The desert locust swarms which are wreaking havoc in the Horn of Africa have reduced in Uganda, thank God! We have been at home worrying about our investment of 5,000 trees, time, labor, and money spent. Luckily, while swarms of the locust were near our farm there was no damage reported. It seems with the onset of seasonal rains the locust invasion is reducing further in Uganda but they continue in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, and other countries.
On the COVID-19 front, we have some other good news. Uganda is managing to contain the virus with manageable cases and no deaths. The lock-down restrictions are easing a little as the government continues to assess the situation.
While we have good news, we also have some bad. Now there are problems of regional food insecurity caused by COVID-19 market disruptions. Lamwo District, where our farm is located, subsistence farming is the backbone of the economy. The average per capita income is only $75 per year. Without any social safety net available, even a small shock can become a crisis for these farming households. With the looming threat of food and income insecurity, we are taking action!
We are going to help mitigate the risks of food shortages and high prices. Uganda is blessed with available fertile land but farmers in our area struggle to get access or afford quality seeds. Yet quality seeds are critical for production. We can help. Using our farm, we are going to multiply enough seeds to supply at least 2,500 small scale farmers to each plant one acre of crops. Our priority seed to multiply, for now, is soybean because of the ready market, high nutritional value, ease of growing, and early maturing. This action would be a big boost to food production and incomes.
Now is not the time for panic. We must move forward within our communities. In our case, we will work with family farmers and rural producers to continue to plant, harvest, transport, and supply food. These are difficult times for everyone including us.
To make this happen at a larger scale we need more partners. If anyone reading this wants to be involved individually or works for a relevant organization capable of joining us, please message us at email@example.com
We cannot wait. Action must begin now.