“Growth for Uganda” – K+S KALI GmbH is committed to smallholders in Africa
“The pearl of Africa” – that is how Uganda is called because of its beauty and unspoilt natural environment. The East African country on the Equator faces great economic challenges: About a third of the approximately 37 million Ugandans live in poverty; about eight million inhabitants are insufficiently supplied with food and the population is growing fast. Against this background, K+S KALI GmbH and the non-governmental organisation Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) started the “Growth for Uganda” project in April 2013 to improve the smallholders’ situation. In the first three project years alone, over 90,000 farmers and their families were given support.
Professor Dr. Andreas Gransee, Project Manager “Growth for Uganda” and Head of the Research & Advisory Department of K+S KALI GmbH
Small areas under cultivation, low yields
More than 80 per cent of the working population of Uganda is employed in farming. The farmers practice predominantly arable farming for their own needs; on average, their farms are 1 to 3 acres in area. The crops harvested from this area must be enough to feed seven family members on average. Crops cultivated include maize, beans, soya beans, rice, sesame, millet, sweet potatoes and peas, sunflowers, manioc, coffee, tea, cotton and bananas, and in the highlands wheat and barley. The soils in the land are naturally fertile. However, for many years nutrients have been taken from the soil from the field crops cultivated, without them being replaced by fertilisation. On average, less than 1 kg of fertilisers per hectare are used in Uganda. (On the African continent as a whole, the figure is about 8 kg/ha.) Soil fertility suffered as a result, and the smallholders can only achieve comparatively low yields. Moreover, the farmers divide their land among their children as heirs and subsequent generations must live off ever smaller areas.
The Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA)
The Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) is an international agricultural development non-governmental organisation registered in Geneva/Switzerland. It was co-founded in 1986 by Japanese philanthropist Ryoichi Sasakawa, Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug, and former US President Jimmy Carter. The SAA cooperates with the Carter Center’s Global 2000 Program for the development of agricultural projects in 14 sub-Saharan countries. The SAA is currently focussing its resources on the African countries of Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mali and Uganda. Along with national partners, the SAA projects provide support to smallholder farmers by encouraging the adoption of higher-yielding varieties and enhanced production practices. More information about the SAA at www.saa-safe.org.
Development of agricultural consultation
With the “Growth for Uganda” Project, K+S KALI GmbH and the SAA have jointly built up an agricultural advisory service for smallholders in Uganda. In this way, the farmers’ productivity is increased and their food self-sufficiency and income situation improved. One focus is on preserving and enhancing soil fertility. K+S KALI GmbH is contributing over 100 years of research experience and global advisory expertise to the project. K+S KALI GmbH is also, via the Institute of Applied Plant Nutrition – IAPN, which it runs together with the Georg August University in Göttingen, Germany, facilitating dialogue and cooperation with leading scientists.
For more knowledge in cultivating field crops
Smallholders in remote regions too are reached with the mobile training and laboratory vehicle. The main focus is on providing information on improving cultivation methods. (Photo: Polina Mantz)
What is important is interaction: questions and discussions form part of the training. (Photo: Polina Mantz)
By processing their harvested products, smallholders can achieve higher value creation. For example, demonstrations teach them to use simple machines to remove corn kernels from the cobs. These can then be sold on the market. (Photo: Polina Mantz)
Resources such as fertilisers or seed are offered in agro-input stores. Sasakawa trains sellers to be able to advise on how to make proper use of the products. Fertilizers are offered in small portioned packages tailored to the requirements of a single crop in each case. (Photo: Polina Mantz)
The partner Savannah Commodities has built a fertiliser mixing facility where crop-specific mineral blends can be produced and packaged. (Photo: Polina Mantz)
Savannah Commodities buys and stores the harvested products which the smallholders do not need to feed their families. The revenue is available for important expenses such as school fees, medical costs and other food. (Photo: Polina Mantz)
On 4th of February Johann Peter Bauza, head of the “Growth for Uganda” project, K+S KALI GmbH, assigned the mobile training centre with a soil laboratory on board to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and to Sasakawa Africa Association-Global 2000 Uganda. Handover from right: Hon. Tress Bucanayandi (Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, MAAIF), Johann Peter Bauza (Head of the “Growth for Uganda” project K+S KALI GmbH), Dr. Roselline Nyamutale (Country Director Sasakawa Global 2000 Uganda), James Murangira (Theme Coordinator Post harvest handling Sasakawa Global 2000 Uganda), Samuel Ssemanda (Director Planning, MAAIF). (Photo: Chris Kugonza)
Norbert Steiner, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors K+S Aktiengesellschaft (right), Dr. Ernst Andres, member of the executive management of K+S KALI GmbH (left), and Johann-Peter Bauza, head of the Africa project (3rd left), entrusting the key of the truck to Dr. Emmanuel Kayaayo, deputy director of the Sasakawa Africa Association (2nd left), and Daniel Olol, program officer for “Enhanced Crop Productivity” in the SAA team of consultants, on October 23rd, 2013. (Photo: K+S KALI GmbH/Fischer)
Reliability and simple maintenance count for deployment of the mobile farmer’s training centre in Uganda.
For living and working under one roof, the interior of the mobile farmer’s training center is equipped with three sleeping berths for the team.
At the rear of the mobile farmer’s training center a laboratory for soil and plant analysis is installed.
The external body of the mobile training unit consists of a tried and tested Unimog, which had been previously used as a Bundeswehr emergency services fire engine. (Photo: Fa. Teichmann)
At an event of the IAPN in Göttingen, Germany, Daniel Olol explains the situation of smallholder farming in Uganda. (Photo: Dach)
“Collecting soil samples is hard work”: Soil analysis is an essential part of and condition for providing farmers with appropriate advice. In the future, all the information will be recorded in a “soil mapping system.” This will provide an overview of local soil conditions. (Photo: Dach)
Preparing for the deployment of the mobile laboratory: At the Institute of Applied Plant Nutrition – IAPN in Göttingen, Germany,Daniel Olol is trained in various soil and plant analysis methods. (Photo: Dach)
“Farmer Learning Platforms” are part of the SAA concept. They are designed to transfer knowledge by means of demonstration trials and on-site training. (Photo: K+S KALI GmbH)
Come away with solutions by looking and asking: Project farmers visit a demonstration field. (Photo: K+S KALI GmbH)
Training also includes the appropriate processing of the crops that are harvested, e.g. corn. The large proportion of women among the participants is typical for Africa: They control more than 70 per cent of the small farms in Uganda. The machines presented will make further processing easier and will therefore be acquired by many project participants. (Photo: K+S KALI GmbH)
The “Growth for Uganda” project was officially launched by Uganda’s Minister of State for Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries in charge of Animal Industry, Hon. Rwamirama Bright in Dokolo District on 19 July 2013. (Photo: K+S KALI GmbH)
The official launch of the project in Uganda on 19 July 2013 was attended by Miyamoto Masaaki, Executive Director SAA Tokyo, Dr. Ernst Andres, Member Board of Management K+S KALI GmbH, Johann-Peter Bauza, Head of the Project “Growth for Uganda”, Dr. Juliana Rwelamira, managing director SAA Region Africa, Hon. Rwabirama Bright, Minister of State for Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries in charge of Animal Industry and the two district heads of Dokolo District (from right to left). (Photo: K+S KALI GmbH)
Training smallholders to increase yields
The SAA has already been advising smallholders in Uganda since 1997. The team consists of a group of experts that includes Daniel Olol, Program Officer for “Enhanced Crop Productivity.” The young agricultural scientist from Uganda was in Germany in September 2013 to exchange information and for training at K+S KALI GmbH and the IAPN. Daniel Olol’s mission is to pass his knowledge on both to educators and to smallholders and to work with them to develop solutions for the needs-based nourishment of crop plants. “The yields our farmers are getting are considerably below the optimum level. There is a lack of specialist knowledge”, said Daniel Olol and he went on to describe how the SAA helps smallholders. “We teach groups of smallholders by involving them in what we call our Farmer Learning Platforms. These incorporate demonstration experiments, teaching units, skilled mentoring and specialist support through the SAA.”
Soil analyses in the truck – a mobile training unit for Uganda
“Growth for Uganda” is also working according to the SAA’s model. With great success: In the first project phase of April 2013 to March 2014, 50,000 smallholders were to be trained in the Dokolo and Apac districts. In actual fact over 92,000 farmers were reached during this time and were able to increase their yields by 30 per cent on average, by applying the recommendations on plant cultivation. The entire family profits from this in each case.
That “Growth for Uganda” was able to improve the living conditions of so many smallholders in the first three years alone was made possible, among other things, by a mobile training and laboratory vehicle which K+S KALI GmbH placed at the SAA’s disposal for the project. In this way, even remote villages can easily be reached. The “Mobile Training Center” also carries a soil sample lab, enabling needs-based fertiliser recommendations to be calculated on the basis of the nutrient content. For the mobile laboratory on the truck, special soil analysis technology suitable for transport was developed, which takes account of scientific requirements as well as the infrastructure in Uganda.
Development of the value creation chain
For smallholders in Uganda to be able to improve their food and income situation, they also need access to the market. For that reason, in the “Growth for Uganda” project the infrastructure for marketing harvest products and for buying important resources such as fertilisers or seed is given support. The Savannah Commodities project partner packs fertilisers in small portioned packages whose combination of nutrients is tailored to the requirements of a single crop in each case. K+S KALI GmbH’s know-how is included in the development of these mixtures. Thus a part of the consulting is already contained in the product.