different projects taking place, farm visits, partnership creating and many other interesting activities.
Looking at the progress of the KARUDEC Farm, it’s great to see how well it is developing with projects coming to their end and completed as we approach Christmas. It is great to be a part of projects like these, where you know the outcome and end product will contribute towards the community in such a positive way. The local people are taking pride in their work which is great to see. The silage pit as well as the irrigation gate finished this week and both look excellent, with a high quality finish. What I have really enjoyed is the warm response from locals. They are very pleased to see some investment into agriculture and feel it is an important step in the development for the community. Many people have visited the project site and admired the work.
The irrigation gate will be very important over the next couple of months. A lot of farmers do not plant moving into December/January in fear of the dry season, as there is a high chance during the months, they will get very little water to their fields. Karudec demonstration farm however have no doubt about planting cabbages, tomatoes, maize, onions, carrots and soya, their water supply is guaranteed all year round!
The new silage pit has resulted in a change in diet for the cows, and therefore an improvement in the production of milk. Already we are seeing increased yields and the new silage machine saves a lot of time resulting that the staff do not spend time chopping ingredients by hand. All these changes although small, have made a huge difference and already the staff’s productivity has dramatically increased, it’s great to see.
We also carried out our first field trip!
By taking a group of farmers from the prospective Nyabirongo irrigation area to the Mabuku irrigation system, a huge and successful system used as a demonstration to many farmers across Uganda and bordering countries. It really opened their eyes to the potential of irrigated land and brought a new level of enthusiasm after seeing the desired effects. It was apparent that the crops grown were in excellent condition and producing yields all year round.
We held a successful focus group with 10 Bee keepers discussing the idea behind our Bee Hive project, and covered all aspects from the investor, Agri Evolve and of course the farmers. What I found promising was their total agreement with an investment approach, the ideas thrown back at us was how could they use the scheme to take on more hives and that they are happy to pay a fee to be a part of the scheme. This is very positive for us as an organisation as our end users are actually identifying the importance of investment. Work is still yet to begin for the hive building but another strong aspect is the increase of buyers for the Rwenzori honey. More shops in local towns are interested in the product and Agri Evolve have now built up a network of shops stocking our product.
Roll on Christmas.