With a special thanks from Olivia Jones CRESS’ Agricultural Advisor here in the UK, we would like to let you know the impact of the newly donated tools and equipment is having with the refugee farmers in Uganda.
Update from Uganda
The impact of equipment donations is fundamental to the African farmer, especially when those farmers have fled war, leaving all their belongings, including their farming equipment, back at their homes. They carry nothing with them fleeing, to then become refugees. They re-start their lives with nothing.
Equipment donated is the initial start they need for all their agricultural activities, not just for the vegetable growing through the CRESS projects. Each individual item is relatively inexpensive so any equipment donations can purchase many items and have a big impact.
Any equipment donated is in constant use and can be shared amongst family members for different agriculture activities. They can also be shared within their community which means that our projects have a direct knock-on effect across the whole refugee community.
Although this means that wear and tear on these items is severe, especially given the harsh conditions as well as extensive use, equipment donations offer an essential service which is as a main goodwill gesture. CRESS focuses on training and education for sustainable communities but at the same time, it can be important to offer direct support for short term help.
These equipment donations received during our lockdown have filled a real gap in the funding from other sources such as grant bodies and trusts. There have been 16 new savings groups set up this year which have been trained in organic vegetable production as an initial income-generating activity. There were insufficient funds to supply all groups with some of the essential tools they need for this. We have now been able to distribute a sufficient number of these to help all the groups.
Specific Equipment Impact
- Insect Sprayers – No. donated = 24. These 20L insect sprayers are made simply of hard plastic and are used as backpack sprayers with a hand pump. They are used by all the CRESS vegetable growers to prevent insect infestations such as locusts. The farmers use and make only organic insecticides.
- Water Barrels – No. donated = 12. These are hard plastic 100L water barrels which are situated close to the vegetable gardens. The farmer groups collect the water by hand to fill the barrels initially and are then supplemented by rainfall. The barrels are essential for providing water for vegetable seedlings before the rains, so that they are ready for transplanting once the rains begin. They are also used for watering the vegetables during periods of drought or low rainfall, thus guaranteeing a successful vegetable crop harvest.
- Hoes – No. donated = 60. This is the main agriculture tool and is used by all the farmers for all agriculture activities such as soil turning and preparation, mixing of compost and manure, seedbed preparation, planting furrow construction, and also for weeding and crop residue clearing. They are the essential tool for vegetable production but are used by all the family for all other agriculture crop production.
- Watering Cans – No. donated = 24. For watering seedlings and crop plants, and can be filled from the water barrels.
- Pangas – No. donated = 24. A local farming tool similar to what we know as a machete. These are used for field clearing and crop harvesting as well as a variety of other farming and household activities such as the collection of fuelwood.
- Gumboots – No. donated = 36. Needed by farmers during the rainy season. These protect the farmer from water, mud and insect damage as well as preserving other footwear they may have, which are regarded as a costly household item.