By Ritah Mukasa
In Nyarugugu C and D villages in Isingiro district, groups of women are engaged in backyard farming. They grow vegetables and other crops, together.
The first group of six women are neighbours who grow vegetables in sacks from one member’s backyard.
Kaaza Muhooza, their group leader says, they started that arrangement in 2021 and have never looked back.
“All of us were jobless yet we have children to feed. We looked around for land in vain. That’s when this idea crossed one of our member’s mind,” she says.
Luckily, one of them had a somewhat big backyard. She stays on a 50X100ft plot of land and her two-bedroomed house is small meaning that almost three-quarters of the plot is bare.
They decided to utilize the backyard.
With the help of agronomists from the Youth Initiative for Community Empowerment (YICE), they started vegetable growing.
The group opted for spinach, spring onions, Sukuma wiki, green pepper and dodo (amaranths).
“The garden provides vegetables to our families. We are planning to expand to another big land and start earning,” Muhooza says.
On how they maintain the garden, she says, they follow a daily schedule. It spells out who does what on a particular day. For example, they have specific days for watering, weeding and harvesting.
The second group consists of 15 mothers using a 50X120 plot of land in Nyarugugu D. They grow and sell carrots, eggplants and leafy greens such as Sukuma wiki, spinach and dodo among others.
Petronille Ilukandora, their leader encourages other women to embrace group farming for its unlimited benefits.
Ilkandora says Jane Musonera, the garden manager is the only one allowed to harvest the vegetables.
She then distributes them among the members depending on what each wants.
She also sells and introduces the proceeds to the group. They have a savings scheme where members can get soft loans to invest in other businesses.
She says, in a week they make more than sh20,000 in vegetable sales.