“We invested UGX 4 million in spraying the watermelons and when it came to selling, we only got UGX 300,000 since most of them had dried up due to chemicals and were not desirable for buyers in the market,”Ms Macklin Asiimwe recalls painfully.
This was the turning point for Asiimwe and her partners after that devastating loss they suffered because of relying on chemical pesticides. Located at Kongojje village, in Wakiso district, Asiimwe’s farm seats on a 15-acres of land piece. Asiimwe has always carried out farming using the conventional methods prior to his interaction with organic farming. Asiimwe only has sad memories of this kind of farming that has always haunted her due to unpredictable crop yields she has suffered.
She says even the smell of the pesticides have left a frown of misery on her face that she doesn’t want to ever use them again.
“What hurt me most is I didn’t know how to even use these chemicals. I was just guessing and most times I would just ignorantly rely on those that vended them, Asiimwe said.
She further alludes that this wasted a lot of her time and money as she kept guessing what best way would work.
This pain opened her mind to explore new methods and she was willing to learn about organic farming when she was approached. Through Africa 2000 Network, an organization working to improve and promote organic farming practices, Asiimwe was invited for training as a farmer under the Knowledge Hub for East Africa (KHEA) project of Organic Agriculture run by PELUM Uganda.
As a farmer on the KHEA project, Asiimwe has been able to learn how to add value on her products, manufacture her own fertilizer from rabbit urine that she harvests.
This she does through small pipes tied on the hutch and connected to jerrycans, mixes with dung and ferments it for four- teen days. After which it is ready for application in the farm.
Asiimwe says this makes one of the best fertilizers she has ever seen since she started farming. She is also able to pack- age this urine for selling to other farmers.
“This is gold to me, I have now even learnt how to dig contours and make more organic pesticides out of garlic, red pepper, which I mix with rabbit urine to keep my plants healthy,” says Asiimwe with a glimmering face.
Eating toxic food is now laughable to Asiimwe since the KHEA project transformed their lives, she even says her sinus are no longer a health problem to her since she started practicing organic farming.
Additionally, agroecology has helped her in playing a big role in sustaining the eco-system, its pocket friendly since all materials used are from the environment like molas, garlic and so on. The soil texture has also been improved and revived through organic fertilizers and her painful past is no more.
She says organic farming may look hard at the beginning but with persistence, the results are formidable. She adds that there is need to have this training extended to all farmers in the country if the crop yields are to be improved.
For more information visit; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9kBXeafjoo&t=5s
Success story collection – done by Ezra Kalule – KHEA Project Officer – PELUM Uganda,
Edited, reviewed&uploaded by Magino Pamella-KHEA Communications Officer-PELUM Uganda and Biovision Africa Trust Kenya