Beyond the Kitchen Project
In 2021, we embarked on our maiden project to support women headed households to improve their crop yields and generate income from food crop cultivation. This was aimed at achieving three objectives:
- Improve food security in homes.
- Improve household income through sale of surplus crop yields
- Encourage adoption of improved methods of food crop growing
This project has been implemented in Nyamambuka village among selected 9 households. We provided households with training on improved farming approaches and encouraged them to use improved seeds. Two crops were singled out for this maiden project; Beans and g-nuts as these form some of the key food crops in the area.
At the onset of the rain season in March 2021, we provided the select farmers with seedlings and extension services to guide farmers on planting dynamics. Our programme officer and extension work monitored the crops and advised farmers at different stages of crop growth, till harvest time. During this period, we engaged households in awareness programmes for mindset change on their view and attitude towards agriculture. Our aim has always been for households to not only look at food crop production as a means of providing food for the homes. We focused on helping households discover that when you engage in better means of crop production, there are high chances of improving your yields which will provide you with food at home for consumption and have the surplus food sold in the market to earn you extra income that can be used in supporting the education of children, providing health care and other needs of the household.
Our observation and outcome from the first planting and harvesting season is that the households reported an increase in the yield they realized. One farmer – Katusabe (female 27 years) noted that it had been a while since she last harvested about 80kgs of beans from her gardens. She also noted that with the spacing she used at planting time, it was less tedious for her during the weeding season. She felt that the knowledge from the extension worker was valuable and had helped her use less energy and realize better harvest. Flora (43 years) realized 270kgs at harvest time, which excited her especially that we were in covid-19 times. Her plan was to sell the harvest to have money that will help her hire labor for the next planting season.
In the second planting season September to December 2021, 6 new households have been added to our project making a total of 15 households that we are supporting with improved seeds and extension services. At our end of year engagement, we observed that there is a general satisfaction among the households that are participating in our maiden project to transition farmers from the kitchen to the market. We also noted that families were very certain about Christmas holiday celebrations and were confident about the beginning of the academic year in January 2022. Katusabe noted that she is more relaxed since she already has the scholastic material and fees dues for her three children catered for. She was only looking forward to the resumption of the school academic year.
Beyond the Kitchen project is now in its second year of implementation. We have however maintained the number of households at 15 as our resources currently can’t provide adequate supervision and enrolment of new households on the programme. Our plan is to graduate the 15 maiden households at the end of 6 rain/planting cycles and enroll new households. We have plans of expanding this project to enroll more interested households. Our goal is to maintain and sustain the mindset and attitude change for participating households to appreciate that there is more benefit they stand to gain from growing crops other than providing food in the household. We plan to document and demonstrate the benefits households have attained while participating in the project.