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Agriculture

One Acre Fund kicks off 2019 long rains for farming

Farmers being taught how to apply the fertilisers in the holes before planting. (PML Daily Photo)

JINJA – One Acre Fund (OAF) has unveiled the long rains inputs delivery for 2019, to support smallholder farmers in Uganda with the tools and financing needed to grow their way out of hunger and poverty.

The week-long activity took place in the districts of Kamuli, Jinja, Buikwe, and Iganga in various sub-countries and parishes, totaling up to 25 and 64 respectively, these being One Acre Fund sites of operation.

Daisy Atukunda, the Project Specialist at One Acre Fund Uganda says the supplies given to the smallholder farmers will enable them to increase farm income by 50-100 per cent on every acre as well as improve their food security and nutrition. ‘The partnerships and support from the districts we operate from and from MAAIF make it possible to reach out to as many farmers as possible each year,’ she remarks.

The activities in the launch of the 2019 inputs delivery will include Distribution of products and services to the farmers, Training smallholder farmers on modern agricultural techniques and application of fertilisers, Market facilitation to maximize harvest profits and Financing on key agricultural inputs such as seed and fertilizer.

‘For the 2019 long rain season, One Acre Fund will be farming with more than 8500 smallholder farmers in Eastern Uganda in the districts of Jinja, Kamuli, and Iganga.

Last season, most of the farmers who farmed with us harvested an average of 12 bags on a one-acre piece of land. We are optimistic that this season will yield more,’ adds Atukunda.

Some of the high-quality input including fertilisers, maize seedlings, and backpack spray pumps to be distributed to the smallholder farmers. (PML Daily Photo)

Besides maize seeds and fertiliser, One Acre Fund supplies items like Spray Pumps, Solar lamps, Harvest drying sheets, and Pesticides.

Catherine Munwankyo, a farmer from Buwagi Parish in Budondo Sub-county says, “I joined One Acre Fund in 2014 and I have been able to grow food for my family and send money to my children in Kampala. Sometimes I give a portion of my harvest to friends that do not have food.”

One Acre Fund also works with district officers to ensure that smallholder farmers access quality agricultural inputs and also ensure that every farming family has the knowledge and means to achieve big harvests.

Dr. Kasada W. Tom, the District Production Officer of Jinja says, ‘One Acre Fund has been beneficial in curbing the problem of hunger in Jinja by helping the farmer with necessary inputs to meet their hunger needs. Besides growing maize, One Acre Fund has ventured into banana and coffee growing so that farmers can also have other crops to rely on.’

Among the farming inputs were fertilisers like Nitrogen Phosphorus Potash, Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP), Maize seedlings and Backpack spray pumps among others.

Background

Like many developing countries, agriculture is the backbone of Uganda’s economy. Unfortunately, most Ugandans currently face unpredictable weather patterns, less fertile soils and have limited knowledge of modern farming techniques. Despite their best efforts, smallholder farmers harvest low yields due to lack of quality input (seed and fertilizer).

One Acre Fund addresses these challenges by providing farmers with top quality inputs on credit and invests in farmers to generate a permanent gain in farm income.

How is repayment collected?

This is one of the most important tasks of One Acre Fund because it gives room to make loans for more farm families in the next season. Volunteer group leaders collect repayment and then submit cash to field officers for processing.

In a scenario where a farmers default, the group is jointly liable for the total amount for all group members since farmers enroll in One Acre Fund’s program in groups. This means that if one farmer fails to repay their full loan amount, all farmers in that group are ineligible to re-enroll in the future. The term ineligibility varies from country to country and for Uganda, farmers are ineligible for one season.

However, in most cases when a farmer is short, other farmers in their group will often cover the remainder of their loan amount to ensure that the group is able to re-enroll.

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