Kamuli, Uganda – The answer to feeding Africa’s extreme poverty could be Africa itself according to the Uganda Community Organic Farm (UCOF).
The farm plans to train local farmers on organic horticulture systems that have faster/high returns, and to help the farmers access stable and collaborative organic marketing channels — focusing on Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), the first concept of its kind on the continent.
“This is about sustainable change for Africa’s rural poor,” says UCOF founder Anthony Kalulu. “We want to encourage them to act for themselves, to do things for themselves, and to hold the plough of change with their own hands through learning and applying entrepreneurial skills.”
UCOF aims to become a model farm, based on CSA principles that the rest of Africa can follow. Pursuing a comprehensive agricultural program, it intends to define a precedent for Africa’s rural poor to tread their own path towards sustainable social and environmental change.
“By providing smallholder farmers with a practical organic farming learning center, based on low-input and sustainable practices, we can provide these communities with the ability to feed themselves rather than relying on perpetual handout programs,” he says, explaining that farms following the same principles, will be able to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by generating and supplying a high-value collective market for their organic produce.
“These funds will be able to fund local development projects in the same local communities,” Kalulu says.
UCOF plans to acquire 50 to 100 acres of land on the shores of Lake Kyoga, in the Kamuli or Buyende regions, and to assemble the necessary tools and materials to establish the program.
Organic Perspectives, a Ugandan non-profit organization is behind the project, which has just launched an $80,000 crowd-funding appeal through the Indiegogo website. Kalulu hopes the farm will help rural smallholder farmers embrace a self-help effort away from extreme poverty.
“We’ve a number of ‘perks’ to offer donors and supporters,” says Kalulu. “Including any produce from the farm that can be delivered internationally, and sponsored gifts of produce, farm membership and woodstoves to local households.”
UCOF also welcomes visitors to the farm to share their farming experiences and insights, and to help develop the whole farm’s working framework and long-term strategy.
Founded in 2007, Organic Perspectives strives to improve rural smallholder farmers’ livelihoods through community forestry, alternative household energy and organic farming.
The Uganda Community Farm is part of Organic Perspective’s wider campaign “Sustainability for Africa.” It draws upon their in-house organic farming experience to catalyze their vision for a self-sufficient African citizen’s sector.