For, and with, farming families in Uganda
Agriculture represents about 25 % of the GDP of Uganda, 50 % of export earnings, and ensures the livelihoods of almost 80 % of the population. It is the largest sector of the Ugandan economy in terms of food and nutrition security, employment, income and raw materials for the industry and exports to regional and international markets. However, even if agriculture remains essential for employment, the sector’s performance in terms of production and productivity is still very low. About 39 % of the population of working age and 31 % of youth practice subsistence farming on an average of less than two hectares of land. With more than 34 % of the rural population living below the poverty line and 87 % of low income earners working in the farming sector, agriculture has the potential to reduce poverty and accelerate economic growth. This makes it a priority for developing plans and policies at the national level.
Climate change and demographic pressure are making life more precarious and adding to the growing problems of soil fertility. Yet, the opportunities are there to develop a profitable farming sector, and even to improve the living conditions of rural populations and to combat hunger.
Iles de Paix has chosen to carry out its work in the western region of Fort Portal, not only for its potential for developing farming, but also for addressing the challenges and needs of strengthening the food system, in order to make it more sustainable.
Our work in Uganda
We work with three local partner organisations in Uganda to support smallholder farmers and their families practicing agro-ecology, by acting on three levels:
- We support farmers directly to improve planning and to increase their productivity, all while respecting the environment. We do this by providing technical support to the farmers, organising knowledge sharing sessions and capacity building workshops, creating demonstration gardens (urban farming), distributing learning tools in the methods of integrated farm planning and participatory action-research. In addition, we help farming families to reinvigorate their savings and loans associations.
- In order to create an environment that welcomes a transition to agro-ecology in its region, we work with communal authorities in the area to have them consider the needs of small farmers and to support them over the long term. We also educate consumers on the benefits of eating local food that is healthy and free of chemicals.
- More generally, these hands-on actions allow us not only to spread information about agro-ecology to other producers, but they also enhance our advocacy work in defending the rights of farmers to decision makers at the national and regional levels.
Our partners in Uganda
The Kabarole Research and Resource Center (KRC) is a well-established NGO which operates in the Rwenzori region, in western Uganda. The KRC was founded in 1996 and started implementing projects in the areas of research, micro-projects/generation of revenues, promotion of human rights, peace and conflict resolution, improvement of livelihoods, agro-business and value chains, strengthening of civil society, battling HIV/AIDS, and the promotion of children’s rights and education.
The Joint Effort to Save the Environment (JESE), is a non-governmental service provider organisation. Since its creation in 1993, JESE has been working to improve agricultural production, natural resources management and long term development, contributed greatly to the livelihoods of targeted populations and has provided opportunities for a better life, particularly for households and poor rural communities.
RCA-THE ASSOCIATION OF RWENZORI COMMUNITY is a NGO which works in holistic development, economic empowerment(??) and in improving the living conditions in Rwenzori’s mountainous rural zones through livelihood improvement(??), capacity building, conservation, good governance, human rights and child protection.