The Uganda Community Farm — or simply the UCF — is a nonprofit social enterprise situated on 12 acres in Namisita, a village in a remote part of Kamuli, eastern Uganda.
Our founder, Anthony, became a farmer after a protracted struggle with hunger and extreme poverty. After exiting teaching, he wanted to become a farmer, grow food and escape hunger, but he had nothing. To secure the land where the UCF is, he ran a few campaigns on Indiegogo in 2014 – 2015 raising a total of $2203, and secured land in 2015. To get a feel of the urgency, the insecurity & the impatience that was going through his head back then, see the wording used in one of his 2014 campaigns, here.
As a new farmer, using rented land before starting the UCF, Anthony had learnt that the absence of reliable agricultural markets was a major challenge for poor farmers like himself. He therefore created the UCF for exactly that: working with many fellow poor farmers to grow specific crops that we could pool and market together, in order to access better markets. That is the UCF’s goal even today. In addition, many of the farmers we work with are chronically poor, and can’t get started on their own. So, the UCF also provides direct support to these farmers, throughout the planting cycle.
Unlike traditional community farms where all the participating farmers work on the same land, our land is too small to move many farmers from poverty if used that way.
Rather, what we do is: we identify a specific crop of interest, and grow it ourselves on our 12 acres. We then get many other rural poor farmers to grow the same crop on their own land, by providing them with inputs like seed, and the needed agronomic training. This enables us to work with any number of farmers, spanning a bigger total acreage. The UCF also has its own dump truck, and whenever our capacity allows, this truck delivers organic wastes (as fertilizers) to all our farmers. If not, the truck only supplies seed to farmers at planting, and gathers produce at harvest. We then create market links for our collective produce, so we can market it under a single umbrella.
Our work blends 3 models: 1) a farmers cooperative, in the way we work with other farmers. 2) a nonprofit, in the way we support other farmers, because we are working with some of the poorest rural farmers who can’t get started on their own, 3) a social enterprise, in the way we seek to use self-sustainability to create impact, and to scale.