From Rotational Saving for Merry Making to Progressive Cassava Farming. A Success Story of Dikiriene-Tego Farmer Group
Dikiriene-tego farmer group is one of the new national groups that has benefited from the NURI programme in cassava production. The group was formed in 2017 with the sole aim of saving for merry making during festivities. The group is located in Paila Village, Fualwonga Parish, Alwi Sub County, Pakwach District. Currently, the groups consist of 27 members (20 females and 7 males).
Before the NURI support:
To promote cohesion among the members, the group saved mostly targeting the festive season. Saving was the main glue of the group. “From working individually, you hardly got any support from government or any development intervention” said the group chairperson. To keep us in as a group, therefore we formed Dikiriene-tego farmer group and one member pitched the idea of “kilimba” meaning rotational savings in Alur. The main objective of the saving was for making merry during festivities. This was basically to keep us working together narrates the Okumu Abba Simon who’s the group chairman.
Each individual was involved in different kind of activities to generate the income for the rotational savings. However, the common crop produced by the group members was cassava mainly for subsistence. The group member’s main challenge was low yield and difficulty in marketing of their produce due to the fluctuating prices. Additionally, “our production methods were characterized by indiscriminate use of local cassava varieties and individually marketing our produce”, added one group member. “We received no training on appropriate farming practices and our saving was a group initiative targeting buying meat during Christmas and New year” commented another group member.
During programme support In 2019, our group was selected to be supported by AFARD under the NURI Programme. In one of the trainings, we were guided to select an enterprise. “Since we have been producing cassava as a group, we unanimously selected cassava” commented a group member. In the same year after receiving trainings on the appropriate methods of cassava production, NURI gave us NAROCAS 1 cassava cuttings from which we established 1.25-acres demonstration plot for our learning and multiplication of the cassava cuttings.
Last year (2020), from the demonstration field we processed 1,050 kgs dry cassava chips from the tubers harvested and earned 578,000 Ugx. From the cuttings, each member received 2 bags for opening at least 0.25 acres cassava garden. Additionally, two of our group members offered 5 acres of land as group block field. We planted the block field with the balance of the cuttings from the demonstration field narrates the group chairman. In June 2021, with the trainings on collective marketing and market linkage from our AEO, we harvested cuttings from our block field and supplied 245 bags cassava cuttings to AFARD under Panyago Community Development Project (PCDP) implemented in Panyango, Subcounty Pakwach District. Each bag of cuttings costed 25,000 Ugx that earned us 6,000,000 Ugx, in addition we sold 1,440 kg of dry cassava chips at 780 Ugx per kilogram from which we earned 1,125,000 Ugx. In total, we received 7,125,000 Ugx, “This seemed a dream to us because we have never seen such money before” said a group member in exhilaration.
Out of the earnings, the group bought 2 acres of land at 1,200,000 Ugx. In addition, we are consulting to immediately acquire a set of animal traction which would help in land opening and enhance production by ensuring timeliness in land opening. Similarly, the group has opened and planted 7 acres of NAROCAS 1 garden as group block. Coupled to that each group member was tasked to open an acre of cassava for production and marketing plan for 2022.
In a bid to increase the value of their cassava, Dikiriene-tego farmer group plans to procure a cassava chipper for increasing the quality of their dry cassava chips. Similarly, the group aims to construct a store.