An autumn full of activities - October report and preparations for organic farmer's market

October was an important time for the bean project. They rain came late but then stabilized although this uneven distribution had already caused damage to the crop. When Julie came on her monthly visit the EV members participating in the Bean project and generally the rest of the community were busy working in their fields, mainly weeding. Monitoring the bean project fields was therefore an important part of the October activities.

The EV team also continued with the usual monthly activities such as The VSLA savings and loan activities. EV also got an opportunity to participate in the National Organic Market at NOGAMU offices in Muyenga, Kampala which was to happen in November 2014. The field visit therefore was also to brief the EV team to match the expected quality as they were preparing for this event.

Preparations for the organic market
We had supported the EV team with an assortment of items to enable them to participate and compete favorably in the upscale market in Kampala: Promotional fliers, 3 aprons, 2 large-size plastic buckets, 2 plastic crates, 1 (10kg)-kitchen scale, 1 Impulse sealer, 2 receipt books, 2 invoice books, 2 payment voucher books & 2 delivery note books. Julie had a detailed briefing for the three EV leaders, Peninah Kyomuhendo, Milly and Beatrice Nakanjako, who had organic vegetables for sale. Some other members had grown vegetables but had continued using chemical pesicides so they cannot participate in the organic market yet. Julie had a detailed briefing about the background of this market and how they stood a chance to benefit financially, but also share experiences and learn from other participants, meet new people and make new useful contacts. The market is project initiative of NOGAMU – The National Organic Movement of Uganda to promote local organic marketing in Uganda and also to facilitate market linkages to smallholder farmers.

Julie informed them about how to ensure quality, uphold hygiene standards, package and to present their products clean. They were trained on how they should utilize basic marketing tactics such us maintaining good eye contact with the buyers, keeping a pleasant smile of the face, listening attentively and being able to respond to the clients needs such as inquiries, product prices, uses, providing EV contacts, etc. They were also introduced to the four sets of “business tool books” which included invoice books, receipt books, delivery note books and payment voucher books. This was to introduce the EV team to basic business skills but also to promote accountability and transparency in the business and among the EV team members and also to uphold the principle of fairness in organic standards.

1st November 2014 was the First ever National Organic day. It took place at the NOGAMU home at Galukande Close, Muyenga. It was attended by over 50 participants from various organic producer groups and companies, most of whom are already certified and involved in both local and export markets. The market registered over 200 clients from the upscale residential areas on Muyenga and other neighboring city suburbs. The EV team made sales of close to UGSHS100,000 from their items and they sold off everything.The items included the following: Matooke (1 bunch), chayote, Amaranth, apple bananas, guavas, cucumber, carrots and gooseberries. It was a very exciting experience for the EV team. They were able to get the exposure to an upscale market set up, get the feel of what it takes to constantly engage clients for sustainable marketing. Also see our blog post from November 12t