Lake Victoria basin Farmers Organization on Agro-Forestry Program (FOAP)KADERES has been in partnership with VI-Agro forestry for the last 5 years strongly empowering farmer groups, and other vulnerable groups through their 8 SACCOS in Karagwe and Kyerwa Districts on Environmental protection, soil and water conservations, agricultural practices and sustainability which has proved very successful. Within this period KADERES has improved service delivery capacities for farmer groups and rural SACCOS both in Karagwe and Kyerwa districts aiming at facilitating the peasants and smallholder farmers to get Fair price for agricultural produce in a sustainable way. The farmer groups and their families began to actively participate in sustainable environmental management through advocating and guiding the community to plant more trees but also ensuring that their rights are respected and upheld in the implementation of their day to day development activities. KADERES' development policy entails working with vulnerable farmer groups and ensures that those farmers are trained on entrepreneurship, saving and credit schemes and other areas which can directly improve their development.
Farmer Organization in Agro-forestry is a project which is based on a farming system which increases agricultural productivity while restoring degraded land to productive use and offers opportunities for realizing more dependable economic return and diversity of outputs and benefits on a sustainable basis. The recommended Agro forestry tree species and Fruit trees planted help in improving the crop yields by improving soil structure and fertility, reducing soil erosion and provide shades and wind breaks to farms through their shaded foliages/Leaves. The Project ensures income generation and food security and to achieve the following below:-
- The method is through conducting trainings to farmers to increase their farm incomes by effective, efficient and sustainable use of production methods such as land, labor capital and management
- To promote farmer Groups to link them effectively with service providers such as commodity markets and financial institutions.
- To encourage market oriented production to move from subsistence type of farming to business type of farming and value addition to the farmers produce. These are conducted through participatory approaches. The good practices are integration of crop production, tree planting and livestock keeping which enables farmers to diversify their productions for their home consumptions and surpluses for sales.
ChallangesThe challenges we are faced with are unpredictable weather and inadequate information sharing by the various Government Departments and LGA. KADERES FOA Project Staff in collaboration with Vi-Agro-forestry Staff conducted different trainings to small holder farmers, farmer groups, Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) members and identified factors that contribute to inequalities as follows:-
- Limited awareness among families on mainstreaming gender issues
- Male chauvinism is another problem among family members.
- Individuals living with HIV/AIDS fear to come out in open due to reprisal of perceived stigmatization.
- Division of labour among society still a problem
- Limited participation of Women on different economic development activities
- Women have no right of properties ownership such as land and other fixed assets. ( it is because of culture and tradition it takes long to change people's minds significantly . so we train and shall continue to campaign against this culture as long as it still exists )
Further trainings are still needed to create basic and advanced awareness on concepts of Gender, HIV/AIDS policies and products developed which can empower women economically
KADERES has been implementing seven components in 2015:
- Organization Development:
Board members and technical staff have been motivated to practice good leadership and governance through conducting different trainings and self internal octagon assessment . This has increased awareness on the Project internalization and the technical ability of staff, Board members were enhanced to monitor implementation of project activities which are progressing on the ground.
- Agro-forestry Environment & Climate Change:
There is decrease in land degradation evidenced by 1445 farmers being trained and shown improvement on planting different trees such as (Markamia Lutea, Maesopsis Eminii, Acrocarpus Flaxiniolius, Persia Americana . Also the farmers were supported with sweet potatoes vain as diversification crops. 42,000 tree seedlings raised in the established nurseries at Nkwenda learning Centre and Faraja group which is situated at Omkiyonza- Nkwenda, have been distributed to farmers and farmer groups.
- Farmer Enterprise Development:
Farmers have been trained on entrepreneurship which transformed them from subsistence farming to agribusiness. Through growing food crops farmers have started diversification which is leading them into various income generating activities in the aspect of value addition, whereby 40 groups earned income from selling dried bananas, honey and banana wines.
- Lobby & Advocacy:
There is an increase of awareness among farmers concerning their roles as Right holders especially after undergoing the Human Rights Basic Approach (HRBA) concepts through Lobbying and Advocacy training which was conducted in April 2015 to Village Leaders, Ward Executive Officers, SACCOs Officials, and District Officers and Lead farmers. The concept of HRBA has strengthened capacities of targeted groups
- Mainstreaming Gender HIV/AIDS:
This has been improved and achieved as a result of Gender mainstreaming(gender disparities and measures) trainings conducted to KADERES staff , Small holders farmers and Board members on Rural Women empowerment and leadership roles among the rural farmers. And through the implementation of this component, KADERES has developed workplace HIV/AIDS to ensure a consistent and equitable approach to the prevention of HIV/AIDS among employee and their families.
20 kitchen gardens among vulnerable groups especially PLWHIV have been established for mitigation of nutrition deficiency to build the immunity of the infected.
- Children & Youth:
Trainings were conducted to 435 out of 800 School children from 10 selected Primary Schools on Agro-forestry and Environment Conservation. As a result, 8 environmental clubs were establishment and each has a tree nursery. Student members of these environmental clubs were issued 350 tree saplings to plant at their homes. By doing so, these students became the change agents among their communities encouraging other community members to join the movement. Now many parents of these students have setup nurseries at their homes.
- Coordination and programming
The major deviation is technical assistance by the FOA field officers / extensionists to our registered Fairtrade/Organic Coffee farmers to maintain Internal Control System (ICS) and through the support we have been able to maintain Organic/Fairtrade coffee certificate valid up to 4th April 2019.
Other than VI, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) is also supporting KADERES to help the smallholder farmers in the area get out of poverty. Through their Improved Market Access for Poor (IMA4P) project, we have introduced a Lead Farmer approach whereby one individual farmer from each group (one group consists of 40 farmers) is identified for trainings on best agriculture practices and on Fairtrade/Organic farming. These lead farmers then train their respective group members helping us to reach out to a bigger community. With support from VSO, the number of lead farmers has been increased from 50 to 100, reaching out to a total of around 4000 farmers.
With support from IMA4P, we are also doing a pilot project with 21 farmers identified from the 9 zones where KADERES works. The chosen farmers are the poorest of the poor in their respective villages with a land holding of less than an acre and not being in a position (financially) to cultivate it. These farmers are provided with coffee, banana and fruit tree seedlings to plant on their fields. With this project -if successful- we want to showcase it to be the community that small farms with an initial injection of capital can make a difference.
Through this project, farmers are enabled to shift from peasantry farming to agri-business farming approach; agricultural sustainability and conservation of the natural resource base. Communities have improved access to basic rights including the right to live in a better environment, the right to live free from HIV/AIDS, the right to access food, the right to education for their children, the right to access employment and the right of equal treatment for both girls and boys, women and men in all spheres of social-economic development of their lives.