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Department of Plant Sciences

Farmer training outreach in Uganda

Warren Arinaitwe, a Cambridge-Africa PhD student from the Carr group, reaches out to smallholder farmers in Uganda on good crop husbandry practices.

On 5th January 2019, seventy smallholder farmers drawn from peri-urban and rural communities were trained on integrated banana and vegetable farming practices at Busukuma Climate Smart Farm. The farm, co-owned by Warren and Viola Arinaitwe, is located 24 km North East of Uganda’s capital city- Kampala. The training focused on core crop management practices, such as water, weed, pest/disease management and intercropping in bananas. A session on vegetable backyard gardens was specially organised for women farmers. They were trained on establishment and management of organic production of leafy vegetables. This was aimed to supplementing household nutrition with a rich source of plant-based fibre, micronutrients and vitamins. Lastly, farmers were introduced to biogas production which would help in management of their crop and animal waste efficiently and sustainably.

Warren also organised an exchange visit on banana management in South Western Uganda. During the exchange visit, the host farmer gave a talk on good banana management practices. He also demonstrated some of the key practices for increased banana productivity. Good agricultural practices such as banana mat population control through proper and timely thinning, pruning of old dry or diseased leaves, application of organic manure, removal of old decaying corms, weeding and mulching were emphasized. The host farmer also stressed the importance of varietal selection and plant spacing in banana production. Visiting farmers appreciated the model. They promised to implement learnt techniques and invite the trainer to their respective farms for further on-farm advisories.