“Balimi Network for Developing Enterprises in Rural Agriculture” (Bandera 2000 ) is a registered CBO that started in 1995 and is active in Eastern Uganda. Its mission is to improve livelihoods through promotion of food security for farming households, and its vision is to achieve a farming community which is food and energy secure and economically self-reliant. Bandera 2000 - a gender sensitive group - has introduced climate-smart agricultural technologies that have helped over 2,500 farmers to become food secure. These practices include no-till conservation agriculture and other sustainable land management practices, and the introduction of fruits and vegetable. The impacts on the environment and increased harvests are quick to achieve and easily replicated amongst poor communities. That is already happening. This initiative qualifies as a BSDP because of its simplicity, effectiveness, and grassroots approach that can readily be adopted by farmers in resource-constrained environments.
Dr. WRS Critchley - NetherlandsLead applicant
CIS aims at making VU’s knowledge, experience and expertise accessible to institutions and individuals in developing countries and countries in transition, and by doing so, to contribute to national development processes in those countries. Through its development cooperation activities, CIS helps to strengthen VU’s relations with education and research in partner countries, and thus enhances the profile of VU University as an internationally oriented and committed university.
CIS-VU Centre for International Cooperation - NetherlandsInitiative partner
BANDERA 2000 - UgandaInitiative partner
“Balimi Network for Developing Enterprises in Rural Agriculture” (Bandera 2000 ) is a registered CBO that started in 1995 and is active in Eastern Uganda. Its mission is to improve livelihoods through promotion of food security for farming households, and its vision is to achieve a farming community which is food and energy secure and economically self-reliant. Bandera 2000 – a gender sensitive group - has introduced climate-smart agricultural technologies that have helped over 2,500 farmers to become food secure. These practices include no-till conservation agriculture and other sustainable land management practices, and the introduction of fruits and vegetable. The impacts on the environment and increased harvests are quick to achieve and easily replicated amongst poor communities.
Uganda Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries - UgandaInitiative partner
Enhancing crop production and productivity, in a sustainable and environmentally safe manner, for improved food and nutrition security, employment, widened export base and improved incomes of the farmers; Key Functions
BAndera, a CBO since 1995 operates in Eastern Uganda. The mission is to improve livelihoods through promotion of food security for the farming households in this region. the vision iS ‘to achieve a farming community which is food and energy secure & economically self-reliant’. The BANDERA 2000 Sustainable Land Management initiative promotes Climate Smart Agricultural technologies and have helped over 2500 farmers in Kamuli and Luuka Districts to become food secure through adoption of Sustainable Land Management Practices. This initiative qualifies as a BSDP because of its simplicity, effectiveness, grassroots based approaches that can readily be adopted by farmers in resource constrained environments. The positive impact on the environment and increased food harvests are quick to achieve in the short run. It can also be readily replicated across poor communities owing to its attractiveness in improving food security at household level, regional and national levels.
BANDERA 2000 has set up a Model Farmers Resource Centre and training teams on conservation agriculture to promote the conservation of natural resources, resulting in improved and sustainable production. Farmers have been equipped with skills to grow cereals and legumes using the conservation agricultural technology and manage their land with the following objectives:
1.Trapping and storing water by use of permanent planting basins, contours, L-bridges and constructing water harvesting tanks to harvest rainfall.
2.Maintaining the high moisture content in the soils by mulching crops.
3.Increasing soil nutrients by use of compost and animal manure, planting nitrogen fixing trees and use of fertilizers.
4.Encourage early planting to take advantage of early rains and minimize pest and disease attack.
5.Ensuring minimum soil disturbance through establishing permanent planting zones and control weeds.
6.Use of biogas as an alternative source of energy.
Bandera 2000 operates in a relatively flat area lying between 1000 and 1200 meters above sea level characterized by relatively low rainfall that comes in two un predictable seasons in a year. The area has a high population density the communities are largely subsistence farmers entirely depending on land for their survival. The communities also employ traditional systems of farming like using the hoe, clearing fields for extensive farming and burning the vegetation during clearing of their gardens, not using fertilizers (organic or inorganic) to enable the soil regain the lost nutrients.
In general, the prolonged dry spells and intermittent food and water shortages are common problems affecting all sections of the community in this area. The innovations above were aimed at addressing those problems in the area.
-Increased yields are definitely one of the most tangible impacts of the initiative. The dramatic increase in yields of cereals grew under SLM. The 162 demo garden host farmers who have so far been reached have all reported above average maize yields which is directly attributable to adoption of CA (conservation agriculture) practices. For example, Jamada Isabirye of Kiyunga Parish reported to have harvested 2,000 kg. of maize from the 1 acre of land from which he previously harvested only 700 kg of maize during the previous season. Others include Robert Makanga of Buteme Parish who got 1,500 kg. from 1 acre while his neighbor only got 360 kg. from the similar size of land. The farmers acknowledged that increased water retention, which made their maize garden survive the long dry spell.
-Reduced Labour: According to farmer David Kikulube of Nawanyago village: "minimum tillage reduces the labour"
-Post harvest handling: led to gradual improvement in the yield quality.
The main beneficiaries of the BANDERA 2000 SLM Initiative are 2,025 members (1,182 male and 843 female members). These are in 81 farmers’ groups located in Kamuli and Luuka Districts. In particular, the following benefits have accrued to these groups:
-Women, youth, the elderly and disabled farmers (Technology: minimal tillage. Outcome: reduced labour requirements)
-All household members, in particular children, the sick and elderly (Technology: use of basins. Outcome: Improved food security at household level).
-Both male and female farmers (technology: Mulching, contours, grass strips and bunds. Outcome: Reduced labour requirements (weeding)).
-Women and children (Technology: Multipurpose nitrogen fixing trees. Outcome: fuel wood).
The CBO’s executive committee counts 7 members. There are 6 zone leaders who are behind spreading the initiative in the 2 districts. All 13 members received training in Sustainable Land Management practices as lead community trainers spearheaded by George Mpaata, the BANDERA chairperson. In 2013, BANDERA set up a small secretariat with a programme coordinator to oversee the CA demo gardens and also support farmers in post-harvest handling and marketing of their produce. BANDERA set up a Model Farmers’ Centre at Mrs Betty Tigawalana’s farm used as a training ground for farmers mobilised from the 6 zones and elsewhere. Each of the 6 Zones has a zone leader and a committee that mobilise groups in their areas conducts field training, set up demonstration plots and arranges learning visits to the Model Farmers’ Centre and other sites. This approach has reached out to over 2500 farmers, and growing, in the two districts.
The main obstacle in implementation of the BANDERA Initiative were:
• Low extension Coverage: the inadequate spread of extension services providers on part of the government. E.g., there is only 1 agricultural extension worker based at the subcounty to serve hundreds of farmers.
• The dominantly low input subsistence farming system is a discouragement to investing more labour and inputs. Farmers complain of increased labour, cost of external inputs e.g fertilizers, herbicides in putting in practice CA and SLM practices even when this extra effort results in total net gains, food security and household income.
• The high cost of farmer to farmer learning approach-while the approach as proved effective, it involves transportation, meals and (sometimes) accommodation costs to enable farmers visit other farmers and attend field days to learn from other farmers. Seek partnerships to co- finance the cost of transport, accommodation where necessary.
• Storage and Post harvest handling.
The initiative impacts the environment in several ways:
• The practices integrate minimum disturbance to the soil and mulching, improving soil moisture, stability of the soil environment and nutrient availability, thereby contributing to enhance biodiversity.
• The initiative also resulted in overall increase in Biomass production and soil organic matter thereby enhancing the contribution of the agricultural landscapes to carbon capture and availability of feed and energy for households.
• The use of biogas and planting more trees meant reduced pressure on forests as a source of energy and therefore improvement in rain cycle and carbon absorption.
• More water retention in the landscape; increasing the resilience of the agriculture landscape to drought conditions and improvement of the ecosystems in general.
• Soil erosion was minimised by the use of planting basins and soil and water conservation structures.
- Ownership of the initiative by the farmers themselves
- The largely appreciated and immediate visible effects on their farms such as healthy crops and the quick turnaround in yields of cereals harvested under CA as compared to traditional agriculture methods.
- Farmers are encouraged to practice the initiatives on their own land where they will maintain ownership to sustain their investment.
• There has been gradual buy into the initiative by the local government of Kamuli District as a partner contracted to train other farmers groups and local leaders.
• All activities take into account gender balance; for example membership of farmers groups engaged, participants in training sessions and farmer visits must be at least 50% women.
• The Bandera Secretariat has enhanced the internal capacity of the initiative to document success stories, mobilize new partnerships, financial resources to support the initiative. The group has successfully mobilized funds from UNDP and other partners.
Some of the original and innovative methodologies used to disseminate the main innovations and results include:
-Bandera Model Farmer Resource Centre – The centre demonstrates various land management practices
-Farmer to farmer visits
-Public awareness and open days – The high maize and bean crop yields under CA encouraged Bandera and other beneficiary communities to share their gains with pride on radio and television. Since 2012, Bandera members have featured more than 15 times on local programmes featured by radio stations including Radio Star, Basoga Baino, Nile Broadcasting Service and Kiira Radio. In addition, at least 7 articles in The New Vision and The Daily Monitor newspapers featured Bandera community activities in 2012.
-Drama and Music - The use of drama to translated the innovations and results of the CA and SLM innovations into acts and songs performed at training sessions, the Model farmers’ Centre and different functions to enhance at is where we get more adopters.