The neglected miracle approach towards household food security

Reduced Hunger and Malnutrition  Aiming to promote sustainable farming systems in Building Community Resilience, Promoting best practices and alternatives for food producers and consumers and Promoting community based natural resource management.

Meet Ms. Akwi Joyce, a farmer from Omodio Sub County, who lives in a homestead of 12 people. She met FRA through  her women farmer’s  group  in Omodio,  where she volunteered to participate as a model farmer for the FRA/IDF farm-planning programme. The team caught up with Joyce again, during our endeavor to document case studies of the application of the farm-planning system among our selected farmers in the Soroti and Katakwi  districts. At the start of this programme, Joyce  participated in drawing her farm on paper. This exercise was  done  for selected farmers to put to paper their current farm setting. Additionally, they were asked to draw how they wanted their farms to look, while adhering to the principles of farm planning and farm proportioning.
 
After receiving training  on the system  of separating farms, Joyce  took to task these practices to reflect what she had set out to achieve in her illustrated future plan.
Joyce grows  citrus fruits, cassava, simsim, sorghum, cassava and  beans  in her garden. Although  the task  to concretely separate her garden has been  met with a lot of challenges, there  was  a clear  indication that she was  on the road  to achieving this, as there was a difference between her current  planting and what she had been doing previously. Among the crops  for home  consumption were  cassava, groundnuts and beans, while citrus,  sorghum and cassava were  for sale.
 
While  walking through her farm, Joyce reiterated her benefits from the system of separating gardens. She noted that this system opened her mind to use what little she had to provide for her family. This system, she noted, reduced the poverty and hunger of her family, as she is now able to sell some, while remaining with  food for the household. This system also increased her business and planning initiatives and  grounded her. Joyce has been able to reinvest her earnings into buying goats and chicken and more seeds  for sale. Joyce noted that in sticking to her regiment of selling specific crops, she has had the discipline to wait for the right price in the market, as she has been  able  to save  her food for sale. She has been able to sell more in seasons of scarcity for some crops, like sorghum, among  other crops. With food to eat, the family no longer  taps into food for sale, thus enabling them to keep food intended for market for longer periods of time, when prices are better. “Food for our family  is now enough,” she  said. Among the benefits she cited  was  the peace that the family has at the moment with no cases of domestic violence that had been rampant in previous years due to lack of food in the house.
 
Like many farmers in Teso, Joyce faces challenges caused by erratic climate change in the region. Water for production at her farm remains one of her greatest challenges. Joyce is also plagued with the issue of food storage, with little equipment and knowledge of ways of storing her food.