This week I got to see a lot of different agricultural activities in Uganda. I started my week off at the Lubbe Farm working with the mango seedlings. Since we are still having some troubles with seedling mortality and fungal disease in the mangos, we decided that it would be a good idea to visit the National Agricultural Research Organization's mango seedling project. We brought some photos of our operation and discussed our struggles with the manager, Ouma Patrick. He also gave us a tour of the facilities and showed us the way they grow their seedlings.
Our techniques varied little from theirs, and we determined that we may be spraying fungicide too soon after transplanting. The first seedlings we transplanted are beginning to look very nice and will soon be ready for grafting.
A view of Kampala streets from the bus window
On Tuesday, I took the bus back north to Lira to meet up with Agnes from Victory Outreach Ministry's Agriculture Program (VOMAP). It was a long day of travel, but there are some enjoyable aspects of bus travel. Every time you stop, there are people on the side of the road waiting to sell you food and drinks from the bus window. You don't even have to get out of the bus to eat lunch!
Hawkers rush to a stopped bus to sell drinks and snacks
Wednesday, Agnes and I went to a drip irrigation garden in the village of Barlonyo. The garden is operated by VOMAP and is associated with a primary school and clinic in the area. They send some of the produce to the school and sell the rest. The idea is to make enough money to be sustainable and eventually make a profit. This area was hard hit during the war, and many people were displaced here. Although it has been many years, you can see that communities are still rebuilding.
Drip irrigation garden at Barlonyo
On Thursday, I got the opportunity to go on some farm field visits with Agnes. We visited two farmers, Silveria and Ellen, who participate in the Field of Hope program I helped with a few weeks ago. Silveria took us to two of her sunflower fields. The rains came late, so the first field she planted did not get good germination. She later plowed another field with an ox and planted it with the leftover seed she had received. Silveria showed us how she used the techniques she learned in the trainings to plant her field. This field had a much better germination rate and should be more productive than the first.
Silveria in the field she planted before the rains came
Silveria's later planting with higher germination
Jennifer Bryant is a 2015 Noble-Watoto Fellow working at Watoto Child Care Ministries in Uganda. Bryant is from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and is in her first year of the master of international agriculture program at Oklahoma State University, where she focuses on international agriculture development and sustainability.