“It was like a dream,” Juliet Nyangoma said describing the increased yield she recieved from using improved seed and applying best agricultural practices.
Juliet is a bean farmer and member of God’s Grace Farmers Group from Katikara village, Hoima District. The group meets regularly at the local demonstration garden where best practices and new technologies are shared under the guidance of an AAH-trained agricultural extension worker.
Also known as farmer field schools, demonstration gardens are an effective way to encourage adoption of best practice agricultural technologies. The gardens showcase agronomic best practices including using improved varieties of maize, beans, rice and cassava.
AAH Uganda established 127 gardens in communities around Kiryandongo and Kyangwali in Western Uganda as part of the European Union-funded Better Livelihoods project.
Seeing the increased yields from the demonstration gardens has encouraged neighbouring farmers like Juliet to adopt methods like planting in lines, early weeding and sowing improved seed varieties.
“I had been using traditional, rudimentary methods of growing beans like broadcasting, planting local bean varieties then replanting the grain and I wasn’t really practicing timely planting and weeding. But after training from the Livelihoods project I began putting my new skills and knowledge into practice on my bean farm.”
After planting 20kg of the improved Nambaale Short variety of beans Juliet’s first yield increased by 100kg. Pleased with the results she promptly reinvested in double the amount of seeds and doubled the area in which she planted them.
“From the bean harvest, I reserved 150 kg for home consumption and sold 300 kg. I used some of the money to buy another 40 kg of bean seeds, clothing for myself and two piglets. After I paid the school fees I saved the balance of 200,000 shillings with God’s Grace saving and credit association.
“After observing the technology used on my farm, three non-group members decided to till two acres each and plant Nambaale beans.”
High demand for the seeds planted in the demonstration garden has also created opportunities for agro-input shops in the project area bringing more opportunities to the local community to create better livelihoods.