UCF’s Anthony Kalulu
UCF’s Ugandan farmers fighting poverty…
The Uganda Community Farm (UCF) nonprofit social enterprise, a Uganda farmer’s cooperative, has recently put out an urgent global citizen’s call for help in fighting poverty, by supporting the local farmers.
The UCF farmer’s collective is situated in Kamuli, in eastern Uganda, on 12 acres of land. UCF is the creation of economically struggling farmers in the area who are seeking to combat their collective poverty. Their principle aim is to “lift rural smallholder farmers, particularly women and the youths, from extreme poverty in eastern Uganda through access to viable agricultural markets.”
UCF’s founder is Anthony Kalulu. Mr. Kalulu described his vision of UCF this way “By providing smallholder farmers with a practical organic farming learning centre, based on low-input, sustainable practices, we can provide these communities with the ability to feed themselves, rather than relying on short-term relief programs. What’s more, UCF shall have an organic farming practice section (a Hectare or two) entirely managed by the farmers trained here—with all sales from the section supporting local projects of the community’s own choice. The farm also hopes to become a resource center for scaling Organic Perspectives’ current conservation activities in Uganda’s deforested countryside—in a financially self-sustaining manner.”
Organic Perspectives, a Uganda non-profit, helped launch UCF in 2015. Since 2007, Organic Perspectives has worked with more than 2,000 small farmers in Kamuli and Buyende, in eastern Uganda. Their goal is to provide farmers with the tools to improve their livelihood by developing local agricultural production and organic farming, and through the use of alternative energy resources.
UCF’s objective is to create a sustainable famers’ market infrastructure that will positively impact the lives of these farmers, and families, in this region of Uganda. To do this, they are asking for help and partnerships from interested persons, and organizations, worldwide. These farmers are also seeking to “team up with any global citizens who could simply amplify our voice through social media, or those who can directly work with us on the ground in Uganda, to help us create one new solution to this.”
The UCF website http://www.ugandafarm.org/about/ explains part of its action plan this way “Our work blends 3 models all at once: 1). a farmer’s cooperative, in the way we work with other farmers. 2). a nonprofit, in the way we support other farmers, because we are working with some of the poorest rural smallholder farmers who can’t get started on their own, and 3). a social enterprise, in the way we are building self-sustainability.”
A major component of UFC’s current “citizen’s call” for action is Goal 17, which seeks “crowdsourcing collaborators.” They also need funds to build a “agro-processing plant.” This is described on partner website http://citizencall.org/ The farmers explain it this way “We would like to work with you to create a solution to two concurrent challenges that orchestrate poverty in our region. Those 2 challenges are: 1) the absence of reliable markets for fresh produce, and 2) food losses resulting from both the absence of ready markets for fresh produce, and poor post-harvest management. That solution is: a fully-fledged agro-processing plant that shall reverse poverty & create jobs in our region, by minimizing food losses and creating markets for rural poor farmers through value-added agriculture.”
Celebrity U.S. chef Cat Cora has supported this initiative in helping UFC, and Organic Perspectives, in their crowdsourcing goals. Cora, who hails from Mississippi, is know as the “Iron Chef,” of the television show “Iron Chef America.” Cora collaborated on the “Chefs for Humanity” charity crowdsourcing appeal for $250 thousand to help UFC.
A June 2018, World Bank report examined Uganda’s agricultural potential.
That report entitled “Closing the Potential-Performance Divide In Ugandan Agriculture” says “Agriculture is the backbone of Uganda’s economy, employing 70% of the population, and contributing half of Uganda’s export earnings and a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Since most Ugandans live in rural areas and practice farming, raising agriculture incomes – a centrepiece of Uganda’s National Development Plan – is critical to reducing poverty, boosting prosperity and creating jobs, especially for women and youth.”
This World Bank report “notes that rising population and growth of incomes have increased the demand for food and agro-processed products. This is putting increased pressure on the environment amid frequent and severe climate conditions, made worse by the continued dependence on rainfed agriculture. Combined with poor agricultural practices, low technological adoption, insecurity over land ownership, poor access to extension services, low quality inputs, and lack of credit, the report notes that the agriculture sector continues to be hindered from realizing its full potential. Challenges notwithstanding, Ugandan agriculture has enormous potential to transform the economy and make farming much more productive and profitable for Ugandan smallholder farmers.”
The report also says “In stark opposition to supply-side constraints, demand-side opportunities for agriculture and food for Uganda and its neighbors are the strongest they have ever been… Booming domestic and regional demand for higher-value foods arising from income growth, urbanization, and dietary shifts offer massive opportunities for Ugandan farmers…and for value chains beyond farm production, and better jobs in agriculture. Other areas of potential identified by the report are developments in agricultural technology and ICT, and various successful agribusiness models that could be upscaled.”
Finally, this World Bank report identified “three priority areas for policy action and investment; (a) commercialization through value-addition and trade; (b) strengthened public institutions and policy, and (c) enhanced resilience of agriculture production and rural livelihoods.”
Those interesting in partnering and helping the farmers of Uganda Community Farm (UFC) should contact them at www.ugandafarm.org, or, answer their “citizen’s call” at http://citizencall.org/