Thursday, July 7, 2011

Inspiring Ugandan Farmers – Part 1

It’s been great to have the team from Pacific Academy in Surrey BC help out in various capacities both at the Timothy Centre and in Kibaale.
One of the team members, Gary Jones (horticulturalist), has been helping out in planning for the future of the farm projects at the Timothy Centre and in Kibaale.  One of our first goals was to visit several farms over a three day period to get an idea of what’s being done locally.
On the first day Gary, his son Sam, and I visited a farm owned by Edward Buwembo, who works with United For Development Initiatives Organization in the Masaka area.  He grows several crops that we were interested in seeing and is involved in providing clean drinking water for schools.

Edward grows amazing oranges called Washington Navy,
as well as Robusta coffee.  Robusta Coffee is indigenous to Uganda, the second largest Robusta grower in Africa.  Coffee accounts for about 95% of the country’s export.
Apart from coffee and oranges Edward also grows avocados.  Although avocados originated from Mexico, they are grown widely in south central Uganda mainly for home consumption and local markets.
He grows his own coffee and orange seedlings to help support farmers in his community.
Edward then introduced us to a friend of his, Bonny Johnson, who as it turns out has Scottish and Ugandan heritage.  He also lives in the Masaka area and is growing acres and acres of Australian pine.  A few years ago I was surprised to see pine growing in Uganda, but certain varieties have adapted well to the climate and growing conditions in this country.  Seeing these pine forests reminds us of our home in Canada.
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He also grows coffee, bananas and groundnuts.
In a land where there is so much poverty, it was good to meet two Ugandans who are successful at what they do, who have a heart for helping others, and have a strong entrepreneurial spirit.  We hope to apply some of what we learned as we develop our own farm projects at the Timothy Centre and in Kibaale.

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