During one week in mid-January, 13 men were trained in ‘Foundations for Farming’ (FfF) techniques so that they can equip South Sudanese refugees and Ugandans* with agricultural skills which the latter can use to develop a long-term livelihood.
The training was carried out in order to extend the reach and quality of AID’s agriculture project, launched last year in partnership with Life Gospel Ministries. This project provides South Sudanese refugees and local Ugandans with a lasting solution to poverty. John Ladu was one of those who benefited from AID’s initial programme:
“For my family at the [refugee] camp, to begin with it was very difficult because the food ration distributed to us was not enough and I didn’t have any job to supplement the feeding…. so as soon as I heard about Foundations for Farming I was willing to join so I could cultivate to provide for my family… I have been able to provide for my family and sell some maize to support my children in school fees.”
John was also selected to be an extension worker in his camp. This means that, as well as cultivating his own land, he is responsible for training and supporting a group of other farmers in and around the camp. In January 12 more were trained up to be extension workers, like John, for various refugee settlements across Uganda and one to help families in Juba, South Sudan.
Mornings were spent in the classroom learning principles and techniques such as: ‘Faith, Faithfulness and Fruitfulness’ before moving on to practical sessions in the afternoon. John said:
“During the past few days I have learnt: plot demarcation, land preparation and most importantly making thermal compost…The knowledge I have received during my training will help me to be productive during our farming, making me a better farmer.”
Each of the 13 extension workers trained will be able to support around 15 refugees or local Ugandans, meaning that this project, which currently supports 100 families, could double in reach to support about 200.
Moses was one of those trained up as an extension worker:
“I will start to visit farmers when I go back. We will have small groups training on Foundations for Farming and I believe their lives will change as they harvest and be able to provide for their families.”
John sums up the usefulness of the FfF method:
“Foundations for Farming is a sustainable way of farming because all that is needed are things around us. After harvest the production should help one family for a whole year. A simple plot can feed a whole family hence making it sustainable and long term.”
Please do pray for John, Moses and their classmates as they begin or carry on training up small groups of farmers in and around refugee camps across Uganda.
“The programme will help the refugees to be able to provide for their family and to have something more to sell in order to met other personal needs like school fees and medical.” – Moses.