Paradijs Farm, which means Paradise farm lies in a serene, green setting with giant trees lining the driveway from the small tarmac road up to the entrance. This farm is located in Barneveld, in the cattle keeping area of the Netherlands. The best farmers were visiting the Netherlands courtesy of the Embassy of the Netherlands, DFCU Bank, KLM Airlines, Koudjis Nutrition BV and Vision Group.
“This farm is unique because while it produces foods and other products commercially, it is also known as a Care farm because it incorporated caring for the elderly and disadvantaged as part of the activities,” explained Ysbzahd Shcei, the owner of the farm.
Although the farm structure and general setting has been in existence for many years, Ysbzahd took over the farm around 16 years ago, after the previous owner stopped running it. Among other enterprises, the farm keeps around 6,000 chicken, under an organic semi intensive arrangement, where they are allowed to scavenge for feeds during the spring and summer, while at the same time staying in well-constructed structures. The farm also grows strawberries on over an acre, keeps pigs for sale plus growing vegetables.
Frank van den Berg, the youthful farm manager explained that although the chicken are kept on a semi intensive system, they are producing at a rate of over 85%. “Giving them time to run around and exercise makes them stronger and more mentally and psychologically stable, hence producing more eggs,” he said. However, most Ugandan farmers said that although the system is good, it may not be so effective in Uganda given the common threats from thieves and predators in Uganda.
“It is not so common in Uganda for a farmer to run a farm with an element of caring for the elderly for example,” said Josephat Byaruhanga, from the Embassy of the Netherlands in Uganda and who is leads the touring farmers. He asked Ugandan farmers to give copy and combine commercial agriculture with giving back to the community around them.