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LEGS IMPROVING LIVES IN RWENZORI SUB-REGION

The Local Economic Growth Support (LEGs) is an integrated Rural Development (IRD) initiative supported by Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and Government of Uganda.

The Project, which was launched in May 2019, aims to improve household incomes of small holder Farmers in the 17 selected districts across the country.

The Project is supporting the targeted Districts to Rehabilitate Community Access Roads for farmers to access markets, Market Facilities, Agro Processing Facilities, Bulking and Storage Facilities, Milk Collection Centers, Infrastructure to provide Farmers with Water for Production and Consumption among others.

Under the Project, farmers in the target districts are also accessing Affordable Rural Financing for Agro-Inputs, Value Addition Technologies, Bulk Transport Facilities and Machinery. 

The Ministry of Local Government through the Project Management Unit (PMU), conducts periodic Monitoring of ongoing and completed interventions under the Project. The PMU visited the Districts of Kyenjojo, Bunyagabu and Ntoroko to access the progress of project activities.

This Report summarizes some of the early results and milestones registered under the Project since its inception, and how the livelihoods of the beneficiaries are being transformed.

 KYENJOJO DISTRICT

Kyenjojo District, is majorly a Tea Growing District. 80% of the Small Holder Farmers in the District are involved in Tea Growing. In 1969, Government established Mabale Tea Factory. This was later privatized and is currently owned by the Tea Growers Cooperative since 2003.

The Mabale Tea Growers Cooperatives extends several services to its members such as Training of Modern Tea Farming Practices, Credit for Inputs, Market for Tea, and processing of harvested tea. The Cooperative positions itself as a key player in the tea sector of Kyenjojo and therefore a strategic partner to rally support for Tea Growers in the District.   

In 2020, the Ministry of Local Government partnered with Kyenjojo District Local Government and Mabale Tea Growers Cooperative to revive the Fertilizer Scheme at Mabale Tea Factor. The Ministry, under the LEGS Project provided 315 metric tons of NPK 26:5:5 Fertilizers.

 Kyenjojo District Local Government provided Technical Expertise, Extension Services in application of the fertilizers, and Quality Assurance. Mabale Tea Growers Cooperative was responsible for the distribution of the fertilizers and recovery of the funds.

Workers offloading green tea leaves from a truck before processing at Mabale Tea Factory.

Speaking to the PMU team while monitoring the project in Kyenjonjo district, Joseph Ahebasibwe the field manager for Mabale tea factory said, the partnership by Government to offer fertilizers was a true game changer for the farmers, there was change in production, quality of the green leaf tea and increased incomes for the farmers.

The application of fertilizers to the monoculture plant increased production of quality and quantity of the green leaf thus increasing income. The farmers were able to produce 12m kgs of green leaf compared to the past years where they only produced 7mkgs. The increase of green leaf directly impacted on the prices of tea from 0.7 dollars to 1.42 dollar in 2020.

Ahebasibwe added that the comparative had recovered 98.9% of all the revolving fund they had received from government to purchase fertilizers, and from this fund the factory had purchased extra 4000 bags which were distributed to 320 active farmers.

Kyalyegira one of the Model farmers in his 10 acres garden tea.

Interacting with some of the successful farmers who are members in the Mabale Comparative, George Kyalyegira from Kyabaranga Parish, Bugaki Sub country said, he had received fertilizers and Seedlings from the factory with support from Government and his life had never been the same, “I have been a tea farmer for over 30 years, I am able to sustain my family and I have paid school fess for my eight children of which two are mechanical engineers and one of them holds a master’s in Education”, he said excitedly.

Many farmers in the district have embraced tea farming because it generates more income since they plunk the green tea weekly unlike other crops that are seasonal. 12% of the farmers in the Comparative are women and 28% makes up the labour force.

Ms. Jane one of the beneficiaries, plunking green tea leaf in her 5-acre garden.

BUNYAGABU DISTRICT.

Bee Keeping

A staff at BBC making bee hives to be distributed to farmers

Bunyangabu Beekeepers Cooperative (BBC), is a community organization that takes beekeeping very seriously, using nature gifts to help the farmers live in harmony with the environment that surrounds them.

Bunyagabu Bee Keepers are benefiting from Component 2 of the LEGs project. The member-based Comparative was offered a loan from Micro finance center of 120 million at an interest of 0.07 in 2021 to equip and train farmers. The comparative has since registered a number of accomplishments.

BBC owns an apiary which is well stocked with all types of bee-hives ranging from traditional to modern ones. Fresh comb honey is available from BBC between March-May and August-November.

Milestones.

BBC owns an apiary which is well stocked with all types of bee-hives ranging from traditional to modern ones. Fresh comb honey is available from BBC between March-May and August-November.

The Comparative has six collective centers, these have since been strengthened. The fund provided working capital to pay the farmers and also purchase bee products such as honey, wax and propolis.

The Comparative has since registered 749 from 448 farmers and over 1000 unregistered farmers. These farmers are trained and skilled at zero cost and this has increased productivity. The comparative harvests over 50 tunes of honey.

The Comparative is able to pay school fees for farmers children, this money is paid back inform of honey products. This has helped children to stay in school thus improving livelihoods.

Coffee Farming

Bunyangabu coffee farmers have the reason to smile after Government through the LEGs project started the construction of a value chain processing plant in Gatyanga Village Rwimi Town council.

It is quite hard to separate an average Ugandan home from coffee legacy as a crop whose income has enabled education, health care and development in homes modern. Coffee has become the leading export in the country over the years. Over 1.8 million households in 114 districts grow coffee as a source of income.

Ongoing construction of the value chain processing plant at Rwimi T/C

Gatyanga- Nyabwina coffee farmers co-operative society are the direct beneficiaries of the facility.

Speaking to one of the comparative members, Ms. Masika Esitajona from Gatyanga Village who has been member for the last eight years, said the farmers are selling their coffee in Kasese District at shs.7000. she hopes that once the facility is completed the farmers will sell their coffee as high as shs.10000 per kg.

Ms. Masika a single mother of four children in her one-acre coffee plantation.

Ministry Staff interacting with Gatyanga-Nyabwina coffee farmers’ cooperative members.

NTORONKO DISTRICT.

Ntoroko District is among the districts benefiting from Component 1 of the project, water for enhanced Agricultural Productivity and environmental conservation.

The Ministry of Local Government under the LEGs is going to build a water dam at Katookye for both livestock farmers and human consumption. The dam will support different commuties in the district thus addressing the community outcries of water.

The project has also constructed other facilities in the district such as value chain processing plants and Community access roads to improve livelihoods of the people.

Construction of Kisembo Muleju-Rwabuhinga 8.7km community access road.

Ministry Staff pose for a picture with the beneficiaries of the maize and rice processing factory that is under construction in Ntoronko District.

Vanilla Growing in Ntoroko

 

By; Joan Uwamaria, PR Assistant

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