Some Success Stories from Rwebitaba

 

300kgs out of 2kgs of Beans!

Angleica sorting her harvest of NARO bean 6 in Rwamwanja Refugeee Settlement. Even with a bumper harvest, there’s still a challenge of post harvest handling
The story of Angelica, a refugee in Mahega in Rwamwanja stands out among the farmers who has witnessed what they can only equate to miracles with NARO seeds. A second phase recipient of Naro’s beans in the refugee project. In October 2023, Angelica planted two kilograms of NARO bean 6 and she harvested 300 kgs from her field. In the camp, NARO bean 6 was preferred from all other varieties for its high yielding and fast maturing properties. In fact it is called karaara keezire (the one that matures overnight). Anglica also says that even at cooking, this variety gets ready faster saving her the energy burden. For now, Angleica together with others in the camp still face the challenge of post-harvest handling of these beans. In the picture, one of the farmers in Rwamwanja refugee camp is seen drying her beans on bare ground, a practice that devalues them.

‘Injara yashize’ (hunger is over) – Innocent Niyonzima the Refugee Welfare Chair- Rwamwanja Settlement

Angleica sorting her harvest of NARO bean 6 in Rwamwanja Refugeee Settlement. Even with a bumper harvest, there’s still a challenge of post harvest handling
Angleica sorting her harvest of NARO bean 6 in Rwamwanja Refugeee Settlement. Even with a bumper harvest, there’s still a challenge of post harvest handling

Innocent Niyonzima the Refugee Welfare Chairperson (RWC III) was one of the farmers who got the two bags of Narocas 1 in April 2023. This variety of cassava has since colonized the Rwamwanja Refugee settlement with organizations like Finchurch Aid now seeking to devote eight acres to establish a mother garden of it in the camp. During one of the monitoring visits, Niyonzima discovered that tubers had already formed and that locals were already plucking cassava leaves to prepare the famous Pombe sause. He says that he says that with this variety of cassava, ‘injara yashize’ (Kinyarwanda for hunger is over). “Thank you NARO. The hoe doesn’t lie. This is really good quality seed. We are proud of you and now all the partners in the livelihood sector in the settlement should emulate you,” he adds. Niyonzima has since given away six (6) bags of cassava cuttings to other refugees to plant both for food and also for sale in the markets.  

Innocent Niyonzima the Refugee Welfare Chairperson (RWC III)
Innocent Niyonzima the Refugee Welfare Chairperson (RWC III) OF Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement in Kamwenge gladly showing his harvest of Narocas 3 from the seed that he got through the NARO Refugee CGS Pproject.

The institute had a successful launch of the third phase of seed distribution especially of cassava and sweet potatoes in Rwamwanja early this April 2024 in an exercise that was witnessed by the Deputy Director General of NARO in charge of Agriculture Technology Promotion and Outreach Dr. Kassim Sadik. NARO has availed seed of various commodities in the settlements of Kyaka II and Rwamwanja through centralized demos and other demos under host farmers (especially refugees). The seed distribution model of a farmer giving seed to other two farmers in a subsequent season has seen NARO’s seed especially of beans, potatoes and cassava reach thousands of farmers in the camps.

DDG ATP Dr Sadik Kassim together with the NARO team interacting with the RWCII chairperson of Mahega Zone in Rwamwanja at the launch of the third phase of the seed distribution drive in Rwamwanja, Kamwenge district in April 2024
DDG ATP Dr Sadik Kassim together with the NARO team interacting with the RWCII chairperson of Mahega Zone in Rwamwanja at the launch of the third phase of the seed distribution drive in Rwamwanja, Kamwenge district in April 2024

In June 2023, NARO Rwebitaba ZARDI hosted Rt Rev. Dr. Robert Muhiirwa the Bishop of Fort portal Catholic Diocese together with a team from the Diocese in a field tour and training around Kyembogo station. The engagement that ensued that day has born grat fruit with the Bishop’s office contacting the institute earlier in 2024. The institute livestock team led by Dr Yuda Sekitoleko and Innocent Gumoshabe worked with the Diocese to establish a shade for a standard grazing unit and four acres of quality pastures at the residence from those that were identified by the bishop’s team at the institute during the field day. The NARO team has also carried out a number of animal husbandry trainings in parishes in the Diocese and is looking up four (4) quality milking cows for the bishop. Touring the finished shade earlier this June, Bishop Muhiirwa commended NARO for the support given to him and called on all the institutions in the Diocese to put to use the technical competencies of NARO to establish agro-income generating projects for the church.

Bishop Dr Robert Muhiirwa Akiiki of Fortportal Catholic Diocese with the NARO team inspecting the finished cattle shade that NARO assisted to construct for the Bishop’s Zero Grazing Project in June 2024
Bishop Dr Robert Muhiirwa Akiiki of Fortportal Catholic Diocese with the NARO team inspecting the finished cattle shade that NARO assisted to construct for the Bishop’s Zero Grazing Project in June 2024

It’s not every day that a cultural leader in Uganda graces the work of an organization with his presence. Yet on 2nd May 2024, the King of Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu (OBR), Charles Wesley Mumbere Iremangoma was the Chief Guest as the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) launched its partnership with OBR in Kasese district. The OBR team has since visited Rwebitaba ZARDI and had a priority setting session on June 20th 2024 that focused interventions on revamping income through in the kingdom through agriculture. This will include capacity building in commodities of coffee, cocoa and cassava as well as training in Sustainable Land Management Practices. Interventions will also touch on Livestock that include, pastures and goat rearing. Part of the kingdom includes the Basongora pastoralists and so livestock interventions will be focusing on their challenges.

The Omusinga (King) of Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu Charles Wesley Mumbere (center with a fly whisk) with his team and the NARO team led by the Director General Dr Yona Baguma after signing of the MOU on 2nd May 2024 in Kasese.
The Omusinga (King) of Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu Charles Wesley Mumbere (center with a fly whisk) with his team and the NARO team led by the Director General Dr Yona Baguma after signing of the MOU on 2nd May 2024 in Kasese.

Rwebitaba ZARDI was able to win a collaborative research opportunity with international partners to do research work on tea. Tea research work had slowed down but it has been revived with Aarhus University, Makerere University in a project funded by DANIDA. This project will see 5 PhDs and 5 Master’s students trained on several tea value chain areas beginning 2023.

In addition to targeting religious leaders as a category to engage for opening up uptake pathways for our technologies and increasing visibility, the institute targeted schools in the region. In January 2024, we carried out an on-station field day for head teachers and teachers of Geography and Agriculture in Kabarole District and Fort portal Tourism City. This activity led to the opening up of the institute to schools and we have seen great growth in school visits this year seeking help with competency-based curriculum training. This June 2024, we will host teachers from schools from the rest of the districts that we serve (Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Kitagwenda, Kamwenge, Kasese, Bunyangabu, Ntoroko and Bundibugyo) in a similar field day. Thereafter, we’ll also host District Agricultural Officers and Production officers for the districts in the zone in a priority-setting exercise for the region.

Teachers from around Kabarole and Fort portal City learning about bananas during their field day in January 2024
Teachers from around Kabarole and Fort portal City learning about bananas during their field day in January 2024

In addition to targeting religious leaders as a category to engage for opening up uptake pathways for our technologies and increasing visibility, the institute targeted schools in the region. In January 2024, we carried out an on-station field day for head teachers and teachers of Geography and Agriculture in Kabarole District and Fort portal Tourism City. This activity led to the opening up of the institute to schools and we have seen great growth in school visits this year seeking help with competency-based curriculum training. This June 2024, we will host teachers from schools from the rest of the districts that we serve (Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Kitagwenda, Kamwenge, Kasese, Bunyangabu, Ntoroko and Bundibugyo) in a similar field day. Thereafter, we’ll also host District Agricultural Officers and Production officers for the districts in the zone in a priority-setting exercise for the region.

Students of St Maria Goretti Girls Fort portal learning about weather from the Agro meteorological station at the institute in June 2024
Students of St Maria Goretti Girls Fort portal learning about weather from the Agro meteorological station at the institute in June 2024

When NARO came into Kabarole in 2012, the prevailing opinion was that mangoes can’t succeed as an enterprise in the district. The NARO team set up an on-station evaluation trial then that showed that some varieties could indeed do well. One of the farmers that tried out the introduced mangoes was an RDC then on Kabarole District Mr. Elias Biryabarema. He established an orchard in his land in Bigodi Kamwenge at the edge of the Kibale Forest National Park. The NARO team supported him with seedlings and also with establishment of the orchard. As they say, the rest is history. Biryabarema, now a retired man is minting a lot of money in his enterprise as he sells fruits to tourists and tour lodges around the national park. He says that a number of his friends have approached him to see how they too can be helped to tap into the local mangoes market.

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