Farmer’s Friends Project

The project starts with a dream of fighting child marriage in Uganda. I Karim Birimumaso I am born in Uganda, I have lived in Uganda most of my life and I see the struggle specially the struggle of young woman’s who lack education because of early marriages and pregnancy.

 40% of girls in Uganda are married before their 18th birthday and one in ten is married before the age of 15.

Because of poverty some parents see their daughter as a source of wealth as she can fetch bride price from her husband’s family when she marries. 

Some parents in Uganda feel that educating a girl is a waste of time and resources when she will ultimately marry and gain lifelong security. 

Also, child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys. 

Access to education and health services for women and girls in Uganda remains an obstacle. In rural areas, girls often start schooling at an already advanced age, in part due to risks associated with walking long distances to school. Girls also have higher drop-out rates, in part due to early marriage and pregnancy. There is strong need to give hope to these vulnerable by giving them a source of livelihood.

The main goal of Farmer’s Friends is to empower and teach women and their children how to sustain themselves within the coffee production in Uganda. 

Uganda is among the top major coffee producers in the world. Coffee has heavily contributed to both domestic and National income moreover the product serves as a primary source of income to small holder farms. Uganda produces excellent wet processed Arabica mainly done by farmers. The Uganda coffee sector employs over five post-harvesting processes. It remains a primary source inhabits in over thirty districts. Coffee has continued to be a strong commodity in the economy of Uganda with about 800,000 smallholder farmers. 

Regarding Uganda Bureau of statistics, coffee is Uganda’s most important cash crop supporting over 3.5 million families at all levels of the value chain especially for income security and has been the main foreign exchange earner.  

The proposed project is a project within a program which aims at creating opportunities for women in coffee production to boost women’s income and livelihoods.  Framers’ Friends will train women in coffee agronomy, processing and agribusiness skills. Organizing farmers into groups and training these smallholder coffee farmers to produce good quality coffee. The organization through its need’s assessment activities has noticed unmet needs especially with quality requirements to access coffee market at both local and international markets. Accessing coffee markets is a function of knowledge and information about existing markets and production of the desired quality of coffee. There is no doubt that failure to have the relevant information and quality coffee affects access to market or low bargaining power… Therefore, the proposed project will ensure training in coffee production and processing. Training will focus on best coffee agronomic practices such as integrated pest management, coffee post-harvest handling procedures, farm record keeping and value addition.  The project will also support farmers through distribution of farm inputs such as coffee seedlings, and pesticides to ensure market requirements are not compromised. The project will also set up a washing station, drying yard and processing equipment for value addition to ensure proper post-harvest handling services as a way for maintaining quality. 

The most vulnerable will be employed at the processing equipment for value addition. These will be identified by the help of the community leaders. Emphasis will be put teenage mothers, single mothers living with HIV/Aids will selecting these women. These shall be trained in coffee value addition and entrepreneur skills.   

The fact that Ugandan coffee is desired on the international market is indisputable. Although, a number of Ugandans cannot access the international coffee markets due to failure to meet the market standard requirements. This has made many Ugandans grow coffee for the local market whose returns are very low given the value chain and across within the market. Because of low returns, many people have opted for food crop farming especially women while men have ventured into other economic activities such as Boda-boda riding, charcoal burning, among others not forgetting gambling. This project therefore comes to rescue the situation by directly considering women and girls who have fewer economic activities as compared to their counterparts. However, the project will directly benefit males who will most likely get employment on the project beneficiaries’ farms especially performing activities that require physical energy.  The project beneficiaries are both men and women, but our focus is vulnerable women and young girls that is single mothers, teenage mothers, teenage single mother who are HIV positive and disabled. It is expected that over 600 and 250 women and girls respectively will benefit directly from the project.

The project activities running for the first 3 years will be financed through   donations and contributions from partners and volunteers for Farmers’ friends. It is projected that in the second year of operation, the organization will have started generating revenue from coffee sales; this revenue will sustain the program activities after the three years of funding. By the end of the project, an association of coffee farmers shall be in place through which farmer’s trainings shall be organized and conducted. Lead farmers shall be identified, trained and equipped with necessary skills to manage and continue with operations beyond the project lifecycle. An information desk will be in place at the association’s offices to offer information about the market’s needs, prices.  The project shall ensure training manuals are available in the hands of the Association leaders for backstopping, reference and continuous training.