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Harnessing the potential of women farmers

  • In 2014, after 14 years working with the marginalised women farmers of rural Uganda, we have seen women work hard, and often completely transform their livelihoods, by farming their land and learning best practice techniques for cultivation and animal husbandry. We know that with the right support and opportunities, women farmers can be successful producers, able to not only feed themselves and the orphaned or vulnerable children they care for, but also to improve the livelihood of their households by making profit selling their produce at market. This income helps pay for school fees, clothing and home repairs. It also allows women to re-invest money in to their income generating activities – buying seeds, equipment and land.

    In 2013 ARUWE launched sister organisation Community Fund (formerly Rural Empowerment Trust), a micro finance trust which offers micro savings and loans to support small business activity. Our experiences have demonstrated the commitment of our beneficiaries to improving their lives and those of their children. With our support to market their produce collectively, repayment rates are continuing to increase.

    Inspired by these successes, in 2014 we have decided to organise our beneficiaries, along with other local small hold farmers, to form a membership-based cooperative. By joining forces, they can share processing, transport and marketing costs, combining their efforts and as a result seeing bigger profits.

    The cooperative society is currently producing certified Robusta coffee, certified grains such as maize, ground nuts and beans. In the future, they aim to begin producing soy, leafy vegetables, fruits and juice, and livestock, including dairy, poultry and pigs.

    We are so excited to be supporting these women – who are willing and determined to take control of their lives and the future of their households – to grow their businesses and empower themselves. We can’t wait to see the results.

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