Increasing food security and household incomes in Uganda
International Needs Australia (INA) is empowering farmers in the Buwikwe, Mukono and Kayanga Districts in Uganda, improving their knowledge and skills in farming methods and inputs, to increase food security and household income.
In 2016, after a successful 2.5 year pilot program, the Income Enhancement for Farmers (IEF) Project was launched to reach an additional 2,750 farming households to give them the skills and networks to lift them from the subsistence cycle. These farmers, typical in the area, can barely grow enough food to feed their family let alone have any produce left over to sell for income.
A lack of training and knowledge, and no access to technology means many farmers are stuck with low yields, and at the mercy of poor weather conditions and pests. Poor crop diversity leaves farming families without steady income, with periods of little food, and poor nutrition from unbalanced diets, eating only on average 1.75 meals per day year-round.
Through IEF farmers are networked into associations and groups, where farmers are able to take power back from exploiting middle men, selling outside of their local communities, giving them greater marketing and price leverage. Then, the groups facilitate training on sustainable agricultural practices; the selection of crops and growing capacity, improved seeds, soil and water conservation techniques, and utilising modern farming inputs, famers can increase drought resilience and enhance productivity and production.
Ruth is a widow taking care of her three grandchildren and a member of one of the supported farming groups in the Mukono District. After training and receiving improved seeds, she harvested 1000kg of maize despite drought conditions; she is now able to feed her family with money left over to invest in diversifying her crops, and no longer worries about being able to afford to send her grandchildren to school.
Ruth’s story of success isn’t isolated, with 70% of the farmers involved in the project initiatives showing improved farming practices on track to establish their farms as a business, not just a necessity. Production has increased by 100-150%, income is higher, and 85% of participating farmers are now able to provide at least 2 meals a day to their family, despite much of Uganda being declared as ‘food insecure’.
International Needs Australia (INA) works locally in partnership with International Needs Uganda (INUG) and is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).