Report: Improving Food Security and Agricultural Livelihoods

The “Improving Food Security and Agricultural Livelihoods” project was implemented by CPAR Uganda during a 22-months period – January 2012 to November 2013. It reached over 20,000 ultimate beneficiaries – members of 2,513 farming households in Agago District in Acholi Sub-Region in Northern Uganda.

Farmers’ knowledge and skills were enhanced through training in various topics on food production, livelihoods and working in groups. They were trained on:

  • Animal traction
  • Quality seed preservation and multiplication
  • Farming as a business
  • Post harvest handling
  • Village saving and loaning methodologies
  • Financial management.

Validation studies were conducted during two agricultural seasons, including establishment of study plots. The farmers were tested after training, and 89 percent of them who participated in the post-test assessment exercises passed.

The project procured and distributed free to farmers cuttings and seeds for the multiplication of major food security crops that are culturally desired by the Acholi. These included:

  • 1,026 bags of cassava cuttings, which farmers planted on 98.5 acres.
  • 2.65 metric tonnes of bean seeds which the farmers planted on 87.5 acres.
  • 2.9 metric tonnes of groundnut seeds which the farmers planted on 66 acres.

The beans and groundnuts did well. In the 2012 agricultural season, 16.11 metric tonnes of beans were harvested, giving a sowing to harvest ratio of 1:6; and 12.84 metric tonnes of groundnuts were harvested, giving a sowing to harvest ratio of 1:4. At the end of the project in 2013, the cassava was still in-field and doing well.

The project  equipped farmers with 40 oxen and 40 ox-ploughs, which significantly enhanced their capacities to expeditiously open more land with less human labour and in less time.

In addition, the project supported the opening of 252 acres of land, which it paid for under the cash for work mechanism.

There is evidence that the group VSL methodology had an overall positive impact. It was reported that 92 percent of the group members were actively saving with their respective group VSL association, with total savings deposits of over 63.6 million shillings and a total of over 10.7 million shillings accumulated for their welfare funds. Members had accessed loans from their respective groups – loans amounting to over 38.4 million shillings.

Note: The project was designed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO) within the framework of the Agricultural Livelihood Recovery Programme (ALREP) and it was funded by the European Union.

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