35% of the population is malnourished (2015 figures).
Median age of the population
(41 in Belgium)
MPANGA SUPER FARMERS PROGRAMME
600 families benefit directly from Iles de Paix support.
2400 families benefit indirectly
After painstaking work to identify the most favourable areas for intervention, Iles de Paix officially moved into its Uganda base in July 2017, in the rural town of Fort Portal (Western Region).
Mpanga Super Farmers is the name of the first programme, which is fully aligned with the promotion of sustainable family agriculture. The intervention aims to reinforce the production, organisation and environmental management capacity of farming families in the drainage basin of the Mpanga river, which passes through the Kabarole and Kamwenge districts.
The Mpanga drainage basin is a mostly rural area where families live from agriculture. Characterised by a very high population density, the area is confronted with accelerated degradation of its natural resources, taking the concrete form of lost agricultural productivity and a deterioration in people’s living conditions. In the absence of appropriate technical support, families are finding it difficult to adapt and ensure the future of their way of life. This results in an exodus of men and young people to the cities, where they swell the ranks of the unemployed.
ILES DE PAIX SOLUTIONS SINCE 2017
Iles de Paix has identified two areas in the river’s drainage basin, Kabambiro and Karangura, with quite distinct agroecological characteristics. With its partners, it will concentrate its efforts on these two targeted zones, Uganda’s first “islands of peace”, to increase their impact before spinning off the results in other areas with similar characteristics.
Improving agriculture and food
Three hundred farming families have been identified in each of the two zones. They will become “Super Farmers”, responsible for spreading the lessons they learn to the rest of the community.
The involvement of the population in identifying appropriate solutions, testing them and then spreading them as a model will be at the heart of the approach used by Iles de Paix and its partners. This approach is essential to achieve a long-term solution.
An integrated farm planning tool will be used to conduct local monitoring of the beneficiaries. This very visual tool also helps with the important questions of young people’s involvement and how tasks are divided within households. By drawing their current farm and projecting their vision of the farm in four or five years’ time, the members of the family take steps towards leaving behind the logic of day-to-day subsistence farming and daring to imagine a future.
The integrated planning tool is used dynamically. As the programme proceeds and farmers’ action research projects advance, the “basket” of available options grows. Beneficiaries can then pick out the options they would like to adopt on their farms. These farming action research projects are rooted in local reality (bottom-up approach).
They aim to promote traditional local skills while making a link with scientific knowledge. The work will thus be a collaboration with Mountains of the Moon University in Fort Portal.
The support for farming families will not only cover improving production techniques; it will also include strengthening capacities for storing, processing and marketing production at both family and collective level and access to appropriate financial services. Experience on the ground will be used to support the establishment of a favourable context for the development of sustainable family agriculture.
Achieving a balance between economic, social and environmental performance will be central. The activities undertaken by Iles de Paix aimed at households should ultimately contribute to the adoption by communities of a sustainable natural resource management plan, with a particular focus on the Mpanga river. This community-level work will be conducted in synergy with PROTOS, a Belgian NGO that has been working in the field for many years.