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Development project 4 of 16
Title
Farmer Training in Kisoro District, Uganda
Location
Communities around Mgahinga National Park, Uganda
Gorillas
Mountain gorillas
Local Partner:   KDFA
Description

Kisoro District is a densely populated area in the extreme southwest of Uganda. The majority of people earn a living through labour-intensive subsistence farming, employing inefficient agricultural practices that produce poor yields and lead to widespread poverty and environmental degradation. As a result, local people often encroach on the Mgahinga National Park to increase their farmland or trespass to obtain resources such as firewood, destroying the forests and threatening the survival of mountain gorillas. However, training in sustainable agriculture provides a viable opportunity to alleviate this situation.

Following the success of a similar programme in Rwanda, the Gorilla Organization began training the Ugandan communities alongside the park in sustainable farming techniques in late 2006. Through the project, 100 farmers received intensive training in the theory and practice of sustainable organic agriculture to become ‘Key Farmer Trainers’ (KFTs). These KFTs will then each pass what they have learnt on to a further ten farmers.

The overall goal of the project is to reduce the poverty experienced by communities living in Kisoro District, Uganda, in turn reducing human pressure on the Mgahinga National Park. The specific objectives are: 

  • To train farmers in the theory and practice of organic agriculture.
  • To provide KFTs with the necessary seeds and equipment for carrying out sustainable farming techniques, as well as livestock to enhance organic practices and improve health.
  • To assess the performance of individual KFTs to ensure they are implementing the practices taught during training workshops.
  • To support the KFTs during the secondary phase of the project in which they train their fellow community members.

 

Progress

So far, the KFTs have been trained in the theory and practice of a variety of topics including soil fertility management, nursery bed establishment and post-harvest handling, and were also tutored in nutrition and the importance of a balanced diet. Seeds and tools were distributed to all trainees, allowing them to implement the techniques they had learnt on their own farms. In addition to helping improve the livelihoods of the beneficiaries, the Gorilla Organization has also been building the capacity of KDFA by providing resources, equipment and training.

The majority of KFTs have now qualified and the secondary phase of the project, during which training is extended to additional farmers, is underway. During 2009, KFTs will take part in further workshops to hone their skills and help with extension training. Supplying the farmers with agricultural tools and equipment will facilitate this, while the continued provision of livestock, such as goats, will enhance organic farming practices by providing manure, as well as helping to reduce protein malnutrition. Study visits, for example to an agricultural show, will reinforce the techniques they have been learning about, and regular progress checks by KDFA staff will ensure both the KFTs and the farmers they train are working efficiently and achieving as much as possible.

 

 

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