An autumn full of activities - September report

We're a bit behind on our blog with all the activities that has happened this fall. Since the year is coming to an end we want to update you on the progress that has happened this fall. We'll start with the September activites.  Our local project manager, Julie Matovu form Juls Consult, visits the villages once per month if time and budget allows, to follow up on the ongoing projects. In September the focus of the trip was to check on the bean seed performance, discuss the handicraft project (by-laws for the production line and design of personalized lables for the jewelry), inform about the GVC (Gender Value Chain) workshop (a one-year training of the importance of gender discrimination in farming and agriculture), and verification of the health survey data collected earlier this year. The following text if from Julie's report after the visit:

A team of four EV leaders joined the visiting consulting team to monitor the progress of their agricultural projects. Three locations were visited to check on the progress of agricultural projects. Among the projects visited included the self- initiatives that the EV leaders were able to put in place after the exposure visit to other community fields during the leadership retreat at Wakiso in February 2014. The projects visited included organic vegetable sack gardens, kitchen gardens among others. Some of the sack gardens were very okay while others were over packed with soil and the soils had not been well-prepared with composite and fine soils.

They were advised to first work on the soils, loosen it up as they set up the sack gardens. It is a good initiative by the leaders, which exhibits exemplary leadership. The vegetables planted included bringil, cucumber, leeks, kale, carrots among others. There is need to prepare composit and raised beds to achieve better yields in vegetable crops such as carrots that need deep soft soils. In one field, complicated crops such as those in the caspium family such as green pepper, tomatoes, cabbage had been planted but had been attacked by fungal infection. They were advised to first concentrate on easier crops as they learn more about organic Integrated Pest Management, organic bioratios as they master growing organic vegetables.

Two bean fields were visited in Kyakatebe A. These were in their early blossoming stage and generally healthy. However, some little patches with some infections were observed. The problem diagnosed by repeated or mono cropping systems which encourage the same pests and diseases to spread in the same field for time, and lack of a comprehensive soil fertility program on these fields. Generally, the bean fields were in good conditions and good yields are expected for this season.

It was clarified that as an organic farmer, one should follow stepwise progress in sustainable crop management, first things first. The issue of ensuring soil fertility and soil cleanliness is paramount. It is therefore important that the steps in compost formulation are strictly followed to maximize positive effect but also to help in field sanitation. They should use companion cropping, crop rotation, always scout their gardens on daily basis so that they can identify disease early enough before spreading. The issue of use of [organic] pesticides comes in as the last resort. Members were advised to stop having a mentality that they should use pesticides even in the absence of pests and diseases because everyone else does that. This is a poor culture that makes farming a nightmare. More training sessions will be conducted to clarify more on these issues.