Preventative Health Care (PHC) through Food, Nutrition and Environment Security is a major programming area for CPAR Uganda Ltd (CPAR). CPAR’s work in the area of PHC contributes to increased quantities, qualities and varieties of food crops that smallholder farmers produce at household level. For example, farmers who benefited from CPAR implemented interventions in 2013 attained harvest to sowing ratios as high as 1:6 for beans and 1:4 for groundnuts in Acholi; and 1:3 for groundnuts and for sorghum in Karamoja.
Through its PHC programmes, in 2013, CPAR reached over 120,000 ultimate beneficiaries (assuming an average household unit of seven persons) and over 17,000 direct beneficiaries, members of 573 farmer field school groups (FFS groups) located in 37 sub-counties in eight districts of Uganda – Agago, Lamwo, Nwoya, Pader, Alebtong, Dokolo, Oyam. Abim, Amudat and Nakapiripirit; of which at least 36 percent of the beneficiaries were youth, aged 18 – 35 years.
In 2014, five months after the activities of the five-year CPAR implemented Farmers First (FF) programme ended an independent journalist interviewed a farmer, Mrs. Jamila Eton, who had benefited from the FF programme. The journalist wrote a story which was published in the Daily Monitor under the section: “Seeds of Gold” and with the title: “Dokolo farmer earning from sunflower, simsim.” The journalist quotes Jamila as having said:
“Through CPAR, a local NGO, we were taught good farming methods. They showed us to grow sunflower in rows, with one seed per hole. In a season, I plant 15 kilogrammes on three acres. This costs me Ushs. 48,000. The last season was a successful one. I earned Ushs. 1.2 million. In addition to farming methods, CPAR has taught us to work together as a group and cut out the middlemen. I like working in groups because it is motivating and gives one the morale to work harder. One also gets to know other people, so he or she is not confined to himself or herself.”
During 2014 to 2015, CPAR underwent organisational restructuring. The ‘renewed’ CPAR is focused on operating within the paradigms of the change agent model and of the social enterprise model.
By operating within the two models, CPAR has few full-time paid staff and part-time paid intervention specific Associates. Currently, as of 18th April 2017, CPAR has five full-time paid members of staff (including support staff). CPAR Staff and Associates are expected to build the capacity of and work through part-time paid volunteer community agents of change or animators or facilitators in order to stimulate and nurture social enterprise among the communities it serves.
CPAR is piloting its change agent social enterprise model to promote human nutrition and climate sensitive agriculture around its properties, code-named: “Base Camps” – land and buildings - that are located in the districts of Lira, Oyam, Pader and Gulu.
The objectives being:
- Improved dietary diversity and nutrition of benefiting households - children, women and men.
- Environment regeneration and preservation.
- Developed and sustainable agricultural value chains of high value crops that benefit smallholder farmers.
- Improved income generation for the benefiting smallholder farmers.
CPAR is working to revive and improve the environment of its Base Camps through agro-forestry with a focus on fruit trees and woodlots of indigenous varieties. The plan is to share the acquired knowledge with benefiting smallholder farmers for free, but the seedlings will be sold to the smallholder farmers at a nominal fee, in order to nurture enterprise. The little fees paid by the benefitting smallholder farmers will be utilised to further manage and develop the enterprises for continued sustainability and demonstration of viability. Follow-up extension services will also be provided for free.
The first step of CPAR’s change agent social enterprise is to transform its Base Camps into demonstration and learning centres; which centres are crucial for training farmers in self-reliant participatory development – for income generation and for nutrition. The establishment of the demos is on-going and is being done in a manner in which the community is involved – working hand in hand with CPAR in order that all of the smallholder farmers who participate can also replicate the enterprises at their respective homes.
CPAR aspires to establish at its Base Camps demos on nutrition sensitive agricultural technologies and has plans to introduce demonstration drip irrigation, using water from rain water harvesting, similar to initiatives that His Excellency the President of Uganda is promoting on his Presidential Farm in Luwero, for example.
Using its Base Camps as epicentres, CPAR is developing and sustaining agricultural value chains for crops beginning right from seed selection to consumption and marketing – it has started with Hibiscus Sabdariffa Fruit and an assortment of indigenous vegetables.
CPAR is working with farmers in developing agricultural value chains by giving farmers start up seeds and knowledge throughout one farming season; and in the form of contract farming within the philosophy of social enterprise. The crop value chains that CPAR promotes are tested for economic value, nutritional value and cultural acceptability.
Photo: CPAR Staff harvesting vegetables - cowpeas leaves – from the demo that they established at the CPAR Lira Base Camp. CPAR members of staff regularly sell vegetables from the demos and they also consume some.