Project Title: Enhancing Rice-Greengram productivity in Northern Uganda (ERIGNU)
Poverty levels in the Northern Uganda remain the highest in the nation. Rice, a strategic crop in the national agricultural development strategy and a key crop in the multi-annual-strategic plan of the Dutch Embassy in Kampala has very low average yields from farmlands in northern Uganda. In the region, smallholder rice farmlands are cultivated every season with little soil nutrient replenishment. The land is often left un-utilized in between rice crops resulting in reduced land productivity. The aim of this project “Enhancing Rice-Greengram productivity in Northern Uganda” in three districts of Kole, Lira, and Apac. (ERIGNU)” is to introduce Greengram in rice cropping system to increase land productivity, improve soil fertility, and enhance farmer’s income and nutrition among women and youth. With ERIGNU up to 1,500 smallholder farmers will be assisted to improve their household incomes, food and nutrition security.
The overall objective of the project is to contribute to alleviation of hunger, malnutrition and increase incomes of smallholder farmers in Northern Uganda.
The specific objectives are:
A participatory bottom-up approach will be used where community participation and gender consideration is emphasized – since women play critical role in the cultivation of the target crops. The research team comprises; WOUGNET (the main applicant, a local practitioner), Makerere University and NaSARRI (Co-applicants and research organizations) and SNV (a Dutch Partner, ). This project is designed to ensure focus, efficiency and accountability to all actors in the value chain of target crops and mainly smallholder farmers and their groups. The target groups will be involved in action research aimed at improving yields and access to quality and reliable seeds. User participation will be based on principles of engagement rather than technology transfer. The project will be implemented in Northern Uganda, a region previously ravaged by civil war that paralyzed profitable economic activities including agriculture. The target districts will include Apac, Lira and Kole where WOUGNET currently operates.
The project is jointly developed and will be implemented by a consortium comprising practitioners - WOUGNET (a local community based NGO focusing on enhancing capacity of especially Women in agriculture) and SNV (a Dutch partner), and research partners - Makerere University (the oldest and leading tertiary institution in Uganda), and NaSARRI (one of the public agricultural research institute under the National Agricultural Research Organization - NARO). The research partners who are mandated to generate scientific knowledge will provide and together with the practitioners will evaluate the performance of novel technologies that could help in increasing household food production and income of small scale farmers. The technologies to be developed and evaluated are based on scientific knowledge and they include production of quality seeds of varieties selected on the basis of participatory variety selection (PVS), cereal-legume rotational cropping and rhizobia inoculation that help to increase farmland and soil productivity, and use ICT-enabled knowledge management framework. The challenges to be addressed based on the conceptualized scientific interventions emerged from the ultimate beneficiaries of the project (small scale farmers) through the practitioners operating in the target communities. Some of the novel outcomes expected from the project includes farmers producing and distributing their own quality greengram seeds, national acreage under greengram production increased, rice farmers taking up rice-green gram rotational cropping so as to increase utilization of available farmlands, and farmers easily accessing agricultural information and hence adopting better farming practices