Over 7 million rural Ugandans live in poverty. A major part of the problem is that farmers lack the tools to increase their production, meaning they struggle to feed their families, let alone make enough to sell at the market. One cause is that many farmers still plough using a hand-held hoe, which involves incredibly slow and backbreaking work. Simple technology, such as an ox-pulled plough, coupled with improved agronomic knowledge can help farmers open more land, grow more food and significantly boost their earnings to escape the poverty trap.
Increasing agricultural production is one of FOAG’s core objectives (the other being to tackle food waste). In Iganga, eastern Uganda, we have set up our Grow More Food micro-finance project to provide loans to help farmers buy oxen and a plough, along with training, to open more land and produce more food. We have partnered with a local NGO called MTCEA to implement the project on the ground.
We believe the fastest and most empowering route out of poverty is a secure and fair income, through increased production, so that families can afford the healthcare, education and food that they and their children need. This will also reduce the reliance on charity to help make ends meet, as we help Ugandans to help themselves.
To achieve this we intend to expand the Grow More Food project significantly into new areas of Uganda. This year we are fundraising to purchase 40 sets of oxen and ploughs to reach 200 new farming households. These farmers will be given the tools to increase their production sustainably, learn how to market their produce effectively and understand how to manage their finances to provide for their family, save and invest in their future. To realise this ambition our target is to raise £30,000 over the next 6 months. We estimate this investment will increase production to the value of £76,000 in its first full year alone helping families to afford health and education and break out of the poverty cycle.