Help the extreme poor in our region build some functional level of resilience — with this plant. Below is a breakdown of the money we are seeking for our intended plant.
But first, a few people have asked how we conceived this whole idea; its suitability (i.e. why we think it solves the problem), and how we arrived at our envisaged budget. Our recent conversation with one Professor at Yale University, partly answers this.
The absence of reliable markets for our produce is the main underlying challenge that keeps every single farmer in our region in extreme poverty. Farmers have no market linkages beyond village level, yet everyone is very poor, and no local demand exists.
This not only guarantees incomes below the poverty line, but also means, an already impoverished farmer can’t produce beyond a certain point, and can’t scale. It is also the one thing that makes it pretty hard for people like us to rebuild post COVID-19.
When coupled with our other key challenge of poor postharvest systems, the result, as highlighted here, is twofold: a) zero income, resulting both from postharvest food loss, and the absence of ready markets, and b) food insecurity, resulting both from poor postharvest management, and the fact that a farmer never realized any income from their produce in the first place, which they would have used to secure food during times of scarcity, yet the resulting food loss now means higher food prices.
Our goal is to develop a plant that shall both reverse poverty and create jobs in our region, by minimizing post-harvest food losses; creating reliable market linkages for rural poor farmers, and linking our produce with agri-value chains — like bakeries and confectioneries; bottling companies and breweries; biscuit makers & yogurt producers; paperboard industries and pharmaceuticals, adhesive industries & textiles, and so on.
Individual rural poor smallholder farmers will directly benefit from high prices for their produce; a ready market at harvest, as well as inputs (seed, agronomic training and other extension services) that the UCF provides to all the farmers we work with. Installing this plant will also give us the capacity to work with an unlimited number of fellow poor farmers across a wider geographical area, in a self-sustaining manner.
Technical assistance on installing the whole plant; building market linkages, and advice on specific crop systems will come from TechoServe, SolarLabSU.com, Partners in Food Solutions, AfrII, Natural Resources Institute UK & specialized entities like Alvan Blanch.
Most importantly, we are in need of a helping hand from everyone on this planet, to enable us raise the needed support. Please see “How You Can Help” below this page.
Note: we are seeking a threshold of $15m to get this plant off the ground. But, as described under “Funding Targets” in our current fundraiser for this plant (see link below), we will install a specific portion of this plant once the money we have raised is at intervals of $240k; $620k; $1m and $15m. That is, we will begin developing this plant once we only raise $240k, and complete it once we have raised $15m in total. That means, every little support that we can raise will make a strategic beginning.
1). Farmer Support: $0.2m
Once this plant is installed, we will need to provide all our participating farmers with initial seed and agronomic training, all year round, as described under our intended “Business Model” (which you can read via the Action Plan menu on this website). This is intended to increase the scope of production; disseminate better crop varieties e.g. the right sorghum and cassava species for beer production, or the ideal fruit varieties for juice production, and to ensure that even the poorest farmers who have no inputs can participate equally, this time with a ready market for their produce at harvest.
Farmers in our region will, for the very first time, get to grow the 4 newest varieties of cassava (Nase11, Nase19, Narocass1 and Narocass2) that are very climate-resilient and disease-resistant, and which have a higher yield than all previous varieties. It will also be the first time farmers in our region will start growing white sorghum, which is used for beer production. The latter has already been initiated by the UCF in Kamuli.
To maximize our budget for farmer support, and as a way of ensuring that we can support as many rural poor farmers as possible, we will also partner with initiatives like the Uganda government’s Operation Wealth Creation, to enable farmers access free inputs like cassava cuttings; pineapple suckers; mango; orange and passion fruit seedlings. We will seek such partnerships as soon as we start developing our plant.
2). Plant Component #1 — Cassava, Cereal & Grain Processing: $0.8m
a). A cereal/grain sorting, grading and threshing system (ideally from Alvan Blanch UK). This will help put our sorghum and maize on a standard where it can be used by all breweries as well as many other buyers across the East African region: $90,000
b). A utility for producing cassava starch and/or tapioca for beer, bakery, pasta, the pharmaceutical industry, textile use, paperboard and adhesive industries, biscuit makers and yogurt producers, etc (ideally from LARSSON Sweden): $380,000
c). Two greenhouse-type solar food dryers, 9mx27m each. These will be constructed with materials from the Germany firm ‘Covestro’, and will be installed by Covestro’s implementing technical team (SolarLabSU.com), who are based at Silpakorn University. Cost per dryer (including shipping of materials & labor) is $80,000. Total: $160,000.
A single solar food dryer similar to the ones we need was installed at a Ugandan University in 2017 for $100,000. So, a unit cost of $80,000 is the best we can find.
d). A cassava milling machine (for High Quality Cassava Flour): $25,000
e). A new block for housing our cassava milling machine; our cereal/grain sorting and threshing machine, plus renovation of the UCF’s already existing storehouse: $50,000
f). An open building where fresh cassava is peeled: $5,000.
g). A 625 sq ft concrete water tank where peeled cassava is soaked overnight (i.e. for hydrolysis) to convert cyanogenic glucosides into cyanide (in bitter varieties): $5,000
h). A boiling system to reduce cyanide content in peeled cassava: $5,000
i). A conveyer belt for handling the cassava during processing: $10,000
j). Packaging accessories: $30,000
k). An electric powered borehole, and plumbing installations, to supply running water. A manual borehole is already in place at the UCF, but needs modification to provide running water: $20,000
l). Laying pavers on the floor of our processing yard to enhance hygiene: $10,000
m). A 300 ft x 400 ft enclosure around our processing plant for security: $10,000
3). Plant Component #2 — Fruit Processing Facility: $14m
A facility that has an hourly capacity of turning 6 – 8 tons of fresh fruit into intermediate products like purees and concentrates, or fresh fruit juice. This will either come from Alvan Blanch (UK), or from an Italian food processing equipment maker.
Total cost (for 1, 2 and 3 above): $15m
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
1). Share our current fundraiser via social media, and be sure to contribute.
2). Another way you can help us raise part of the needed support is by making a wire transfer to the UCF’s bank account in Uganda, using the info on our Support Us page.
3). In March 2021, the UCF became part of the Benevity Causes Portal. If you work for a company that is part of Benevity’s employee workplace giving & corporate matching gift programs, you can help us raise support for this plant by having your contribution matched by your employer. Search ‘Uganda Community Farm (Nabwigulu)’ on Benevity.
4). Place one or two people from your team directly at the UCF (once COVID-19 has abated), and then work with us as ONE team from start to finish, to help us develop this plant, by sharing knowledge, and recruiting your network to lend a helping hand.
5). For people from the philanthropic community, and those from the business world (esp. those who are part of the UN Global Compact) who believe in the possibility of meeting the SDGs through cross-sector collaborations, one way you could help is by chipping in, or rallying your network to help us raise a fraction of the needed funding.
6). If you possess any hands-on skills that you could offer on a volunteering basis (e.g. as an industrial designer; food technologist, mechanical engineer etc), come work with us here in Uganda, to develop this plant, once the coronavirus has relented.
7). If you are someone who has no hands-on skills to offer (i.e. if you are an unskilled volunteer who would like to be part of us in developing this plant), there is a lot that you can do, from carrying materials from suppliers, to keeping records. Come join in.
We can even do a little better than the work described above, if only we could find enough helping hands to help us raise a little over $15m. To find out, visit this page.
– – – – –
Help us put a sizable bet on 2030, today. Help us make 2030 the year poverty must end. Any help that you can extend to us towards this goal shall be much appreciated.
Anthony < anthony AT ugandafarm.org >