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Irarak united savings group

Irarak united savings group / producer organization is farmer group located in Otaadan village, Agurur parish, Kibale sub-county PALLISA district in Eastern Uganda. The group consists of 30 members, 21 female and 09 male. In 2018, our group was selected by our subcounty leaders to participate in farmers research project by VEDCO.

At the start of the project we assessed the sorghum and millet production system and identified key challenges affecting the gardens: we were planting local varieties which were low yielding, intercropped millet and sorghum in the same field with very high levels of striga infestation and soil infertility.  We agreed as a group to solve the problems in our gardens by establishing separate sorghum and millet gardens, used improved sorghum and millet seeds, instead of intercropping sorghum with millet we agreed to use cowpeas and apply FYM. Selected areas high infested with striga for our research, planted new varieties alongside our local varieties, planted in lines and for other plots we broad casted, we were told by our facilitator to weed our gardens twice to reduce striga unlike before when we used to we weed once. When that was done the harvest was better than what we used to get from our gardens before. As a group we also looked at which varieties were yielding more compared to our local varieties, farmers started taking up varieties of their choice, varieties that mature early and can fight striga. For millet, most of the farmers selected NARO mill 3 because it is good for food and local brew) and for sorghum Seso 3 was selected because of its deep red colour and women use less of it in cassava- millet bread.  and Mark 56 sorghum variety was also selected because it is high yielding, good for local brew, medium height which makes it easy to harvest. Farmers shared seed from the demonstration garden and planted their own gardens. we observed over the seasons that in the gardens where we used farmyard manure, cowpeas, planted in lined and wed the crop twice Striga weed was greatly suppressed. The group got funding from Private sector Foundation worth 26 million Ugx to add value to millet and apiary business.

Specific farmers in our group took advantage of the seed business planted and harvested much. The two examples were Auruga Jane and Nyende Esther. Nyende Esther planted 1 acre of Seso3 harvested 10 bags, sold seed and earned 1,000,000/= was able to pay school fees for her son. Auruga Jane planted 6kgs of Naromill3, harvested 450 kgs sold seed worth 600,000 Ugx and used the money to open her shoe business

Text Box: Photo: seed garden for milletWe are thankful to VEDCO and the donors for building our capacity and ability to identify our own agricultural production challenges, establish the trial gardens to come up with appropriate solutions to those challenges using new knowledge and our indigenous farming knowledge.