BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU
TEREGO: Wednesday, July 27, 2021
On a Friday evening, a market woman from Ocodri trading center came to Janet Driciru’s vegetable field in Olimoo village, Otumbari parish in Uriama sub county.
After a few minutes of harvest, she left but not before paying Driciru sh7,000 for the egg plants.
“That was my first earning from selling vegetables!” disclosed Driciru, 54, who is a starter in commercial egg-plant farming.
Her field has about 1,000 egg plants that have just started fruiting and she estimates to earn not less than sh1,000,000 in gross income if she gets sh1,000 from each plant.
She also has some tomatoes, onions and fruit trees that she says will serve for both her family’s subsistence needs and as a cash earner.
“The yield has been affected by drought but I am excited that I have a source of income,” she said.
Driciru is one of the family heads from the 74 households in Olimoo village where the Concerted Development Uganda (CDU), a local community based organization situated in Uriama sub county is implementing a grassroots transformation initiative using the creative orientation approach.
CDU emerged out of a merger between the Concerted Development and Uriama students’ association and through the creative orientation approach, it builds the capacity of people to understand their current situation, visualize their future and take steps towards achieving their family’s vision.
Officials believe that when scaled up this approach to implement development programmes would be the best way to lift people out of poverty.
Uriama is a sub county in Terego district with a population of 27,400 people, minus the refugee population, of which 13,800 are female and 13,600 are male and where poverty level stands at 34.9% with only 13% of the people having permanent houses according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics estimates of 2017.
“This means for us to change the situation, we need to put in a lot of effort. CDU’s approach is to cause a lasting change by helping people to have aspirations and work towards achieving them. Our basic principle is that a family is key to the development of a community,” said Ben Anguma, the CDU executive director.
He explained to the www.westniletodaynews.com that when families have a clear vision or mental picture of what they want to be in four or five years, they decide on projects that can enable them to realize that vision and then CDU mobilizes resources to support them.
So far, with a grant from the Share Institute, 25 families have been supported to establish back-home piggery projects worth sh1.8m.
Donations of vegetable seeds from the Joint Aids Programme and the Danish Church Aid saw nearly all the homes in the entire village supported to establish vegetable gardens.
The intervention was a boost for Kennedy Anguyo, a seasoned vegetable farmer for ten years who is now targeting to venture into goat rearing by using proceeds from this season’s vegetable sales.
To respond to the vagaries of weather, the farmers use mulching to retain moisture during dry spells.
However some of the new entrants like Julie Ondoru are struggling to cope with the double challenge of climate change and pests.
She planted egg plants but got nothing as most of the crop dried while pests finished off the rest.
But she says through sharing experience with the other farmers she expects to do better during the second season.
Moses Edema, the village local council chairman said the impact of the pilot programme has already been felt as the people have got an alternative source of livelihood after abandoning tobacco growing.
“I don’t expect to preside over a case of someone stealing food from another’s garden because everybody has food in their own gardens as a result of CDU’s project,” Edema said.
He added: “There is a market for the produce because people come to buy right from our homes. What we need is to increase the quantity of our produce and we shall achieve our dreams.”