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.
We are farmers ourselves in the first place. Overall, our work blends 3 models all at once: 1) a farmers cooperative, in the way we work together with other farmers. 2) a nonprofit, in the way we support other farmers, because we are working with some of the poorest rural smallholder 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.
The UCF is the brainchild of farmers who, until only recently, lived in chronic poverty. Today, not only do we have plenty of food being grown by ourselves at the UCF, we are also helping many other rural poor smallholder farmers escape extreme poverty.
Unlike traditional community farms where several farmers work on the same piece of land, our land is too small to move many farmers from poverty if used that way, since ending poverty is our foremost goal. 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, and the needed agronomic training. This enables us to work with any number of farmers, over a bigger total acreage. Lastly, we create market links for our collective produce.
Our mission is to lift rural smallholder farmers from extreme poverty in eastern Uganda through access to viable agricultural markets. We do this by providing fellow poor farmers with initial seed, and ample agronomic support. At harvest, we pool our produce and market it under a single umbrella. This not only gives poor farmers a hand-up, but also links them to high-value markets they couldn’t access before.
Methodology: we identify a specific crop of interest. We grow it ourselves on our 12 acres. We then enlist many other rural poor smallholder farmers to grow that crop, and help them secure inputs like seed. From here, we provide them with the needed technical training. The UCF also has its own dump truck, and whenever our capacity allows, this truck delivers organic wastes/fertilizers to all our farmers. We then build market links for our collective produce, so we can market it under a single umbrella.