Beacon of Hope Uganda’s agriculture development program strives to improve the livelihoods of rural communities in Uganda through improved agriculture practices and technologies that are environmentally sustainable (such as pest management, soil and water conservation methods) and raise rural incomes through improved access to productive assets such as land and capital and reducing vulnerability for rural small-scale farmers through capacity building and a comprehensive value chain approach.
Beacon of Hope Uganda is focusing on increased agricultural productivity, poverty reduction, stabilizing food prices, improving employment for poor rural people; increasing demand for consumer goods and services, and stimulating sustainable development. Agriculture is the backbone of the Ugandan economy with over 80% of the population being directly or indirectly involved in various aspects of this sector. Beacon of Hope Uganda invests a substantial amount of funding in the agriculture sector, through various projects in rural communities of Uganda.
Agriculture in Uganda is still based on traditional means of farming. For example, agriculture is still based on rain fed forecast for yields -this is outdated. BoHU is keen and focuses on improved innovative technologies both intermediate and affordable that can transform harvests.
Agricultural production provides income, employment and food at affordable prices as well as raw material for the processing industry and foreign exchange from exports. Creating a sustainable agricultural development project means improving the quality of life in rural areas of Uganda, ensuring enough food for present and future generations and generating sufficient income for small-scale farmers.
Supporting sustainable agricultural development also involves ensuring and maintaining productive capacity for the future and increasing productivity without damaging the environment or jeopardizing natural resources. In addition, it requires respect for and recognition of local knowledge and local management of natural resources, and efforts to promote the capabilities of current generations without compromising the prospects of future ones.
IMPROVEMENT OF FOOD SECURITY
The goal of BoHU Food security project is to contribute to the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in Uganda through improved farming methods in Uganda. Four districts of Uganda are benefitting from this agricultural project aiming at improving food security in the country through improved farming methods. The project target 1,000 small scare farmers in the selected districts with a view of increasing agricultural productivity and enhance market access for both crops and livestock.
Beacon of Hope Uganda is improving food security by promoting good farming practices among smallholder farmers. The project identifies keen, hard-working farmers at the village level and develops them into agro-entrepreneurs. These micro-businesses offer the double benefit of creating rural employment opportunities and building a sustainable system for delivering agricultural technologies.
RICE AND CASSAVA PROJECTS
RICE FARM PROJECT
Rice is Uganda's third staple food after maize and wheat. Beacon of Hope Uganda having realized an opportunity, obtained several acres of land in Eastern Uganda and ventured into rice farming. This rice farm project employs more than 50 locals. Beacon of Hope Uganda considers rice as one of the strategic agricultural enterprises with the potential to remarkably contribute to increasing rural incomes and livelihoods, and improving food and nutrition security. The rice farm project has taken a few initiatives to adopt environmentally friendly measures. For example, we apply organic fertilizers.
CASSAVA FARM PROJECT
In Uganda, cassava is an important starch staple and is the most important root crop where 74% of farming households grow the crop on a subsistence level. In addition, cassava has a range of industrial uses such as starch, ethanol and biofuels, animal feed supplementation, which give it huge potential to be transformed from a purely subsistence food crop to a commercial crop, spur rural industrial development and raise rural incomes.
Production of cassava requires low agricultural inputs and allows flexible harvesting time whereby a farmer only harvests roots needed at that time. Cassava is particularly suited in fighting poverty because of its efficient production of calories per unit land, even under low rainfall and poor soil fertility conditions where other crops may fail. Its high yield and carbohydrate content has made it particularly a good substitute for wheat flour and corn starch in industrial manufacture.
Beacon of Hope Uganda has invested a substanital amount of funding into the cassava project. The cassava project also aims at enhancing sustainable production, processing and marketing of cassava and cassava products among the smallholder cassava farming communities in rural Uganda. Beacon of Hope Uganda is helping farmers to increase their cassava harvests each year.
LIVESTOCK FARM PROJECTS
Beacon of Hope Uganda started its Poultry Farm project in 2014, with funding from Tzedek. The farm has grown into self-sustaining project with emphasis being put on rearing layers for egg production and broilers for meat production. The farm was initially established at our property in Kyampisi, Mukono, but it has since been moved to a more spacious sites and seperated into two projects (one for layers and one for broilers) each with over 2000 birds.
Pork, in all forms, is widely consumed in the world and in Uganda; piggery is one of the forms of farming that is trending because of the quick returns on investment. Beacon of Hope Uganda has ventured into piggery farming for both breeding and pork production. The project currently has over 500 pigs, distributed amongst our farming groups. The project invests in exotic breeds like the Landrace, Cambrough and Largewhite, all originating from South Africa.
The Goats project started with funding from Tzedek as Family Improvement Project and it was intended to facilitate economic sustainability for vulnerable women (especially widows) and vulnerable children (especially in child headed families) in Kasala Village, Kyampisi subcounty. This project was designed to provide an income generating opportunity specifically for vulnerable children, women and their families who are affected by poverty and unable to support themselves by ensuring self-sustainability and guaranteeing that they are in a position to meet their basic needs (i.e. food, water, shelter) and support their school dues like school fees and medical treatment.
Beacon of Hope Uganda identified and selected 100 families (100 people) as the first beneficiaries and distributed 200 Toggenburg and Saanen goats amongst them and each family received 2 mature goats readily fertilized. The families had to give back the first litter to the project hence making the demonstration farm.
FRUIT TREES PROJECT
In the summer of 2013, BoHU started the Kids Go Green Project (KGG), and we managed to plant almost 2,000 fruit trees. This project proved that kids in our programs were very interested in tree planting projects, and served as a platform for future work. In 2014, BoHU partnered with the 4-H Million Trees Project (4HMT) to start our own tree nurseries and expand our tree planting projects. We submitted a proposal to tentree international, and tentree funding allowed us to develop two substantial tree nurseries and plant over 25,000 trees.
Today 10 tree nurseries have been raised and 6 of the nurseries are focused solely on fruit trees with over 1,000,000 trees. Trees raised are Mango, Orange, Moringa, Pawpaw, Jackfruit and others. This initiative is one of the income generating projects of Beacon of Hope Uganda.