By Jovita Mirembe
Small scale farming is the lead method used in organic Agriculture, the Programme manager, Empowering Small Scale Farmers in organic production, marketing and Advocacy(ESFROMA) Caritus Kampala has said.
James Mutebi said that small scale farmers who are in other words called small holder farmers who are estimated to take 80% of the farming community in Uganda, produce relatively small food volumes on small plots of land compared to large or commercial-scale farmers.
‘’ These farmers produce primarily for local consumption, but their commodities, such as maize, macadamia, avocado and vegetables like cabbages, carrots, nakati find their way into the export market. In this type of farming, the entire family and house hold ,has an important role to play in work and responsibilities on a farm that are distributed between family members’ Mutebi said.
Mutebi says that small holder farmers use the Farmer Family Learning Group(FFLG) approach in scaling up organic Agriculture which is a participatory learning-by-doing process where smallholder organic farmers come together with the guidance of a “facilitator” to find feasible solutions to improve their farming, based on what is naturally and locally available on their farms.
He said that the farmer family approach is developed out of 5 to 30 famers living in the same area who come together to develop a farming system of different farms created by each individual who continuously interact and build the capacity of farmers to manage their soils, crops, animals, markets, seeds, farmer institutions and develop their community.
‘The approach brings together the family as a “farming unit” thus when the family hosts the FFLG members, each member of the host family participates in the “hosting. This method is rotational where members get new ideas from each other’s farms that they can also easily adapt on their farms’ Mutebi says.
Godfrey Bogere the Production and Quality Assurance manager at Sulma foods said that approach has shown its strength in being a very cost effective agricultural advisory approach through which with very limited resources and a large number of smalls scale farmers and their families are empowered.
He said that the FFLG approach has contributed to the fact that more than 100,000 individuals, through participation in FFLG groups have improved their food and nutrition security as well as income and environmental sustainability through organic farming.
Masereka Longino the Chief Education Officer( CEO) Great lakes organic farmers Association(GLOFA) while presenting a paper on organic market Association in Rwenzori and their path to the market said that the biggest challenge the association has is that organic farmers produce perishable products which die the next day if not bought hence farmers getting frustrated.
He said that the only way this challenge can be curbed is to construct storage facilities with the help of government for these products and later add value on them by making them into powder form which gives them long life.
This was at an International Organic Farmer Family Agriculture(FFLG) conference that took place at Grand Global Hotel Makerere 14 November 2023 where over 100 farmers attended from Uganda, Kenya , Zanzibar, Tanzania and Denmark who displayed thier organic products that were toured by Signe Winding Albjerg Danish Ambassador to Uganda.