Mbuya youth reap from urban farming by Marianna Kiwanuka
The level of urbanisation in Uganda currently stands at 12%, growing at a rate of 4.7% and it is estimated to reach 30% by the year 2030, according to the UN statistics. This implies that there is a need to increase food production. One of the ways to achieve this is by encouraging people to practice urban farming. Marianna Kiwanuka recently had a chat with a group of youth who have embraced urban farming in Centre zone, Mbuya 1 parish. She spoke to their group leader, Edward Kyamagu.
What motivated you to start practicing urban farming?
We had no information about urban farming, until one day when we were invited by Christian Youth Missionary Group Kinawataka for training at their demonstration garden. The training inspired us to start our small garden and from then, our attitude and lives have changed.
What benefits have you accrued from urban farming?
First and foremost, this activity has enabled us to practice urban farming in small spaces, using locally available waste materials, such as shoes, plastics and old polythene bags, among others and this has helped us to train more and more youths to carry out farming. We are helping them to set up their own backyard gardens in their homes, teaching them how to add fertility to the soil, and other best agricultural practices. And even without the group, we, as individuals, can carry out urban farming on our own now.
Secondly, we have been able to get the food we eat; we are one of those families smiling even in the midst of the lockdown since there’s enough food to eat at home. As you can see, the yams and vegetables are ready for harvesting.
Thirdly, the crops we grow are medicinal in nature; we have numerous leaves that act as local herbs.
We have also been able to get money out of the crops we sell, for example there’s a customer who wants to buy yams. In a week, we are able to save at least sh50,000.
What challenges are you facing?
We face numerous challenges, such as an unfavourable soil texture. The texture requires additives like manure, which is expensive for us to buy.
We grow crops on the piece of land which we rent at sh30,000 per month. Sometimes we struggle to raise this money.
We face a challenge of floods, which makes our seeds rot in the soil and hence threatens our harvest as well.
Sometimes animals, such as goats and birds like poultry, destroy the crops. People also sometimes steal from the garden, which limits what we reap from our sweat. We also struggle to acquire garden tools.
By Marianna Kiwanuka