Wednesday July 23 2014

Women growing vegetables that mature in three weeks

Ms Janet Amito, in her perma-garden in Karai

Ms Janet Amito, in her perma-garden in Karai Village, where she has grown varieties of vegetables, looking on is Mr Kakiza and perm-garden trainer. She says the establishment of the garden has helped her in meeting for the needs of her family members and saving. always harvest year in and year out. PHOTO BY JULIUS OCUNGI 

By Julius Ocungi

The hopes of Ms Janet Amito, 24, a widow and mother of two, were lost after the death of the bread winner in the home, her husband. With the intervention of Community Action Funds for Women in Africa, however, she has a reason to smile.
Ms Amito, a resident of Karai Village, in Palaro Sub-county, Gulu District, was trained in the establishment of mini ‘Perma-garden’ that have improved crop production among rural poor women with limited farm land.

Perma-garden is a small permanent garden that is established on a small piece of land. Varieties of fast growing vegetable crops are grown in the small gardens.

After acquiring the skills in 2012, Amito started in growing vegetables. She says they have helped her meet the basics for her family.
“I used to wait for a long period of time to harvest my vegetables, now in only three weeks, I am able to harvest the vegetable for domestic consumption and surplus for sale,” Amito says. She is engaged in growing onions, tomatoes, green vegetables, and she is able to save out of the sales she makes.
Amito earns between Shs10,000 and Shs15,000 a week from the sale of her green vegetables, onions and tomatoes.

Another beneficiary Margaret Ayero, 42, and a mother of 12, says when she was trained in perma-garden preparation, she first ignored the lessons because of the small space it occupies.
“To me it was lazy farming. But when I made my first planting, I realised how important the perma-garden is. In two weeks, my green vegetables were ready for harvest,” said Ayero.
“I was able to plant, varieties of vegetables like cabbage, okra and dodo.
“In three weeks, I had started harvesting, gave my neighbours some and sold the surplus which fetched me Shs60,000.”

Like Amito, Ms Ayero can meet the needs of her family. She has also expanded from vegetable growing to passion fruit on the same piece of land.
The programme’s manager, CAFWA, Mr Keneth Okwir Kakizza, says Community Action Funds for Women in Africa stepped in to fight against poverty at household level.

The organisation helps rural women establish their own mini ‘Perma-garden’ that will improve on crop production among the poor rural women who have limited farmland space.

Preparation of Perma gardens
It requires a farmer to dig six centimetres deep on a small piece of land either in the backyard or on the farmland.

Various minerals like charcoal dust, bone dust, wood ash, and blood dust is applied to the soil as manure to enrich it, adds Mr Kakiriza.
Farmers used to wait for longer periods before they harvested their vegetables.
“To date, the trend has changed with the introduction of perma-gardens,” Mr Kakiriza said.
CAFWA has trained over 2,000 women in the sub-counties of Palaro and Lamogi in Gulu and Amuru districts respectively.

“We have registered enormous success in elevating the status of the women in our areas of operation. In a short span they have boosted their income levels.”

Kakizza says women have formed village savings groups to borrow money in order to boost their small businesses. Their saving culture has greatly improved because most households have daily income.
They are also able to buy oxen and ox-ploughs to help them in their farm work, hence reducing the work load.