|By introducing a traditional farming method of one area of Uganda, to small-holding landowners in another, Self Help is transforming the lives of thousands of farming families in it’s Kamuli project area.|
Close to 100 farmers across the project area have been provided with ox-ploughs, and have received training in animal traction methods of ploughing and opening up of their land for agriculture.
‘As soon as we started work in the Kamuli area we noticed that unlike in Amuria, the farmers in this area almost all used hand hoes for ploughing, weeding, and planting’, said project manager James Arikot.
‘Many of them had the oxen, but they were not being used as working farm animals – as there was not that tradition in this locality, the animals had not been trained, and the farmers did not have the ploughs and equipment, or the knowledge of how to work oxen in this way’.
Working alongside their community and local government partners, groups of farmers were selected for training in the area, and were provided with ox ploughs which were bought by the project in Amuria, where animal traction is more commonly practiced.
The results have been dramatic, as farmer William and his wife Miria Chabandi attest on their farm holding at Makoka in the Buyende sub-county.
‘Previously we were able to open up just over one acre for farming purposes using hand hoes, but since we have received the training and equipment, and have trained our animals, we are farming over four acres’, he said.
As a result of being able to increase his land holding under tillage, William has been able to supplement his traditional cassava and maize crops with groundnuts and beans.
The benefits have been felt amongst the wider community too, with William and Miria Chabandi having hired out their ploughing oxen to close to a dozen farmers in the local community.
‘This has not alone provided them with another opportunity to generate income for their family, as it has also increased substantially the productive land in this area’, says Self Help’s Paul Ariko.
‘At present there are 92 farmers who have similarly introduced animal traction on their farms, and a growing number of landowners are interested in doing likewise in the near future'.