Women in eastern Uganda have stepped up mobilisations towards establishing the region’s first-ever women-led state-of-art farm.
The women have organised themselves into an association dubbed Teso, Bukeddi, Bugisu and Sebei (TEBBUSE) Organic Farm.
The members chose Kachumbala for the official residence of the farm because of its strategic location which geographically favours the other member subregions.
TEBBUSE is expected to help transform lives of rural and semi-urban women across the region as well as improve the number of women participating in democracy and those in the money economy.
The final planning process of the multi-billion facility is in advanced stages and if all factors remain constant, the team is set to open its doors to the public by the end of 2023.
To so many people, President Yoweri Museveni is a role model in so many ways.
No wonder this entire group of women are embroiled in the move to keenly emulate the President, in particular, the group is interested in the President’s farm.
It all started when the group visited Museveni’s Luwero district-based Kawumu farm in December 2020.
Kawumu presidential farm is one of the most well-known and most visited agricultural fields in the country.
“Kawumu farm is what the country needs in every region because it has all the qualities we should emulate if we are to further combat poverty,” Anne Bulijo, the group chairperson, recounted.
Determined to recreate what they saw, TEBBUSE has so far secured farmland in Achuuru village Kachumbala county in Bukedea district.
They are geared towards establishing farm structures required to have their own presidential-like farm up and running.
With this up and running, TEBBUSE leadership hope that women, particularly those interested in farming from within the region will not necessarily struggle to travel the central or western regions but rather a benchmark at TEBBUSE Organic farm.
“This will serve beyond Eastern Uganda; we expect other neighbouring regions such as Acholi, Lango, Busoga and Karamoja to also benefit from this initiative,” Bulijo said.
Bulijo continued: “Over the past years, the President’s farm has inspired so many women across the country and region but not many of them from Eastern Uganda have had a chance to visit due to the distance but we want to fill this gap now.”
Though this will typically be a profit-making farm, the group is optimistic many farmers are set to benefit from the knowledge-sharing opportunities.
TEBBUSE Coordinator in charge Teso, Agela Akwii commended President Museveni for allowing them to conduct a working visit at his farm as this was the beginning of everything.
“The President’s generosity and desire to see lives changing for good was the spark. It became our own aim to ensure that we create one of such agricultural educational centres in Eastern Uganda,” Akwii noted.
She expects tens and tens of thousands to visit their presidential-inspired farm and learn as much information.
“This farm will be here long after we are dead and it will continue to transform the lives of the generations to come,” Akwii stated.
In June 2022, while at State Lodge Kapchorwa, Christine Muga the Sebei sub-region coordinator briefed President Museveni on how far TEBBUSE had come.
Impressed by the progress of the course, Museveni lauded the group stressing that he would continue rendering support to the group.
“The President has kept his promise. He vowed to back us up and he has been there from the beginning,” Ruth Alima, a member said.
More women in politics, economy
The number of women participating in directly elective positions continues to be dismal in the country, particularly in the east.
For example, in Sebei sub-region there is only one female LC5 chairperson, Evelyn Kubarika Chebet of Kapchorwa district while in Bugisu, still, only one woman went through as the LC5 district chairperson, Annet Nandudu of Bulambuli while in Teso, none holds such a position.
Judith Ewichu, the TEBBUSE patron who doubles as the Presidential Private Secretary on Women Affairs attributes this to a lack of sustainable financial ventures for women in politics.
“Most women with political inspirations have been discouraged by shortage or lack of reliable financial support to help them run their campaigns.
“Politics is financially draining, so you must prepare to dig deep into your pocket to help mobilize for votes but if you are not investing in these kinds of ventures, you will struggle to make it,” Ewichu observed.
The Private Secretary on Women Affairs further said; “Women are very crucial in society and most of them are the breadwinners in their families. Therefore, it is paramount that we support and provide them with knowledge on how to sustainably make money.”
According to Ewichu, TEBBUSE’s operations will aim at improving the number of women participating in democracy, first by equipping them with money-making skills through effective farming.
She warned against laxity, laziness and ignorance which she attributes to persistent poverty levels in most parts of Uganda, especially among women.
“Those women who do not want to work but only sit back to watch others toil for a better tomorrow need a lot of mindset-change induction,” she cautioned.
To bolster prosperity among women, the initiative has zeroed on fish farming, coffee growing, beekeeping, citrus, food crops, piggery, poultry and small-scale processing for an intensive level.
While for extensive agriculture; millet, cassava, oil seeds such as sunflowers, and ranching of indigenous cows among others.
TEBBUSE memberships also commended Museveni for identifying Ewichu – one of their founder members and promoting her to the position of Private Secretary on Women Affairs.
Before her elevation from TEBBUSE to State House, Ewichu, born of Ngora district was one renowned teacher.