Construction of Storehouse
In northern Uganda, village life is one of survival and people have very little money – with less than a dollar a day.
There are distinct wet and dry seasons. From December to early April the weather is dry and hot. With a lack of water, crops are unable to be grown. For food, the villages have to use whatever they have stored in their homes from the previous harvest. For individual families and their children, hunger, malnutrition and ill-health are a constant fear and reality.
In April with the wet season starting, farmers begin planting their crops, with harvesting continuing through to July. Usually the villages have no electricity, clean water supply or sewerage.
Uganda’s population is about 40 million and increasing at a rate of 3.3% per year, with 70% under the age of 15 years.
The nation has large areas of land suitable for farming and which are available for village people to develop. There are substantial opportunities for Uganda to expand its farming and increase its agricultural output. Only 25% of the arable land is being utilised for agriculture.
Tamarind Australia is motivated by the reality that, since 1996, village farmers have lost much of the knowledge and skills that have traditionally been part of farming in northern Uganda.
In this area of Uganda the main crops which are readily grown include maize (white corn), groundnuts, (peanuts), yams, upland rice, cassava, sweet potatoes, sunflowers, sesame, jack fruit, avocados and lemons.
These crops have always been the traditional sources of food for the village people.
We know that the opportunity exists to encourage and enable the villages to move beyond living in poverty at a subsistence level.
The program we have introduced at the Farm Training Centre is to educate, train and motivate the village people to increase the amount of food they grow. In this way they will be able to sell their surplus food to increase their income.
Tamarind Australia has designed the Food Storehouse to be a spacious, secure, vermin proof building in which many village farmers will be able to store the surplus food they have grown.
Prices paid for seasonal foods will vary greatly during the year, depending on supply and demand. Tamarind Australia wants to encourage and motivate village farmers to grow more food and place their surplus crops in the Food Storehouse immediately after harvesting. Later in the year, when prices for each crop are at their highest, will be the best time to sell.
This will maximise the income for each farmer.
It will also be a huge motivation for other village farmers to put greater efforts into growing crops, so that they can improve the quality of their lives.
In 2012 a group in Sydney committed itself to raising funds for the Food Storehouse project.
Unfortunately in 2013, when the building was about half completed, the group was unable to continue with its support and withdraw from its commitment to complete the construction of the Food Storehouse.
The challenge for Tamarind Australia is now to complete the construction of the Food Storehouse.