Dear everyone who is reading this,
Let’s do something in line with SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). It’s the only way we can end poverty.
We are seeking collaborators who can work with us in person, or those who can only give us a voice, to help us create one fully self-sustaining solution to poverty.
We are farmers in a remote part of eastern Uganda where poverty is rife. We are determined to end the cycle of poverty, but we are only resource-strapped.
Please don’t fear us. We are genuine hardworking people, not wannabe impostors, and we are resolute to end poverty in a self-sustaining manner. It’s just that we have tried to look for collaborators, for some time, with no success. This page has therefore been created specifically to crowdsource collaborators.
Help us turn into more productive citizens, so we can use our own hands to put an end to poverty by 2030.
Let’s Do Something:
In our area, the majority of people are small farmers, and nearly every small farmer here lives in extreme poverty. But, in practice, the only thing that keeps us in poverty, is the absence of reliable markets for our produce. It is a systemic challenge across the region.
That means, an already impoverished farmer can’t produce beyond a certain point, and can’t scale. This also leaves us with incomes below the poverty line.
If we had access to markets, and a way of minimizing the food losses that arise from the absence of reliable markets for our produce, it would indeed be possible for us to turn into more productive citizens — who are capable of ending poverty in a self-sustaining manner.
We would like to team up with any global citizens who could amplify our voice only through social media, or those who may be able to work with us on the ground in Uganda, to help us create one new solution to this.
Our project, the Uganda Farm, is itself the product of collaborations exactly like this. It is why we think, if we came together with you, we can accomplish anything.
Plz see “How You Can Help” at the extreme bottom.
The Intended Solution:
We would like to work with you to create a solution to two concurrent challenges that keep small farmers in poverty. Those two 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.
Setting up this plant will address SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), while the collaborative process that we are seeking to help us establish this plant is SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). And, as food loss in a poor region like ours means both a missed income and food insecurity, this plant will also contribute toward SDG 2 (Zero Hunger).
Through job creation, the plant will directly contribute towards SDG 8 (Decent Work & Economic Growth). Lastly, by creating markets for more than one type of crop, this plant will enable poor farmers to diversify and earn supplemental incomes from various crops.
We will develop this plant in small incremental steps, over a period of time — depending on the support we are able to raise. Therefore, every little support that we can raise will make a small incremental beginning. If ample support is secured, we will develop it at once.
The plant shall have 2 components:
Component #1: About 4 – 8 durable, greenhouse-type solar food dryers installed at the Uganda Farm. These dryers will create markets for rural farmers in our region (both locally and via fair trade), and will help minimize post-harvest food losses, by adding value to fresh fruits/vegetables, as well as crops like cassava, moringa, ginger, and many other crops produced here.
A prototype of our intended greenhouse-type solar driers (in photos below) was installed at our project, the Uganda Farm, in Aug – Sept 2018. This prototype measures 6mx7m, but has a small capacity of 100 kg.
Our final 4 – 8 dryers, measuring 9mx27m each, will be installed by Serm Janjai of SolarLabSU.com (talks finalized), with materials from Covestro. Here below are a few 9mx27m dryers Serm has installed in Asia:
Component #2: A facility that turns fresh fruits into intermediate foods for tertiary consumers, putting to use the chunks of fruits that otherwise go to waste while people are in poverty, and linking rural farmers to high value markets they couldn’t access before — while ploughing the plant’s own incomes back into the community to support our work with fellow farmers.
Here is what #2 will look like. Please don’t be petrified by this photo; we will develop our plant in small steps, per our capacity. This is just a replica of what we need:
Both #1 and #2 will have a couple of accessories, from slicing and milling equipment, to packaging utilities.
Our project, the Uganda Farm, is already working with a network of fellow poor farmers. We support these farmers from the very first step of securing inputs (by providing them with free seed, agronomic training & ongoing follow-up). We then build market linkages for our collective produce — together with the produce that is being grown by ourselves at the Uganda Farm.
This plant will create reliable markets for our produce (minimizing food losses, creating jobs and reversing poverty), and will enhance our capacity to work with many other poor farmers across a wider geographical area (providing them with seed, training and a market) in a self-sustaining manner. The plant will also enable farmers to earn auxiliary incomes from various crops.
Even more practically, crops like passion fruits, which mature only in months, and whose seedlings will be provided by the Uganda Farm to all interested farmers free of charge, along with a ready market at harvest, will be a guaranteed way of fast tracking an exit from extreme poverty even for the poorest small farmers.
Below are a few photos of farmers the Uganda Farm works with. The first 3 were taken 2016 by Tracy, an American from RandomActs.org. The last two were taken 2018 by visitors Emily & Taylor from Northfield Mount Hermon School, Massachusetts. Photo #5 in the sequence, also taken by Emily & Taylor, is of the crops being grown by ourselves at the Uganda Farm.
What Makes Our Plant Unique?
Someone reading this page recently asked if this was another “corporate capitalist idea”. No, it isn’t. Rather, it is the kind of work SDG 9 calls for, not to mention it will be the very first such plant in our region, and is led by farmers who have lived in poverty for decades.
We are ordinary rural smallholder farmers, who are working together with many other poor smallholder farmers, and the absence of reliable markets for our produce is what keeps us in chronic poverty. It’s also a systemic challenge for farmers across our region.
Unlike traditional capitalist ventures, our plant will create markets for poor small farmers, and will use its own incomes to stem poverty in the remotest areas where nothing else is in place to end poverty. And it’s only natural that way. This will simply be a furtherance of the work we are already doing to support our fellow poor farmers in our region, on practically a $0 budget.
P.S. – to see more photos from our previous work with fellow poor smallholder farmers in our region, please see a presentation that we made before the UNDP Uganda Country Director, Ms. Almaz Gebru — and the UNDP Uganda senior team — back in 2017, in regard to the same plant that we are striving to establish.
Ownership & Legal Structure:
Our project, the Uganda Farm, is itself a nonprofit social enterprise, and all the support we provide to fellow poor farmers in our region (whether it’s seed, fertilizers or technical training) is free of charge.
To run our plant on the basis of freethought, and without subjecting our operations to the political bureaucracies that have plagued similar ventures here today, our plant will be managed by the Uganda Farm, with any incomes thereof being used to support our fellow farmers, and to maintain the plant itself.
If not, we are really open to any other ideas on this.
The Uganda Farm is located on 12 acres in a remote part of Kamuli, eastern Uganda. But, using incomes from the crops we are growing here ourselves, we were able to acquire (in 2017) another 3 acres on the outskirts of Kamuli Municipality. Component #2 above shall be installed on these 3 acres. The solar dryers, meanwhile, will be on our 12-acre premises.
A few international visitors that have been at the Uganda Farm and seen our work firsthand are: Taylor, Northfield Mount Hermon School, MA (visited 2018); Emily, Northfield Mount Hermon School, Cambridge MA (visited 2018); Neil, Fullwell Mill UK (visited 2018); Ken, Greater Impact Foundation (visited 2016); John, Anya, Claire, Josie, Poppy, Joanna & Alex — Edinburgh University (2016); Tracy, RandomActs.org (2016).
Applicability to the Local Context:
Solar processing has lately emerged as an efficient way for small farmers to minimize food losses and produce value-added foods that reach markets, e.g. via fair trade. Yet, for us, our produce only succumbs to food loss. Similarly, TechnoServe has piloted in our region (and in Kenya) the solution that we want to create on intermediate foods, with good results. So, this too is locally doable, and since we are ourselves the poor farmers who feel the pinch, we will do it.
Technical assistance for #2 will be provided to us by Partners in Food Solutions, and TechnoServe. We will also transfer knowledge from other places, such as the Benfruit Plant in Nigeria. For technical expertise on solar food drying, we already have ample training. Once we raise support, next thing is to orientate many other poor farmers on best practices, and to engage all the people needed in structuring our overall plan.
Our Biggest Motivation:
We are in an environment where it is difficult to even get a market for 5 bunches of banana in a full week.
The Uganda Farm has thus far experimented with many crops, and we have a lot of banana being grown by ourselves today, but market challenges are the same for all crops. In 2016, the Uganda Farm provided 336 fellow farmers with ginger seed. These farmers currently have tons of ginger rotting in the field (as of 2017/18), and have no market for all other crops.
Here are some of the crops that we have grown at the Uganda Farm since 2015 (photos taken by ourselves):