The most rural areas in Uganda, agriculture, are the backbone of a home. Many women are the major providers of food for the family, including children. Small scale farmers practice long ago traditional and poor farming methods. Women remain landlocked in their home with no opportunity to learn new methods.
With ignorance they continue to grow food for family consumption.They lack nutritional value foods that could maintain their healthy and have no surplus for sale, to meet the other basic necessities in a home. In the long run many families would be food insecure leading to famine.
Scarcity of Labour force
To increase food production there is need for labour force, and yet the productive youth, have the tendency of making quick money, therefore do not participate in farming activities. In a home of many people one would find the women as the main source, that provides food for entire family, in addition to caring for other daily cores of collecting firewood and fetching water which is normally distance away.
Because women practice poor farming methods, this greatly impedes their food yield outputs. Opportunity to access tools that can empower them i.e. knowledge and information is rare. They grow food crops which cannot survive under bad weather conditions and more prone to pests and diseases. Irrigating techniques is a myth in many areas, and with lack of knowledge on irrigation technology, famine is a threat.
Innovative Intervention to Ensuring Food Security by NVIWODA.
In 1987 a group of women in Ntulume Village established a women Non-Government organization. The organization this year will celebrate twenty five years of its existence and has achieved a positive track record.
Working with women at lower levels could be a positive intervention to enable women in rural areas, participate in development arena and bridge the gap of gender in-equality among others. NVIWODA works with thirty, Community Based Women Groups found in ten districts in Uganda.
Food Security Initiative at hand creates awareness to women and engages them to practice modern farming including husbanding animals in an integrated and sustainable manner, to reduce the risks associated with climate change.
Ensuring Food Security through Practicing Integrated and Sustainable Farming
Global Fund for Women a U.S.A based NGO,http://www.globalfundforwomen.org, in July 2011, Grant, to NVIWODA enabling them to intervene in ensuring food security at household status. The project is being implemented; in South Mawokota in Mpigi District in South Mawokota Development Activist partner a CBO of the organization.
For a positive attitudinal change and to achieve the initiative objectives, NVIWODA yet partners with specialized and established agriculture training Institutions, in particular St. Jude Integrated and Sustainable Agriculture Training Centre and Institute of Development Strategies (IDS). Both practice modern farming.
Twenty seven women farmers, so far are directly benefitting from the current activities of the project. Theory and practical training, in Integrated and Sustainable Agriculture plus Indigenous Poultry Management for commercial are offered.
Women from the eight Parishes of South Mawokota – Mpigi, grow crops like Matooke, cassava, potatoes, maize, tubers (yam), in addition beans, ground nuts, and some vegetables like bitter egg plants, are grown for home consumption. Cash crop like Coffee is also grown in this area.
After October 2011, the beneficiaries understood how the Climate Change is affecting their farming activities and are in agreement of the essence of finding a solution to reduce the risks of famine at household level.
Despite the challenge of the changing weather patterns the beneficiaries are considering to modernize their farming methods. Technologies to harvest water, when the rains begin could be an alternative solution to support farming, however, women lack the opportunity to access financial resources to acquire water harvesting resource materials
Women trained in modern farming – Practice makes perfect
Taking stock of the knowledge offered women are able to make compost manure, natural pest diseases control, animal husbandry, piggery and poultry management of indigenous chicken in a more careful manner. Those practicing animal husbandry have many chances to make composite manure to enhance farming. Areas like nutrition and hygiene is an additional outcome for this intervention.
“Development begins in the stomach”
In Uganda at this time of the season there is scarcity of enough food and prices have hiked due to a number of reasons. i.e. exporting food to other neighboring areas and other factors like pests and diseases, climate change conditions have too aggravated the situation. The long dry season spell is a threat, we hope rains come soon.
Women nutrition is a very important component and NVIWODA emphasizes to increase feeding well to remain healthy too. Bearing that in mind, the beneficiaries have been introduced to growing new vegetable that had not grown before, e.g. Egg plants, green
pepper, cucumber, beetroot, carrots, amaranthus, kale, coriander, celery, beetroot, French beans, leek, water melon. Seed were distributed by NVIWODA
What is it in it for women?
Nyonyi poultry Farm Enterprise – Masaka, engaged in animal husbandry, vegetable, banana, maize and fruit growing, she also keeps poultry at a medium scale, Theresa a retired secretary is the Director. Green Valley Investments- Gayaza- Kampala, Grace Twinomugisha, manages three fishponds, and piggery at Gayaza, Blind but Able Association keeps free range indigenous chicken and at St. Jude sustainable Agriculture Centre, all these hosted the women to enable them by seeing, practicing and sharing information.
Grace and Theresa are both NVIWODA members, practicing sustainable agriculture so sharing with the women was vital and women had the opportunity to see much knowledge in a reality.
At end of the training the feelings were indeed high, and they said “In ignorance we have tilled the land and lost energy for a long time, we are now ready to work”.
Women said that “This was their first important training they ever received, because they were able to learn from fellow women and share important information.