The majority of Ugandans are net-buyers of food. They buy more of the food that they eat than they eat the food that they produce themselves. Even among smallholder farmers, the majority grow food to sell and then buy food to eat.
It is no wonder that when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and Uganda took preventative measures of a lock down, the first major impact was that thousands of Ugandans, particularly so, the urban dwellers, were rendered almost instantly food insecure.
There is an urgent argument to be made for us all to become more dependent on food that is grown locally and that can be easily accessible within a particular community, particularly so, easy to perish food, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Well, four young adults, three university graduates and a university student, that are among the first cohort of our project: “Mentoring Young Adults into Innovators” have innovated; and have taken on the challenge of producing food locally.
Enon, Ann and Ezra are making sure that the grounds at our Lira Learning Centre are maintained, while at the same time are used to implement their “Food in Lawns” project. They have begun to grow vegetables and fruits for the market.
Bency decided to exit Lira City and to return to her parents home, where she is growing groundnuts for the market, in order that she raises capital in order to establishes a retail shop at her ancestral village.
CPAR Uganda Ltd is providing these young innovators with financial and knowledge assistance and we are rooting for them to succeed. Both projects are an opportunity for us to pilot changes in our mentoring programme. The innovations of these four young adults have inspired a re-think of our mentoring programme, which, because of COVID-19 preventative measures, we can no longer deliver in the original format for which it was designed.
Watch this space, we will up-date you when the re-think is done. In the meantime, our hope is restored and we are encouraged that we will prevail.