He is a member of Riekober Farmer Field School in Jafurnga village, Ramogi Parish, Kucwiny Subcounty, Nebbi District.
"I have been trained on the basic steps and practices such crop spacing, early weeding, and timely harvest of the crop."
In March 2016, during their support visits, the project staff met with James, and he narrated his journey with the project since November 2013. His is a true mustard-seed story. He says, “I have been trained on the basic steps and practices such crop spacing, early weeding, and timely harvest of the crop. The training covered information on short-term crops that can grow within 90 days. These include maize, sesame, peas, and grain amaranth.”
James recalls that in October 2014 his group received 1 kg of amaranth seed for multiplication at the group garden. However, at some point the 19 members of the group agreed to divide and share the seed and planted it individually in their respective gardens, given the training they had received. Each of the members received an equivalent of six teaspoonfuls. James planted the amaranth seed and harvested a crop yielding 2 kg of seed. In August 2015, with the 2 kg of amaranth seed, he was able to plant 0.5 acre of land. He harvested 180 kg of grain amaranth.
In January 2016 James and his wife agreed to sell 130kg at a rate of UGX1,500 per kilogram and realized a profit of UGX195,000 ($60.90 USD). The couple decided to use a portion of their profits to buy a second-hand bicycle, and a school uniform for their son, who is in primary grade 1. They used the balance to meet other basic household needs and to put into savings. They used remaining 50 kg of amaranth at home for making delicious porridge and other foods.
Some of the benefits of the training James attended with other FFS members:
The couple has acquired a bicycle, which has relieved the family from carrying 20-liter plastic containers of water on their heads for household use. Additionally this means of mobility has especially improved their travels to the trading center to buy needed items and to sell their produce at the market. “We no longer have to hire someone else or carry the merchandise over our heads, especially my wife,” says James.
The family is able to meet the scholastic needs of their son in school. This additional source of income has meant that their son will not miss any school days. He is assured of not experiencing any disruption from completing the school syllabus.
Amaranth is a highly nutritious food, and the couple has noted less prevalence of colds and malnutrition signs among their family members. During the amaranth crop season, James’s wife is able to have enough green vegetables out of the thinning process to allow the amaranth to grow to produce good seed.
For James, this additional source of income has translated into more savings in the community savings group. Consequently, with other members’ additional savings input, the group’s savings for the 19 members over the past 40 months has grown to a total of UGX3,283,150 ($1,025.90 USD).
Going forward, James plans to plant an acre (double the previous acreage) of amaranth for the July to September 2016 crop season. He has experienced the multiple benefits of growing this crop. He also plans to explore other market opportunities outside his community. The testimony of James’s achievement from one training series demonstrates how small beginnings can translate into significant changes in people’s lives. World Renew and its partners endeavor to sustain such efforts toward building the capacity of the beneficiaries to take charge of their destiny for change.
World Renew Uganda