DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATIONALISATION OF BUTEBELE MODEL VILLAGE THROUGH FARMER TRAINING AND ESTABLISHMENT OF DEMONSTRATIONS
Prosper Mama Africa (PMA)
Overall Project Coordinator:
Eng. Lukwago David
Country Project Coordinator:
Mr. Byakutaga Solomon
Dr. Mudde Barnabas (NARO Bulindi ZARDI), Mr. Jude Abitegeka (NARO Bulindi ZARDI), Dr. Kakeeto Ronald (NARO Bulindi ZARDI), Mr. Moses Kasozi Lubega (NARO Bulindi ZARDI) and Mr. Sismai Byakutaga (Prosper Mama Africa)
Progress Status Report compiled by:
Dr. Mudde Barnabas (NARO Bulindi ZARDI), as a status project report to Prosper Mama Africa (PMA)
28th May 2020
Butebele village is based in Hoima district in the Lake Albert crescent agroecological zone of Uganda. In this village, according to a baseline survey conducted by Prosper Mama Africa the most important crops grown are maize, banana, beans and rice. The study has revealed the farmers have a limited diversity of crops and hence they cannot fully benefit from the highly nutritious crops from alternatives such as vegetables and fruits. It was also found that farmers are not realizing the full potential from growing these crops since they do not use modern cropping practices, do not use improved high yielding varieties and are producing for subsistence with the result that poverty levels in the village are still high. It is against this background that a model village project model to improve agricultural productivity, nutrition, livelihood and incomes of local communities in a pilot village of Butebele in Kyabigambire Subcounty, Hoima was established by Prosper Mama Africa. The project is being implemented in the Butebele village in Kyabigambire subcounty, Hlima district as a pilot. The proposed model is premised on three pillars namely; promotion of agricultural mechanization, promotion of community farming and production for the markets. The goal is to ensure food security and income for the residents of Butebele model village through a mindset shift in the community from being accustomed to being poor to having an urgent desire to become prosperous. The project was established with preliminary activities that included a baseline survey, stake holder mobilization meetings and selection of farmer groups for conducting project activities. However the project was officially launched on 26th February 2020 by the Prime Minister Bunyoro Kingdom. Since then various activities have been carried out (all detailed in the report) and so far one model village site has been successfully established, with farmers establishing a number of crops such as maize, beans, cassava, sweetpotatoes, onions, tomatoes, water melon, egg plant and green pepper. Farmers have also acquired hands-on skills in production of these crops.
From the project pilot baseline survey conducted in Butebele village by Prosper Mama Africa, most important crops are maize, banana, beans and rice. Most of what was harvested was used for home consumption with very little income from the sale of this produce. The study revealed that most respondents (4/5) in the treatment area didn’t make a profit in the last harvest. The study also indicated that farmers are still growing inferior genotypes with low yields, highly susceptible to pests and diseases, use poor processing methods and marketing was not streamlined among other constraints. Furthermore the baseline survey illustrated that the poverty levels of the communities in Butebele village are still very high, they don’t use modern farming practices resulting in food and nutrition insecurity, they lack access to markets, they are not organized into groups, they have traditional attitudes and mindsets since most farmers have been in poverty for a long time and have become accustomed to this desperate state. However despite all these challenges, there is ready market for most agricultural products in Hoima district and beyond but the farmers of Butebele village have not yet realized their full potential in tapping into this market. This is because of the above mentioned constraints. It is against this background that Prosper Mama Africa, a non-profit entity that empowers rural communities in Africa to lead their own development through support to farmers to mechanize their farming and collectively grow market-demanded crops as a community, proposed the use of a model village approach to mobilise farmers to address these production challenges in their community in order to improve productivity, livelihood and incomes of local communities. The farmers through their mobilisation meeting decided to call this model village, “Prosper Mama Butebele”, a name coined from the parent organisation Prosper Mama Africa. The proposed model is premised on three pillars namely; promotion of agricultural mechanization, promotion of community farming and production for the markets. The goal is to ensure food security and income for the residents of Butebele model village through a mindset shift in the community from being accustomed to being poor to having an urgent desire to become prosperous.
2.0 Objectives and expected outputs of the project.
The broad objective of this project was to introduce the use of the village model to mobilize farmer in Butebele to increase agriculture production for increased nutrition and incomes
The specific objectives include:
- To change the mindsets of farmers from subsistence to that of farming with a purpose
- To organize the farmers to work in one community
- To support the farmers with new farm technologies
- To attract partners and demonstrate that the model works.
3.0 Expected outputs:
- Farmers’ mindset of in agricultural production transformed from subsistence to commercial focus.
- Participation of members of Butebele village in communal farm group production enhanced
- Farmers trained in improved modern technologies to increase farm productivity and incomes from agriculture
- Partnerships of key stakeholders and development partners with Butebele model village imitative for out scaling in other areas strengthened
3.0 BUTEBELE MODEL VILLAGE IMPLEMENTATION STATUS
3.1 QUARTER ONE.
The following activities were carried out i.e. identification of project sites, holding meetings with farmers to develop memoranda of understandings and a base line survey. The details of these activities are given below:
Activity One: Identification of project sites and mobilization of members
This was carried out from February 2020. The method used involved meeting the Local Council chairperson. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the project to the area, identify the site for the model village and mobilize members to participate. The proposed member farmer group then met to determine their ability to host and implement the project activities.
Approach and Results
There was first a meeting held at the offices of the Local 1 office with the LC 1 officer. This was followed by subsequent meetings at the district with the District Community Development Officer to register the NGO activities in the district. The purpose of the meeting was to brief them on the project, its objectives, expected results, outputs and outcomes. After the briefs of the project, the purpose of the exercise was introduced, which in all cases were welcomed as a very good and timely intervention in Butebele village. Following the permission to operate in the district, the mobilization meetings were held with members of Butebele Village. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the project to the area, identify the site for the model village and mobilize members to participate. During the meeting the members elected amongst themselves an executive comprising of 9 members. The members established a branch of Prosper Mama Africa and coined a name from the founding organization; the name given was “Proper Mama Butebele”. The members nominated two people to assist in the daily work namely David Atugonza and Mr. Kimuli. During the meetings the members also nominated Mr. Solomon Byakutaga as the patron of Prosper Mama Butebele.
Activity two: conducting a base line survey
Prosper Mama Africa introduced a model project with the purpose of uplifting the status of farmers in Butebele village. In a bid to test the model of facilitating farmers to cultivate collectively to subsequently improve their productivity, a baseline survey was commissioned to gather some information to support some assumptions about the farmers and their operations. The survey was intended to measure the cultivated acreage, crops planted, harvest for each of the crops, profitability of the farming activity among other farming related practices. The purpose was to establish current status of production, processing and marketing and profitability of key farming enterprise in Butebele village that would provide a bench mark for impact assessment and further livelihood improvement programmes.
2.1 Methodology, Study area and Sample size selection
The study was conducted in Kikwatamiigo Sub county, Kyaireeta village (Control village) and Bugambe Subcounty, Kyarubanja village (Treatment village) in Hoima district. A total of 10 households (5 for each area) were interviewed with a total of 17 individual interviews carried out.
2.2 Major findings of baseline survey
- Respondents in treatment area own and cultivate less land than the respondents in control area. They cultivated 8.5 acres of the 13 acres compared to 35 of the 84 acres cultivated by control respondents. Irrespective of this, the communities in both areas are homogenous I terms of the economic and social activities and the responses are a fair representation of the general population of the area
- Main reasons why not all land is cultivated is the lack of resources for necessary inputs and use of rudimentary methods of tilling the land like hand hoes
- General cost of production on the treatment area was UGX 1,020,000/= compared to UGX 6,413,000/= for the control area with the bigger portion spent on labour (Hiring tractor or labourers with hand hoes) to break the ground in preparation for planting for both cohorts.
- Main source of seeds is the seeds saved form previous harvest. A few still purchase some seeds to supplement
- Decision to plant is made according to what is fitting for both home consumption and selling to get an income
- Crops exclusively sold through brokers for both cohorts. Price is also determined by brokers who exploit the farmers
- Only 1/5 households in treatment area made a profit while 3/5 households made a profit from their farming activities. Hard to establish profits especially when some of the harvest is in storage while some other long term crops like cassava haven’t been harvested yet
- Most respondents store harvest for between 2 weeks to 3 months but sell when a family emergency or need arises
- Only one household out of 10 had records for the previous season. This hindered the calculation of inputs, sales and profits for the majority
- Respondents all willing to collectively plant and benefit corporately too. A few have heard and been part of such an arrangement and they showed curiosity about how it would be implemented
- Only technology ever used for some is a tractor. All households agree that it is the most needed technology to make their farming productive
- Most farmers thinking of cultivating maize, beans, rice and g-nuts and cassava. A few mentioned cabbage because they have heard that it is profitable
- Respondents hoping to save between UGX 500,000/= to UGX 4,000,000/= with female participants mentioning lower amounts than the male
- Gender dynamics in the farming practices were revealed. Some female respondents for example didn’t know whether profits were made or what would be planted next season. These referred us to their spouses for such information.
- Overall, few respondents use improved seeds, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides
Activity three: Meeting with project implementation partners
Approach and Method
Meetings were held on 26th and 27th February 2020 with partners from National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO)- Bulindi Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (ZARDI) an agricultural research institute within the vicinity of Butebele model village. The meetings were attended by a team of scientists from NARO Bulindi Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute. The team of scientists included Dr. Mudde Barnabas, Dr. Kakeeto and Mr. Jude Abitegeka. The purpose of the meetings was to brief the partner on the aims, purpose, objectives and expected outcomes of the project, define the roles of the partner in the project, discuss the problems of agricultural production in Butebele village and develop means of mitigating these problems, agree on the project workplan and budget and develop a memorandum of understanding between the partner and the project implementation agency on the other side. During the meeting the team from NARO Bulindi ZARDI received a brief on project conceptualization, aims, purpose, objectives and expected outputs. Introducing the project to the partners, it was stressed that following, a baseline survey, farmers in Butebele village are still growing inferior genotypes with low yields, highly susceptible to pests and diseases, use poor processing methods and marketing was not streamlined among other constraints. It is against this background that Prosper Mama Africa, proposed the use of a model village approach to mobilise farmers to address these production challenges in their community in order to improve productivity, livelihood and incomes of local communities. The proposed model is premised on three pillars namely; promotion of agricultural mechanization, promotion of community farming and production for the markets. In the meetings with the partners from NARO Bulindi ZARDI, roles were defined and shared as follows; Bulindi ZARDI with funding facilitation from Prosper Mama Africa (PMA) will provide all the planting materials (seed) requested and technical expertise for setting up the demonstration model village garden and training of farmers, Bulindi ZARDI will closely work with PMA and the participating farmers while exposing them to other opportunities under Bulindi ZARDI such as training on good agronomic practices, crop protection, soil fertility and water management, postharvest handling, value addition and marketing, farmer group dynamics and other agricultural information where available.
Activity four: Official launch of the Butebele Model village project
The function of the launch took place on 26th February 2020 at Butebele village. The ceremony involved a brief from the Chairman LC.1 Butebele village. In his remarks, the Chairman LC.1 Butebele village thanked Proper Mama Africa for establishing this project in Butebele village. e requested for support from Prosper mama Africa to register Prosper Mama Butebele. He thanked the Prime Minister Bunyoro Kingdom for sparing time to grace this occasion of the launch of Prosper Mama Africa in Butebele village. He requested Prosper mama Africa to give him a formal written document to show that we are in partnership. He further revealed that the Chairman LC3 is aware of the ongoing activities of Prosper Mama Africa and had been briefed on the current status. He informed the Prime Minister Bunyoro that Prosper Mama Africa had facilitated the ploughing of up to 12 acres so far and he thanked the NGO for this support. The Country Coordinator Prosper Mama Africa- Mr. Solomon Byakutaga in his remarks revealed that Prosper mama Africa is a new organization which wants to show that people of Butebele village can use the large land at their disposal to develop each other though working together communally. He noted that when farmers produce as individuals they are exploited by middle men and hence get less money and do not even add value to their produce. The Director Prosper Mama Africa, Mr. David Lukwago gave remarks in which he reminded the meeting that poverty is a very serious impediment to access to funds to meet basic needs of life such as transport, health services and providing for the family. Mr. David Lukwago informed the meeting that from his own experience it was possible to transform from a very poor background into a very wealthy individual. He encouraged members of Butebele village to make their own story of transformation from the current level of poverty to a successful prosperous self reliant community full of rich millionaires through working together in order to transform from our current status of poverty. The Prime Minister Bunyoro Kingdom, Mr. Byakutaga Andrew in his remarks informed the meeting that the strategic plan of Bunyoro Kingdom seeks to develop the Bunyoro people and get them out of poverty. The Prime Minister of Bunyoro Kingdom revealed that after being briefed by Prosper Mama Africa officials, he realized that they share a similar vision through this model village they want to develop in Butebele village. It is in this regard that they agreed to partner with them in order to implement it for the good of the people of Bunyoro. He therefore, called upon Prosper Mama Butebele to work well in implementing this project in order to attract other partners who can fund this initiative such as World Vision and Microfinance Support Centre. The Prime Minister thanked Mr. David Lukwago for introducing Prosper Mama Africa and using it to uplift the people of Butebele from poverty. He encouraged the youth who are young, quick adopters and energetic to be the ones to drive this initiative forward. He thanked everyone for listening to him and proceeded to officially launch the tractor ploughing initiative under the Prosper Mama Africa Butebele village model project.
Activity five: Land preparation, acquisition of planting materials and monitoring crop establishment
The main activities carried out were first and second land opening acquiring of planting materials, planting, gap filling and monitoring crop establishment.
5.1 First and second land opening
First land opening was done during February 2020 and second land opening / seedbed preparation was carried out in March 2020 by the farmers themselves with assistance of hired labour from Prisons. The land clearing process involved tree stump removal and bush clearing, trash removal and ploughing. A total of 19 acres were made ready (16 acres, Beans- 2 acres and Kitchen garden- 1acre). By 30th March 2020 all the plots were ready for planting. A tractor was procured to facilitate the group in mechanized first and second land ploughing as a strategy to increase soil productivity.
5.2: Acquiring Planting material and inputs
The planting materials were obtained from NARO BuZARDI and Pearl Seed and distributed between 30th March 2020 and 2nd April 2020 in all the project sites. The materials acquired included improved varieties of maize, banana, cassava, beans, sweet potatoes, eggplant, tomato, rice, watermelon, onion and cabbage. Fertilisers, fertilizers and insecticides and assorted nursery bed equipment and tools were also procured.
5.3: Planting and first fertilizer application
Planting for both commercial and nursery bed trials were carried out between 1st and 2nd April 2020 for maize and beans. A total of 16 acres were planted with maize, 2 acres with beans. The kitchen garden comprised of small plots of 20m x20m of assorted field crops, fruits and vegetables making a total of 1acre. Fertilizer application using DAP was also applied at time of planting following by application of pre-emergence herbicide. Raising of vegetables seedlings in the nursery garden started from 20th to 24th April 2020. Activities involved nursery bed preparation, raising seedlings and transplanting to the mother garden. Planting of bananas, cassava and sweet potatoes were done from 10th to 16th May 2020. The field model village is shown below.
Model kitchen garden
The kitchen garden occupying one acre of land which is 63m x 63 m
Pigeon pea, Sweet potato, Cassava, Tomatoes, Banana (45 stools), Groundnut, Watermelon, Vegetables (Green pepper/Onions/ Cabbage/ Egg plants).
5.4: Monitoring and Supervision
This was done throughout the first quarter. A technical team from NARO Bulindi ZARDI comprising of Dr. Mudde Barnabas, Mr. Abitegeka Jude, Dr. Kakeeto Ronald and Mr. Moses Kasozi Lubega supervised and provided technical backstopping to the established model village crops for germination success.
All the plots established well and first and second weeding have already been done in all the crops sites. The main activities that were carried out included supervision and monitoring of the fields for performance, weeding of the plots and extension of advisory knowledge on improved production to the participating farmers of Butebele model village.
4.0 CONSTRAINTS TO PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION
- During this period, there delay in accessing funds for the project due to movement restrictions following the government lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. This delay implied that the implementation would not be carried out on time as planned.
- The project sites experienced unstable delay in start of first season rains which affected the germination of the maize.
- The movement restrictions following the government lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in failure to access most input and hardware shops to access inputs for establish the nursery unit for vegetable and fruit production. In addition some planned seeds and planting material for the model garden could not be accessed. This has resulted in some delays in project implementation.
- The movement restrictions following the government lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in challenges in mobilization of farmers and sensitization during project implementation activities.
- During this period, there delay in accessing funds to pay the technical facilitators overseeing the implementation of the model village due to movement restrictions following the government lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. Problem.
4.0 Proposed solutions
- Timely release of funds would lead to improvement in implementation of project activities and achieving project object objectives and targets
- There is need to plan for the establishment of an irrigation system to ensure stable supply of water to the model village especially the vegetable unit.
- There is need to acquire funds for protectives (masks and sanitisers) and avail farmers for use during group meeting in view of the current government health prevention measures required to protect farmers from COVID-19.
4.1 Lessons learnt and recommendations
- The skills gained in the training would be hampered by problems of accessing improved varieties and also availing with them with more planting materials and seed to plant in their individual gardens away from the model village. There have been suggestions from the participants for Prosper Mama Africa to liaise with NARO Bulindi ZARDI to address this challenge
- There is need to make the project work visible in the region and create interest amongst potential stakeholders and partners this can be done through installing a sign post with details of the project, its partners and funders.
- The following could be considered; procurement of processing machines and training of farmers on processing and adding value to their products. The cost implications will need thorough discussion vis a vis fund release and a way forward for further project implementation agreed upon.
- There is need to hire a bulldozer for proper land preparation to remove all tree stumps in order to have a clear field for easy mechanized operations by a tractor.
4.2 Proposed Activities Second Quarter
- Continued monitoring the farmers in the model village to ascertain how far they have gone with adopting improved production practices learnt as well as offering technical backstopping where necessary and capacity building in new crop production techniques.
- Doing a second fertilizer application
- Doing spraying of pesticides
- Second weeding
- Storage and postharvest handling
- Establishing linkages to markets
- Planning meetings for the second cropping season
- Continued sensitization trainings on Farmers’ mindset change from subsistence to commercial focus of agricultural production