We are farmers in a remote part of eastern Uganda where poverty is rife. But we are sure to change this.
We are very humbly looking for collaborators who can work with us in person, or those who can only give us a voice, to help us create one new solution to poverty.
The goal of this page is to crowdsource collaborators.
Collaborations like these are the true essence of Goal 17, and are the only way we can end poverty for good.
Help us become more productive, so we can then use our own hands to break the yoke of poverty by 2030.
Let’s Do Something:
In our region, everyone is a smallholder farmer, and nearly every smallholder 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.
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 simply amplify our voice through social media, or those who can directly work with us on the ground in Uganda, to help us create one new solution to this.
Plz see “How You Can Help” at the extreme bottom.
And be sure to learn about our project, the UCF, here.
You might even want to see what 2 recent American visitors had to say about us, on their own blog, here.
The Intended Solution:
We would like to work with you to create a solution to two concurrent challenges that orchestrate poverty in our region. Those 2 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 shall 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.
For instance, once we only install a number of food dryers and a few accessories, that alone will help us work with many fellow poor farmers to produce the right quality of beer-making cassava & sorghum that we will then process & supply to local breweries, and will create high-value markets for many other crops.
The plant shall have 2 components:
Component #1: About 4 – 8 durable, greenhouse-type solar food dryers installed at our project, the UCF. These dryers, and their integral food processing utilities, will create markets for farmers in our region, and will help minimize post-harvest food losses, by adding value to fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as crops like cassava, cereals, moringa, ginger & others.
A prototype of our intended greenhouse-type solar food dryers (seen below) was installed at our project, the UCF, in August – September 2018. This prototype measures 6mx7m, but has a small capacity of 100kg.
Our final 4 – 8 dryers will be 9mx27m each, and shall 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 products for the food industry, 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.
To get started, our project (the UCF) will designate 4 acres of land specifically for raising large quantities of seedlings for passion fruits; pineapples; mango and others, all year round. These seedlings shall be given out to all the participating fellow farmers at no charge, along with whole grain seed for carrots and beets.
Farmers already have these fruits (disproportionately) and only lack a market. But the goal of giving out even more seed is to increase the scope of production, and to ensure that even the poorest farmers who have no inputs can participate equally, this time with a ready market. Products here will be passion fruit; pineapple; mango, carrot and beetroot purees & concentrates.
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:
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 mere rural poor 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. – for a few 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 entire UNDP Uganda team — back in 2017, in regard to the same plant that we are striving to establish.
Our project, the UCF, is already working with many fellow poor smallholder farmers. We support these farmers from the very first step of securing inputs (by providing them with initial seed & agronomic training). We thereafter look for viable markets for our produce through collective marketing — together with the produce that is being grown by ourselves at the UCF.
Setting up this plant will create reliable markets for our produce (cutting food losses, creating jobs and stemming 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 way. The plant will also help farmers earn incomes from various crops.
Even more practically, crops like passion fruits, which mature only in months, and whose seedlings will be provided by the UCF 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 smallholder farmers.
Below are a few photos of local farmers the UCF 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 that are being grown by ourselves at the UCF.
Here are a few of the crops we have grown ourselves at the UCF since 2015 (all photos taken by ourselves):