Uganda Women Farmers

Poverty is widespread in Uganda, particularly among households that depend on agriculture. Since 2004, Iowa State University’s Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CRSL) and VEDCO – Volunteer Efforts for Developmental Concerns – a Ugandan NGO, have partnered with smallholder farmers to develop and strengthen farmer and small enterprises through greater access to knowledge and technologies for improved production.

This direct engagement with farmers has contributed to a remarkable increase in food security for over 800 households in the Kamuli district (from under 10% secure in 2004 to nearly 70% in 2008). This result has been achieved by strengthening human and social capital, increasing access to improved seed, linking farmers to breeders, establishing and managing community seed multiplication gardens, working with researchers to establish field trials and demonstration plots, and establishing Community Resource Centers.  Located in the Kamuli district/Ugandan women farmers are the primary farmers in the household and through gaining marketing knowledge will impact the financial benefits of their own families from the farms.

Mary Holz-Clause, Karey Claghorn from the Department of Ag, Linda Funk from Soy for Life Foundation, and two additional women in agriculture leadership positions will be on the trip.  The focus of the proposed trip is to promote sustainable livelihoods of small landholder women farmers by strengthening their capacity for market-oriented farming, establishing associations of such farmers to share knowledge, experience and market bases and to demonstrate ways to enhance nutrition through the use of soy and associated protein sources.   Additionally, the diets of those Ugandans in the marketplace will benefit as more “healthy” foods are made available for inclusion in their diets.

Stay tuned for updates from our very own Linda Funk!  She will be travelling to Uganda on January 30 and returning on February 10, 2011.