Planting For Hope Midsummer Update: New Piglets Arrive and Plenty of Rain10 July 2014
Apollo Saku is a farmer, agricultural academic and project leader for Planting for Hope Uganda, a sustainable wealth creation programme aimed at empowering rural communities through farming and cooperative schemes.
Along with the Planting for Hope team, Apollo is teaching the Kititi and Bukunda people to farm sustainably and market produce and crafts.
The land currently under his stewardship lies to the west of Lake Victoria in the Kyanamukaaka region in the Masaka District of south west Uganda.
At the mid-year point, Apollo is pleased to report ‘plentiful’ rains which have replenished hope for many families in the Kititi area.
This comes as a major relief after the destructive hailstorms of autumn last year.
“Households managed to plant sweet potatoes, cassava, maize or beans,” says Apollo.
“Given this planting effort we envisage that by the end of this year more families will have two meals per day, except the elderly, sick and large or extended families.”
Charity aid from the Planting for Hope Uganda foundation has given villagers basic implements such as hoes and seeds to plant.
Apollo sees beans as an important crop in providing food production for households. This has been reinforced by vegetable planting work in the Hope House gardens.
Now the rainy season is over, Apollo is reflecting on the first half of the year, which brought the farm seven more piglets which are doing well.
Extension plans are afoot however, with Apollo eyeing up a new animal for the farm.
“We don't have any other livestock apart from the pigs but we intend to get some milking goats,” explains Apollo. “They yield so fast and can freely graze around, each goat is about 100 GB pounds.”
At £100 a goat, the villagers will require the aid of PFHU director Kate Oakley. A goat is the equivalent of two acres of rented land.
“Renting of this land is for 2 seasons,” he adds.
“In Uganda we experience two rainy seasons/growing seasons and everyone gets busy in that time planting/sowing.”
One rented plot is a little over an acre and set the village back £35.
“Each crop season we have rented the land 50 pounds for 2 acre", he adds. "This land is planted with sweet potatoes and we do expect good yields.”
Tomatoes are currently ripening and are expected to be ready by the end of the month.
These are a commercial crop and will be sold at market after they hopefully yield well, Apollo explains.