Thanks to the silos, built together with the Costa Family Foundation, we have been able to have food enough to face the great hunger.
In 2016 50 female piglets were distributed to 25 families (2 per family), 345 chicks to 23 families (to each family at least a clutch of 15 chicks) and 500 kilos of high producing seeds. Since the beginning of the farm, agriculture has been the principal activity for almost 100% of the beneficiaries. Up until the second half of 2016 the majority of the citizens have had enough food to add to the seed bank and contribute to the silos. Unfortunately in the second part of the year a dry period, the most serious in the last 20 years, caused the loss of almost all that which had been planted by the beneficiaries. The cost of the food was therefore doubled and in some cases tripled, and therefore leaving a great part of the population risking starvation and thirst. However, notwithstanding the drought the SDF farm never had lack of water to irrigate the fields and the 5 greenhouse structures of the community. This in no small part due to the water pump and solar energy installed two years ago with the support of the Costa Family Foundation. Thanks to this the farm was able to support the community with drinking water, responding at least in part to the absence of water in the families.
The foresight shown by the Costa Family Foundation, it supporting the farm in the construction of 6 silos enabling 60,000 kilos of grain to be stored, enabled the community to face the drastic situation: the food stored for sale in better times was used – after a vote held by the community and with a unanimous outcome – to feed the families directly. The main worry now is that the silos are running low in content and the opportunity to build up again is not encouraging given the poor harvest.
With the help of the Costa Family Foundation and during 2016 the SDF was able to purchase and install a refrigerated unit - 2x5x2m (20m³). This unit is able to store almost 1,000kg of freshly harvested crops such as peppers and tomatoes for the duration of three/for weeks, minimising waste and increasing the longer term sales potential. This is a significant improvement when one considers that in Uganda 20% of food is wasted and thrown away due to the scarce possibility to preserve anything, and this at a time when a great part of the population is suffering hunger.
Again with the aid of the Foundation in 2016 the SDF has purchased a pick-up, and this has solved the problem related to the time of transport of the harvest to market. Previously the farm hired lorries for the transport of earth to use in the greenhouses, spending about 220 dollars per greenhouse. In the last season, thanks to the use of their own new pick-up, the farm was able to save 880 dollars which would have otherwise been spent on the transport of earth. Also the same truck saves the farm a further 15 dollars a week because it is used to transport vegetables and eggs to the markets of Kampala and Mukono.
And finally, the farm was able to build a fence around its perimeter, and in so doing render it safer from intrusions by animals or thieves in general. Now the greenhouses are supervised from an official entrance/exit. The farm has also identified 25 beneficiaries, relating to 25 families, and they have been instructed on the modern methods of pig rearing. This initiative represents one of the principal success stories of the farm when learning the fact that Uganda has an annual pro capite consumption of 3.4kg of pork, the highest in east Africa.
The positive aspects
- notwithstanding the grave crisis in Uganda, the community had enough food stored in the silos to last four months.
- some time ago the farm had trained two drivers for the tractor, and this was a big help once the pick-up was purchased.
- almost all our beneficiaries had stored their harvest well in advance, hoping to sell it collectively so as to earn enough to pay for the school fees of their children in 2017. Now that the food has had to be used it is probable that some of the children will not be able to go to school in 2017.
- we need to relaunch our strategy so as to reconvince the farmers of the advantage of of agricultural activity. Many of them had never experienced such a dry period and this has discouraged them a great deal.
A lesson for the future
- it will be necessary to instruct the communities on how to collect rain water so as to build up reserves in case a new unpredicted dry spell comes.
- the silos should not be totally emptied prior to the following harvest so as to ensure that some food is available for the community
- we need to encourage the farmers to have two deposits at the seed bank: one for family food consumption and the other intended for sale.
Budget spent in 2016: 30.000 euro