Between 1987-2007 much of Northern Uganda was engaged in a civil war that left the rural nation closed off to development and investment. It also left the population with a serious food insecurity issue. Now USDA’s Food for Progress Program, along with The National Cooperative Business Association-Cooperative League of the United States of America International (NCBA-CLUSA) and Mercy Corps are teaching small farmers in the area farming techniques to increase their yields.
Ugandan farmers like Grace Opono have implemented farming techniques that have helped her double her yields in just two seasons. Now Opono has also created a second income by providing tilling services to her neighbors. She can also afford to educate her kids and still has income left over to reinvest in her land.
The Food for Progress Program is being administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service to help developing countries expand their agricultural sectors. It’s one of 19 countries that are part of the President’s Feed the Future Initiative to improve food security globally through the development of crops like maize, coffee, and beans.
According to the USDA:
Farmers showed off their fields of tall maize stalks, which had flourished despite a delayed rainfall because the technique allows the topsoil to retain more moisture. More than 4,244 farmers have realized increased yields and are now sharing their knowledge and training with over 55,000 more growers.
Food for Progress and Mercy Corps are also working with Postbank to provide microloans to small farmers in the country. USDA’s Lindsay Carter spoke about some of the farmers:
“I had the opportunity to hear from a group of female farmers who had just taken out their second agricultural loan from Postbank. They paid off their first loan after using it to buy improved sesame seeds, which gave them a larger harvest and more earnings.”
What do you think of the USDA Food for Progress Program?
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