I Reinvent Cooperative Farming and the Granary in Uganda

18 03 2010

“Food security is not just about a one meal.”

Cooperative farming is a system where farmers voluntarily come together,pool their resources in buying farm inputs,using resources (like land ,water, machinery) and market the produce and
divide the earnings.
Just like I said in: I report inadequate food access and availability in Uganda.
“Many regions in Uganda are practicing subsistence agriculture – mainly because the land is owned by private individuals in small plots; so, the
people choose what to do on their plots of land.”
Because family farms in Uganda are too small, not to mention issues like poverty – which makes modern farming equipment very expensive. Cooperative farming offers farmers a machinery pool, a marketing cooperative and a credit union.
Every thing that a local Ugandan farmer needs:

  • a platform to share farming skills and produce together as a team
  • the marketing cooperative ensures that farmers are not exploited against by the middle men.
  • the credit union makes it easy for farmers to acquire the loans they need to improve on their farms.

In Uganda, farming goes beyond just feeding one family. Agriculture is an “Economic Activity”. Even with subsistence farming being very common, farmers still hope to sell a small portion of their yields to generate some income. The problem comes when the yields are too small for the family. This where the poor farmer is stuck between “conflict of wants”:

  1. sell some of the small produce to provide other basic necessities (which in many cases results into food shortages). OR
  2. reserve all the farm yields for the family (which results into failure to provide other basic necessities)

A brief background of Cooperative Agriculture in Uganda
Cooperative farming exists Uganda – or at least it used to, but it didn’t turn out very well.
This is because:

  • at the time demand for food was not as high as it is today,
  • at the farmers didn’t see the need for modern farming equipment – no need for loans
  • farming on the family farms was subsistence – no need for agricultural markets or even machinery pool

Today, the agricultural sector is being modernized, demand for food is increasing day by day. It is about time we took farming to the NEXT Level – Cooperative farming.
This will help local farmers over come smallness. Production is done cooperatively providing a platform to share production land, machinery, skills and earnings.

THE GRANARY:

Scenario 1: “Our cooperative(s) has worked hard all season to produce corn or beans or whatever it is we have produced. Now, WHAT NEXT?”
A granary is a storehouse for threshed grain – helps to keep grain from rodents reach.
Granaries used to be common in many parts of East and Northern Uganda where grains like millet, corn (maize) are commonly grown.

A traditional granary is a round-shaped structure of about 8ft circumference, usually raised at least 3ft above the ground. It is constructed using local material such as mud and wattle and plastered
with a layer of cow dung to fill up holes and smoothen the finishing.

What happened to the Granary?

It all goes back to subsistence farming:

  1. Because the farmers are not cautious about the state of food access in Uganda, they gave up on the granaries.
  2. Increased levels of poverty – farmers want to sell off the surplus of their yields because thats the only way of earning to cater for other basic necessities (like school fee for the children and health care)
  3. farmers produce enough for their families – hence nothing to keep in the granaries.

Also READ: bosco-Uganda: The Granary and Granary – the Solution to Drought and Famine.

Of course the granary helps with seed security. Where there is NO seed security, food security cant be possible.

Increasing food access in the community and beyond:
I encourage farmers to start up cooperatives, we have explored some of the most important advantages (take advantage of economies of scale).
In my home village farmers are already coming up with such strategies – now the only thing to do is to help them make their cooperatives work – for social and economic benefit.

The Granary is very important. At least one granary per community. This will help check famine and rural poverty. But of course a community granary wouldn’t make much sense if the communities are not providing equal efforts towards food production. So, first I demand for equal commitment towards the cooperative society and once we have this spirit in place, we Reinvent Cooperative Farming and the Granary to increase and improve on farm yields while ensuring better storage measures for the seeds and yields.

READ COMMENTS ON MY URGENT EVOKE BLOGHERE

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