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REDS is an active member on the National Climate Smart Agriculture Task Force (NCSATF) and is fully involved with the various stakeholders for formulation of the Country Climate Smart Agriculture Programme and the Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) work plan to strength the National Task Force. REDS works together with NCSATF to train the government extension staff and Sustainable Land Management project district coordinators in CSA technologies & practices and a total of 545 have been trained. In addition, REDS has collaborated with NCSATF to exhibit the CSA technologies at the National Agricultural Show in Jinja for the last 3 years.

REDS has taken great strides in creating policy dialogue for CA to be instituted as a proven technology for food security and climate change adaptation. REDS engaged policy makers of the Ugandan Parliamentarians’ Forum on Food Security, Population and Development (UPFFSP&D) and facilitated a study tour for them to Zambia to enhance understanding of CF principles and practices. The delegation was headed by Honourable Dr. Chris Baryomunsi the Chairperson Uganda Parliamentarians Forum on Food Security, Population and Development. Other participants included Hon. Aol Betty Ocan; Hon. Muwuma Milton; Hon. Kayagi Sarah Netalisire; Hon. Kasamba Mathias; Hon. Kiwanda Godfrey Ssuubi; Hon. Komuhangi Margaret; Hon. Nyakikongoro Rosemary; Mr Jude Kaliisa from the Uganda Prison Services Department; and Mr. Wamala Musa Buyungo, the Coordinator for UPFFSP&D. The delegation interacted with farmers and farmer groups and discussed various issues including land preparation, tillage, basin management, seasonal calendar, crop spacing, crop varieties and choice, post-harvest handling, marketing and pricing. These policy makers expressed their conviction that Conservation Farming is vital in boosting agriculture productivity and averting effects of climate change and have pledged to popularize CF as a priority technology to boost Uganda’s agricultural sector.

REDS has also witnessed other policy makers, Honourable Nyombi Thembo, Minister of State in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as well as a Member of Parliament for Kassanda South County in Mubende D istrict and Honourable Godfrey Kiwanda, Mityana North Member of Parliament, support and advocate for CA training and implementation in their constituencies and results have shown actual farmer adoption in the areas represented by these MPs.

Posted on Hon. Nyombi Thembo’s face book page - 21st August 2014

A Learning Platform for CF Mechanized Minimum Tillage CA practices were first introduced to Ibuga Prison Farm in Kasese district - Western Region during second planting season of 2012. Ibuga established 5Ha of CF-MT mechanized ripping from which it realized 3.2 tons of maize grain per acre compared to the 2.2 tons realized under conventional tillage with same treatment (same seed variety with fertilizer application).

The CA block prompted visits from the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF), Minister of Internal Affairs, Commissioner of Prisons and a delegation from the Faculty of Agriculture- Makerere University who saw for the first time a Ndume tractor ripper and were impressed with the performance of the crop. 3 years down the road, Ibuga Prison Farm has turned out to be a Conservation Farming Model Farm. 50% of its farm land has been converted to CF because of the great benefits.

Jude Kaliisa, the Officer in Charge at the prison farm, talks about Conservation Farming (CF) with a passion. He shares the challenges they had carrying out farming activities before REDS intervention. These included a very short window period between land preparation and planting; high cost of land preparation using 15 liters of fuel to prepare 0.4Ha, 20 days to prepare and plant 160Ha; flooding in some blocks of the farm; heavy soil erosion with visible gullies and; to sum it all the maize yields were low.

Jude was wary of adopting CF because he had a specified tonnage of maize to produce every season under the prison policy. His mind was keenly focused on yield and he did not know that there were other CF benefits for the prison farm. His fears were offset once they realized the yield from the first established block. Jude says, “CF eased crop management in terms of reduced fuel for land preparation by more than 50% (from 15 to 5 liters per acre), time savings in land preparation ripping 40 acres in a day compared to conventional ploughing of 20 acres/day and the controlled flooding and soil erosion leading to efficient utilization of nutrients by the crop.

Ibuga farm has become a learning platform for the inmates and other prison farms in Uganda. Jude is eager to help other prison farms take on CF and already the Prison Services has bought rippers to replicate the CF tractor ripping technology at Rwimi, Kiburara, Isimba, Patiko, Abim and Namalu prison farms.

Food Security in Schools through CF Interventions

Pupils of Primary 4 to Primary 6 of Pasia Primary School in Agule Sub County, Pallisa District participated in a CA competition during the first planting season of 2014.

With the help of their agriculture teacher Ms. Agonyo, each class planted a plot of maize and a plot of beans under CF hoe basin. In total pupils planted 1 acre of maize and 0.5 acres of beans. The competition was won by Primary 5 pupils. All together they harvested 1ton of maize grain even after eating part of the harvest as fresh maize and 0.2tons of beans.

The school is now able to serve lunch to its pupils during the school term and parents agreed to supplement the pupils’ harvest to have sufficient lunch. The headmistress Mrs. Agnes Amoding says “Serving lunch at school has greatly improved pupils’ attendance and performance. Children are learning CF technology and 15 of them have grown their own CF gardens at home”. The school maintains the CF garden with the support of the parents.

To date 44 primary and secondary schools found in rural areas are practicing CF.

Reaping Good from Teran Rope Making

“I tried Boda Boda riding, gambling, some farming, did all sorts of odd jobs, but still led a very miserable life.”

These are the words of youthful Muyiggwa Richard of Misango village, Butemba Sub County in Kyankwanzi district. Like many in the village, Richard is a 23-year old primary school dropout with 3 children, who survived on his paltry income until he learned to make Teran ropes and started selling them to CA farmers in his village.

Richard says “I got this idea of selling teran ropes when I attended CA training at Nakasagazi village, Kyankwanzi District which was conducted by Mr Ssenkaaba Nelson a REDS field officer. He says, “During the training I noticed that it was very easy to make the Teran ropes and the next day I approached some of the farmers who had attended the same training and asked if they needed help with making the rope.” He made for them samples of 15m rope made out of good braided nylon and sold them at US$2. From that day Richard has never looked back, he now sells a 15m rope for US$3 and a 30m rope for US$6.

Richard cannot stop smiling as he talks about his found treasure. He says: “Am very happy with the income I get and am now focused on this job, the demand is overwhelming”. Richard also acquired a pair of oxen and he provides ADP ripping services to CA farmers in the area. “I have no words, I don’t know how I can express myself, I can’t even imagine what I can say about REDS…..” From the income Richard has constructed a commercial house in Misango trading centre.

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