MUST READ: Simple Practices Big Changes
Retired from Public service, Mr. Ssebata Joseph believed he could make it in farming. He used the money saved from his former employment to purchase 10 acres of land in Kyoko Village Lwengo District in greater Masaka Region. Mr. Ssebata was unlucky to discover that half of the land he bought was barren and rocky.
“All this place you see was a rock and nothing could grow on it” Says Mr. Ssebata
Passionate about commercial farming Mr. Ssebata was interested in a cash crop with potential of earning him more than his former salary. He opted for Uganda`s traditional cash crop Coffee.
‘I was determined from day one to do things in a unique way. I bought my first seedlings from National Agriculture Research Organisation (NARO) at Kawanda” says Mr. Ssebata
Mr. Ssembatya had high hopes from his garden and took all reasonable care to nurse the coffee plants and the soils but the returns were much lower than his effort.
“For over 5 years, my farm productivity was low and my coffee was badly affected by the prolonged droughts”. Says Mr. Ssebata
Just when Mr. Ssebata was about to lose interest in the coffee farm; Feed the Future Uganda Agriculture inputs activity launched a campaign in the region promoting climate smart farming. The intervention facilitates a climate smart champion to identify and advise farmers on climate smart practices.
Given the terrain and the climatic conditions of Masaka region, 4 main practices are promoted i.e. Mulching, Terracing, water harvesting for irrigation and planting of shade trees. Mulching facilitates retention of water in the soils while terracing enables tapping of running water and prevents soil erosion. Planting of trees has a double effect; provides a shade for the crops and manure when the dropping leaves decompose.
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