In Uganda, vegetable yields per unit area are generally very low. One of the reasons is lack of available quality seedlings. We raise healthy seedlings in clean production media and environment and then supply them to the farmers any time.
The problem we aim to solve
Micronutrient deficiency; which is a lack of vitamins, minerals and other compounds necessary for good health – is a serious problem in Uganda. Vegetables are a rich source of nutrients especially micronutrients. A lack of vitamin A, for instance, is a major cause of preventable blindness in children, and weakens the immune system. There are several ways to address the lack of nutrients in the diet. For instance, taking vitamin supplements. But the cheapest and easiest way to take in nutrients is by sustainably consuming a more diverse diet rich in vegetables.
Farmers selected to grow vegetables, setting up demonstrations for skills learning, training of community-based trainers to reach the farmers in their households at community level. Households prepare vegetable gardens for home consumption and market. Makerere University works on optimizing organic fertilizer and botanical pesticides for use on the vegetables. Designing of worm bins for decomposition of waste from house and fields. Work on producing healthy vegetable seedlings for use in the production of vegetables. Soil testing to understand nutrient availability and provide adequate soil amendments. Testing homemade manure to know what combinations of refuse produce the required manure for healthy vegetables. Awareness campaigns on availability of heathy seedlings for healthy vegetable production and consumption at household level.
How can we help improve diets with vegetables? How can we produce more with less? So that all 44 million people in Uganda have proper nutrition? By making vegetables even more available and easier to grow. Working with other organizations such as World Vegetable Center and seed companies to provide micronutrient rich vegetables, since they are the best source of micronutrients. In most developing countries, vegetable consumption is much lower than it should be for good health. Recommendations are now about 400 g per day, but few countries are at that level. But how vegetables are produced can be just as important for health. We are working to develop technology packages to help farmers grow vegetables safely at household level.
The innovativeness of our approach
The testing and evaluation of soil and soil amendments, the use of home wastes to create manure for the garden. We use local materials to create vertical gardens for urban farmers to grow vegetables. We make fertilizers from market waste, the pesticides is also made on site from locally available plants such as marigold and others.
We have a program (Creative Capacity Building –CCB for kids) with primary school children whereby they learn how to farm and grow their own vegetables throughout the term.
Our farmers partake in training these children so that they can become self-sufficient farmers.
Technologies and Methods
We use the worm bin (vermiculture)) in composting, soil amendment depending on nutrient level, sack and vertical farming for the urban farmers, liquid fertilizer and pesticide from botanicals of naturally occurring plants and animals and leveraging on indigenous knowledge.
We train and promote good agricultural practices and integrated pest management methods to significantly reduce the amount of pesticides farmers use on vegetables. We are also working with farmers to test and evaluate production technologies, such as the vermiculture (worm bin).
Makerere University, Resilient African Network, Simlaw Seed Company and World Vegetable Center
Voting ends on June 24, 2018, 11:59 pm (CEST).