Eastern Rice, an umbrella organisation for farmers’ groups in Tororo, has received a Shs 1.5bn grant from aBi Trust to support a poverty eradication program, which would see about 6,000 farmers receive training in modern farming methods.
Recently, the farmers were trained in post-harvest handling, commercial farming, and ways of preventing themselves against HIVAIDS. Other skills attained included: how to do agriculture as a family business, manage their finances, marketing, and record-keeping in farming.
A one-week training of rice farmers took place in 10 sub-counties of Iyolwa, Mulanda, Rubongi, Nagongera, Nabuyonga, Rubongi, Kisoko, Molo, Paya, and Magoola.
Job Okello, the acting CEO of Eastern Rice, said a demonstration land of one acre had been set up in one of the villages for the farmers. In January, each farmer will be given an acre or more on a square mile of land procured by Eastern Rice to carry out farming.
“The famers will [get] free extension services, farm inputs, use of rice threshers, communal drying centers, collective marketing, warehousing receipt system for storage and a ready market for the yield,” Okello said, according to an aBi press statement. “Every sub county will have 50 by 100 meter drying yard for quality post-harvest handling.”
Okello said dfcu bank had already offered the farmers financing. The organisation will also make the rice sorting machine services accessible to farmers and will help brand and market the rice to neighboring countries.
Patrick Rambo, the project mobiliser, told The Observer that they have been able to acquire a bigger rice-sorting machine, which will improve post-harvest handling.
“We want to reach out to more farmers in the next two years because our capacity has been boosted by [the] aBi support,” Rambo said.
Representing aBi Trust, Gilbert Mbalinda, the quality management officer, said the project would enhance quality production, use of technology to improve yield, and improve household income for the local farmers.
Through aBi Trust’s support to the Eastern Rice project, more than 150 farmer groups are targeted with a special approach to energy conservation and green growth, whereby fruit tree seedlings are given to farmers to plant alongside rice fields.
Commercialisation will also be encouraged by allocating tractors to those who farm on huge chunks of land. The project will also convert rice hulls into charcoal briquettes to reduce dependency on firewood.
Source : The Observer