By Kellen Owente
A Church of Uganda agricultural programme aimed at transforming communities has registered early success, according to the Rev. Can. William Ongeng, the Provincial Secretary.
Ongeng says the beneficiaries, especially in Busoga, had been transformed in as much as food production was concerned.
“After a Senior Management monitoring visit to Busoga Diocese in Jinja, Canon Ongeng expressed gratitude for the programme’s early success and said he was optimistic about its potential to transform targeted communities,” a press release noted.
Busoga Provincial Treasurer Balaam Muheebwa said women’s income had greatly improved after embracing church programmes.
“Today we visited a number of projects supported by the church and government through NAADS, including cows and pigs. Women are very involved, and we are seeing a difference. Some beneficiaries have benefited from the sale of milk thus improving their incomes. It is very gratifying that they are yearning for more.” Muheebwa said.
The Rev. Andrew Agaba, the Director of Household and Community Transformation, said some of the heifers had already given birth. Members were already preparing to pass them on to the next line of beneficiaries.
“We are impressed that this project is beginning to impact the livelihoods of different households in different Dioceses, improving income according to some of the farmers that we saw.” Agaba said.
The project is part of the pilot programme in five dioceses, and there church hoped to expand to the other 32 Dioceses in the next five years.
The five pilot dioceses include Busoga, Central Buganda, South Ankole, Kitgum and West Lango.
“We shall move to West Lango to monitor the forty heifer projects, piggery and rainbow chicks, then proceed to Kitgum and in the near future proceed to Central Buganda to see the ginger production and other interventions that are being implemented,” Agaba said.
Beneficiaries speak out
The Rev. Aggrey Mutebe, the Parish Priest of Magamaga Parish in Jinja district, said, “I am one of the beneficiaries who received a heifer from the Provincial Secretariat, and it has brought joy to our home. My wife and I were struggling to buy milk from far, but now we have our own cow which gives us milk for drinking and sale. We get cow dung from the heifer which we take to our banana plantation, giving us additional income.”
According to Esther Aliwayoki, the project Coordinator for Busoga Diocese, they received 3,000 rainbow chicks, 200 piglets, and 40 heifers.
“All these inputs were given to different beneficiaries in the dioceses to improve income and food security in their households. The challenges are diseases and high costs of feeds, but through training and capacity building, we will improve to have enough food and inclusive income.”
Last year, the Church of Uganda requested for a collaboration with the government of Uganda through NAADS to mobilize communities for socio economic transformation through an agricultural development programme.