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Making corn go further

Asiimwe Tibirigirwa is chair of her local women’s group in Uganda’s Kabarole district. For the last four years, they have teamed up to farm corn and beans, with excellent results.

The group hired five acres of land and produced 9,900lb of crops from their first harvest, earning themselves 2,250,000 Ugandan Shillings. After calculating costs, the group of 30 women shared $678.

Asiimwe said: “We had never raised so much from a single crop harvest. Our individual harvests always only catered for our subsistence needs with nothing left to sell.

“Now if we continue with this collective farming approach as a group, we'll have adequate funds to save and invest in other profitable business.”

Savings and loans

The women have set up a savings and loans group to allow them to invest and borrow money for emergencies or to build businesses like basket weaving and baking.

Farm Africa is working with them to help increase the value of their traditional corn harvests by reducing waste. Losses after harvest can be a big problem, but the women can get more from their harvest by using improved storage and by processing their crops.

Turning waste into energy

We set up training to teach farmers how to make charcoal from agricultural waste. Asiimwe and her fellow farmers learnt how corn cobs and stalks can be made into charcoal – turning previously unused waste into a source of energy, and reducing the need to use up local firewood.