Increasing agricutural productivity for karamajong women

About Solution

Extreme poverty affects more than 700 million people across the world mainly in rural areas particularly in east Asia and sub-saharan Africa like the region of Karamoja in Uganda.climate change has worsened the situation. This region is generally characterised by poor rainfall distribution and prolonged dry spells and flash floods. The severity of these hazards have increased over the past decades seriously eroding the productive assets that support livelihoods of communities in this region as they witnessed repeated crop failure. Years of comprehensive recovery and development interventions in the region have not been able to improve human development indicators which show that the sub region remains the least developed in the country.

82% of the population in the region still lives in absolute poverty. Malnutrition levels of 11% compared with the national average of 6% and while the Ugandan economy grew by 5.9% in 2014 /15 the annual rate of Karamoja was at 1.9%. Therefore,there is need to increase agricultural productivity among women farmers in karamoja to allow and encourage enough food for consumption and also earn income by selling the excess produce.  Incomes will help rural women farmers to educate their children, pay for health services  buy farm inputs and goods. Generally improving the standards of living  for the karamajong.

Most households are facing low incomes and food availability and reduced food access due to declining terms of trade. Therefore, they are only able to meet their minimum food requirements by relying on consumption and livelihood coping strategies. Poor households in Kotido and Kaaboong districts are the worst off where buying and borrowing food on credit from friends and relatives, reducing food portion size, and restricting the number of meals for adults to preserve enough food for children are wide spread. Inadequate food purchases, wild or hunted food stuffs such as vegetables, fruits, rodents and hubs are being consumed. 40 percent of the population in Karamoja are is stressed. Food security in karamoja is expected to continue todeteriorate through May. An increasing number of poor households will be unable to earn sufficient income from expansion of normal livelihood options such as firewood /charcoal collection. However, firewood and charcoal collection contribute to environmental degradation thus a need to encourage agriculture in the region so that incomes can be earned from excess produce that will be sold off. This will discourage cutting down of trees for charcoal burning so as to earn income when charcoal is sold therefore encouraging conservation of the environment. 

Food prices are expected to increase from February to June reducing household purchasing power. As a result a steady decline in food security is expected through March and the decline will accelerate through the peak the peak of the lean season in may as more households become unable to meet their food requirements. Crisis out comes are expected among 18 to 20 percent of poor households in Kotido and Kaabong from February to May while 50 percent will be stressed. 

Due to regional instability, Uganda hosts refugees mostly coming from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, south Sudan, and Somalia. In 2017, Uganda became the third largest refugee hosting country globally and the largest refugee hosting country in Africa. It's growing population coupled with increasing numbers of refugees coming into the country, calls for special attention  towards food security in all parts of Uganda while focusing on areas that are not performing well in agricultural productivity like karamoja region. Professionals and experts in the area of agriculture should be consulted or employed to find strategies that will enhance agricultural productivity in areas like karamoja with semi desert conditions. Thanks to Mohammed bin global initiative, United nations and it's agencies  that are trying to solve the problem of huger by encouraging agricultural production to ensure food security in different parts of the world.

There is need to increase agricultural production in Karamoja  by providing oxen and oxploughs to the women farmers .The oxen and oxploughs will be delivered to women leaders at village level for easy accessibility by vulnerable women.The population of karamoja is 1.2 million people of which 50% are women and 50% are male.This means that the project will have a positive impact in ensuring food security in the region since the women are in charge of feeding their families .

The crops that will be considered in the project are mainly cereals which include maize, sorghum,millet and rice.These crops will be considered because the climate( hot temperatures) favors their growth .Ploughing using oxploughs increases the size of land for cultivation compared to using a hand hoe hence more yields are produced.In addition to that,  hand hoe ploughing is tiresome and takes long to open the ground that leads to untimely planting resulting to poor crop yields in terms of quantity.When oxpoughing is carried out in Karamoja by the karamajong women,they will be able to plant in time therefore minimizing losses due to delays in planting thus ensuring food security in the region.

Increased productivity will allow food availability for consumption for different families and the surplus will be sold off to earn the women income that will allow them to meet expenses in their homes.Incomes will be earned by the people( youth)  who will be engaged in weeding harvesting,sorting and packaging hence reducing poverty.

Oxploughing will increase agricultural out put without the use of chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers that are dangerous when washed into water sources which may become poisonous  to people and animals when the water is drunk hence dangerous to the environment .Fertilizers can be dangerous to plants when poorly applied resulting into poor plant growth hence low yields.Ox ploughing opens the ground deeper than the hand hoe therefore allowing water( rainfall) to penetrate deeper hence conserving water into the soil which is conducive for plant growth. The use of ox ploughs  will increase agricultural productivity where by there will be market for the produce in that buyers buy in bulk because the produce is available in the market thus reducing losses  or waste due to inefficiencies in post harvest handling and storage.This means that there will be little or no stock to keep in store as a result of the ready market.There will be coordination within the value chain of rural farmers because buyers will  buy the produce from farmers in bulk and sell to producers for processing into different products or to retailers.Thus raw materials  will be available for production of other goods.   For instance sorghum can be sold to factories that make beer while rice,maize and millet to food processing industries.

Ox ploughing by women farmers in Karamoja region will increase productivity,protect natural resources,reduce post harvest waste or losses,increase incomes,reduce agricultural impact on the environment( environmental degradation) ,create market,allow coordination within the value chain of rural farmers and ensure food security generally improve the standards of living for the karamajong.

In conclusion, oxplouging  in karamoja will increase agricultural productivity play an important role while the people will be able to  realize benefits from it unlike input efficiency that has played a role in increased agricultural production over the past five decades,many of these gains have not benefited the rural farmers and have resulted in damage to the environment,including land degradation,deforestation,over extraction of ground water and increased green house emissions



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