Ogwang Denis 54 years from Alebere parish abolet village Barr Sub County in Lira district
We have lived here for 30 years and have 6 children with 1 grandchild. Life here has been difficult especially during the Lord’s Resistance Army war.
We have since childhood derived our livelihood from agriculture and specifically tilling of land. We used to undertake farming using different methods that we were used to and saw our fore fathers using, although we never realized any changes in the farm output.
However the story changed in 2011 when we were selected by Kulika Uganda and we were trained in Sustainable Organic Agriculture. We adopted practices like growing crops in line, not burning the field, making nursery beds for vegetables among others.
Through the groups, we are able to bulk our crops and keep it in our nice store as we wait for prices to get better to enable us sell. The VSLA Activities the group and pay back later, through this arrangement I have been able to access money and pay fees for my children because I sell produce and get more money as a result of selling with others.
We now eat well as we grow vegetables like tomatoes, pumpkin, fruits like mangoes and we eat as well as sell some. This has also helped to bring some more money.
Bito Okino is 58 year old female that belongs to note teko group, Adem village in Adem parish Chegere Sub County Apac district. She has 10 acres of land on which she grows simsim, soya, beans, Cassava, sun flower and maize.
“I joined Kulika in 2011 and since then I have benefited from the training and the group activities. I now know when to plant crops and harvest in time, I have many friends around here and beyond in other groups because of the exposure visits that we undertake.
I borrowed money from the group and used it to buy some 2 goats and started my small home shop to sale soda and some other items like soap and this has improved my family and supported me to buy stuff like stationery for my grandchildren, paying school fees for my son who is in senior six as well as meet the basic family requirements. The money I get from the shop and selling of produce some people to help me in the garden work like land preparation, planting, weeding and harvesting.
During group saving days, I take my some of the items I sell like sodas, salt etc. group members usually buy from me and I then I save the money I earn on such days with the group.
Rose Onduri is 50 year old widow in alela village abunga parish barr sub county in barr sub county Lira district and a member of my Anyim pogeo group.
She has 4 acres of land on which she grows sun flower, maize, cassava but sunflower has the highest yields?????? How much: and what were the yields before the training????
Before I joined Kulika, the farming practices that we were using were not yielding much, for example I used to get …. Of simsim, ---- of maize, … of sunflower, …. Of cassava. But when we joined the Kulika training programme in 2011, the story changed for example the yield increased to ---- simsim ---- of maize, of sunflower… of cassava. Besides the increase in yields, home hygiene has also improved as a result of ---- that was adopted as well as kitchen gardens for vegetables that have facilitated easy access to various vegetables.
I pay school fees for my children and grandchildren from the produce proceeds and sometimes I borrow some money from the groups where I save and then pay back using the money from the crop sales
I have gained knowledge and skills in sustainable organic agriculture that I can even train other members at a cost and gain some income as well.
Unice Ojok and her husband standing in the maize garden new home in olole village oberi parish barr Sub County aged 49 years with 7 children and 1 grand child
We grow crops like beans, cassava, millet, sorghum, sweet potatoes, soya beans, sim-sim, ground nuts, lapena and we sale to get school fees, buy family needs and save some in the VSLA group where I belong. The training from Kulika equipped us with skills for grow better yielding crops which we plant in lines compared to before when we could just broad cast the seeds in the field and get poor yields. We now get better crop yields due to proper timing of planting, weeding and improved post-harvest handling.
The money we get, we have been able to pay school fees for our 7 children and 2 of them have studied up to senior six and one has joined Uganda police force while one has gone to university. We would not have been able to pay their fees if our crop yields had not improved.
I got 100,000/= shillings from the group saving and bought 18 chicks so that I can rear them for multiplication and later sell them.
Molly Otim 47 year old female from Abanyi village, oberi parish.
Before I joined Kulika we were not farming properly and crops would fail to give us better yields and after training with Kulika I can tell you that we have greatly improved on the farming aspects planting crops in line, weeding in time, harvesting in time and more so planting in lines which gives a good yield and also one can save the seeds because one plants according to the area.
I grow Cassava, beans, soya, millet sweet potatoes etc and as a result of the benefits of improved yields, I bought ox- plough and bulls
We were staying in grass thatched house but after growing sun flower the way we were trained we managed to save some money and built this iron house and destroyed the grass house
Before Kulika training, people were staying lonely without being in groups and also doing their own things but after group formation it has brought people together and that is as a result of now VSLA in the community we are all happy about the initiative
Our land is small about 6 acres but with the money from crop sales we hire more land for crop production and we pay 100,000 for the whole year which gives us two seasons
I borrow money from the group for paying fees and weeding crops which I pay back as soon as I sell the produce.
For better yield, I plan, plan plan!
Otim is married with seven children, 5 sons and 2 daughters. His daughters are married while two of the boys have done Primary Leaving Examinations and another is undertaking vocational training, specializing in mechanics.
Otim is a farmer with 10 acres of land, all under use. He joined the project in 2014 and as part of a group, he has learnt about land clearing, and seed acquisition before the rains come. Otim now plans his farming on time and has obtained high yield. From one and three quarters of his land, he grows sunflower. He got five (5) bags from this piece, but with proper planning, he is now getting twelve bags from the same piece of land.
In addition to sunflower, he also grows beans, maize, potatoes, cassava, groundnuts, sunflower, simsim and rice. He also keeps poultry (30 birds) and has 8 goats, 10 sheep and 3 cows.
Through the cooperative facilitated by Kulika Uganda, he has got market for his produce. For the special variety of rice he grew, Otim sold 100kg at UgShs 2,000 each. If he had not sold through the cooperative, he would have sold at UgShs1000 or at UgShs800 through a middleman.
He also earned UgShs 700,000 from cassava that he grew on a quarter of an acre. This was not money he anticipated as he previously planted cassava only for his family’s consumption. But with the 20 bags he sold at UgShs 35,000, which was enough for him to install solar in his home. And he did. He says he is going to focus a little more on cassava.
The Lira farmer is making more plans and his next step, he says, will be to improve on transport. He would like to replace his old bicycle, and this will cost him UgShs 250,000. “I would [also] like to buy more oxen to replace the old one and this will double opening land as well as manure.”
He is currently growing chilies which he is selling already sold 7kg each at 10,000 and he is still growing more.
Eliminating the middleman for better gains
Adoko is married to three wives, and lives in Abedi Village in Kedirani Parish. He has seven children. He has 10 acres of land on which he grows sunflower (3 acres), maize (2 acres) and soya bean (1 acre).
He gets about 60-70 bags of sunflower, 40 bags of maize and 5-6 bags of soya bean. Each bag weighs 100kgs.
Adoko is part of the farmer groups which Kulika Uganda has established in Lira district. His biggest benefit from joining the group is market prices that are set by the cooperative formed by the group.
Middle man price
Adoko says, “when you sell individually, middlemen cheat you on price and quantity because they use faulty scales with low prices but at a group level, the groups set the price for the bulked price.” The prices that are set by the cooperative are higher than those set by middle men, allowing a higher profit.
Since he joined the group, Adoko has improved in financial discipline, budgeting and prioritizing. “In rural areas we get money but never plan. This project equipped us with skills and knowledge of budgeting.”
The programme has equipped me with skills that led to the increase of yields. He learnt good agronomy practices that have increased his yields. He is getting twice as much from his land, going from 30-40 bags of sunflower grown on 3 acres to 60-70 bags and 3-4 bags of soya bean to 5-6 bags.
He saves some of his money in the VSLA and is able to borrow from the group to take care of some needs. His lifestyle has improved and he is currently paying fees for his children in a school. Six of his children need UgShs90,000, each, per term for tuition and each of them also takes 20kg of beans, 30Kg maize and 3kg sugar in addition. The children were previously in Universal Primary Education (UPE) schools paying only development fees of UgShs5000 per term and examinations fees of UgShs1200. But Adoko says the quality of education was not good and his first daughter did not perform well. He decided to change schools and put his children in a private school that had better education services.
He is now constructing a commercial building in Abedi trading center and estimates it to cost about 20m.
Adoko keeps record of his crop yields and can now make projections of his yield and estimate income. He learnt all this within the group and now plans better, factoring in costs of production. He knows which crop is more profitable and determines how much land to devote to different crops. This, he says also helps him know how much money to borrow and when he will pay it back.
I hire out some of my land-
Opio, 52, lives in Ajaya village in Agulurude Parish. She has 6 acres of land and she hires out two acres at UgShs50,000 each per year. She grows soya bean on 3 acres of land where she got 700kgs in first season and 200kgs from 2 acres in the second season. She grew beans on 1 acre and got 200kg.
She further procures produce specifically simsim and beans. She buys and keeps as she waits for prices to improve. She currently has 400kg of simsim that she bought Ug Shs 1800 each kg and will sell it at UgShs 3,000 per kg. In addition to the 700kg of soya bean, she bought 400 additional kgs and sold it at a higher price.
Through this business she has been able to buy ox plough and is constructing a permanent structure for her home.
She has planted pine trees and is continuing to add more for future timber needs. She has also planted fruit (mangoes, orange) trees.