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With this Farm Talk, we send you Onion seeds. Learn how to grow onions.
elcome to yet another issue of Farm Talk. Find out what Farm Talkers in northern Uganda are doing after 20 years of war. For protection during the war, over two million people, including pupils, lived in internally displaced persons camps. Most had no gardens. They depended on food from the government and charities like the World Food Programme. Now that peace has come, people are leaving the camps and going back home to buld and clear land for farming. Because they were raised without gardens, many young people lack proper farming skills. Teacher Akello Margaret of Pagen PS, Kitgum, says: "Many are orphans who have grown up in camps with limited education and farming skills. They need everyone's help to live a better life." Farming for survival Ocan George,17, is an orphan in P7 at Laminolawino PS, Amuru.
Farming in northern Uganda
• Plant quality seeds. • Always weed your garden. Weeds compete with your crop for soil nutritents. Weeding reduces pests and diseases. • Rotate your crops and mulch to keep the soil fertile. Healthy plants fight off plant disease better than weak ones. Contact your subcounty NAADS office to learn more about farming and quality seeds.
Onions are spicy!
Have you ever grown onion s at home or at school? In this paper, find onion seeds and follow the instructions on page 2.
Pupils carry their bean harvest.
He lives with his sisters. They grow and sell onions. “I want to become a businnessman. We have grown cassava and beans for our third term school fees. I also burn charcoal. Life is not simple. I want to be a good farmer but I lack skills to produce enough harvest for food and sale.” As explained by teacher Akello, many young people are like George. It is important that girls and boys work together. This makes work easier. To get a big harvest, you usually need to farm in a modern way. • Prepare land early before rain starts. • Don't use fire to clear land It kills humus and useful organisms in the soil.
Boys and girls support each other
omen and girls make up over 80% of people who work in agriculture. They grow most of the food and work for more hours every day than men and boys. But females have little control over land and power to make decisions in their homes. Men make most decisions about what to sell and how to use the money. They often spend the money on unproductive uses such as alcohol. This is a serious problem causing poverty among many families. You can change this culture. Women and girls make good decisions about what to grow, where to sell and how to use the money. Boys, let girls and womem make decisions. Respect their views. Girls, speak out. Talk to your parents to give you equal chance in education and decision making. Equal participation helps girls and boys to: • Benefit equally. • Discover their full abilities. • Share work/get better results. • Take on responsibilities and do same work without gender bias. • Develop confidence. • Learn to respect one another. Farming for everyone Atim Joyce, 13, and Opoka David, 15, P5, Rwot Awich PS, Pader, say: “At school we grow different crops. Girls and boys uproot and carry them to the main hall. After sun drying, we put the harvest in sacks and keep in school store where cooks pick some to prepare lunch for us.” No complaints Fred Wilobo, 15, P7, Goro PS, Amuru, says: “At home girls and boys equally participate in farming. This makes work easy and increases cooperation among family members. I advise boys and girls to work together and avoid complaining."
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2Farm Talk, June, 2010
Life after war
Aloyo P, 12, P5, Laroo Boarding PS and Adyero F, P6, Police PS, Gulu weed their home maize garden.
arm Talk travelled to Amuru, Gulu, Pader and Kitgum to talk with Farm Talkers about what they are doing after the war. Many are not practicing effective farming methods. Enjoy their stories:
Akello Vicky, 14, S1, Koch Ongako SS, Amuru, says: “Our mother is the head of the family because our father died. We are eight children and my brothers are still young. As an eldest child I help our mother to take things to the market.” That’s good Vicky, but ask your mother to allow you go with the boys too so that they can learn and also help when you are unable.
Still in camp
Adyero Caroline, 16, P6, Koch Goma Central PS, Amuru, says: “I don’t have a garden because we have not yet returned to our village. But when I go back, I want to grow cotton. There is high demand. But I don’t know where I will get seeds.”
Cotton is profitable
Achan Betty, P7, Pagen PS, Kitgum, says: “I never saw my
parents. I stay with my relatives and grow cotton to support myself. A kilogram sells for sh900. So far I have saved sh75,000 for my school fees in secondary.”
No money from boys
Apio Scovia, 15, P7, Laroo Boarding PS says: “My father is dead but I don’t ask boys for money. I do farming and sell crops to buy vaseline and other things I want. When a man gives you money, he may ask for sex.”
"I like farming but don't have money for seeds and gardening tools." Acwera Bosco, P7, Laroo PS
"We have a big land in the village but we have not gone back." Atim Joyce, Rwot Awich PS, Pader
"I grow groundnuts and simsim for school fees." Atimango Brenda Laroo PS
"Farming is good. I grow and sell maize to get pocket money. ."Aroma Stella, P5, Laminolawino PS, Amuru
Apio Scovia, 15, P7, Laroo Boarding PS
Planting quality seeds leads to higher yields. Get good seeds from a trusted supplier. Seeds are alive. Handle and store them with care. Protect them from rain and hot sun. Where you store them should be well ventilated, dry and clean.
seeds = higher yields
Spice your garden with onions
nions are easy to grow. They have long storage life after harvest. They can be planted in three ways: sets/bulb cuttings, direct sowing and transplanting.
Quality seeds should be:
• clean and free from weed seeds, disease or pests • well dried • have no damages • be harvested at the right time (not fresh or over dried)
Onions are best grown on raised beds at least 8cm high and 20 inches(40cm) wide. About 40-50 days after sowing in a nursery, they will be ready for transplanting. In the main garden, space 8cm x 10cm between rows. Onions require nitrogen at the beginning of bulbing. When your soil is not fertile enough, apply organic manure or plant tea. Onions are edible at any stage. They are ripe when leaves start to wither. After uprooting from the ground, allow the onion to dry, remove the roots and cut the leaves to one inch.
Pupils of Ndongo Baptist PS, Kasese learn about onions
and purple blotch diseases. Protect your onions by planting them in well-drained soil, running the rows in the direction of wind and spraying with a multipurpose local pesticide. For pink root, a soil borne disease, control it by practising crop rotation. Thrips are insects that cause most damage. Control them with natural pesticides, Malathion or Diazinon.
Diseases and pests
Onions are mainly affected by blight
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Young Farmers' Club
The Adventures of
This is a story of the Young Farmers' Club. Start a club in your school and write to Farm Talk about it.
Atim: Are there different enterprises for girls and boys? Mr Okot: Ooh, No, both girls and boys can carry out similar enterprises. Mr Okot: Today’s topic is about how boys and girls can do profitable farming in northern Uganda. Akello: At home, we grow crops and keep animals. We don’t make a profit because of poor soil, drought and pests. We are still living in IDP camps. What should we do? Mr Okot: Practice agro-forestry to improve the soil. Make natural pesticide to control pests. Ajok: What do we need to make natural pesticides?
Farm Talk, June 2010
Tookema Pito Odong, agriculture teacher, Laroo PS, Gulu
Decision making is important in implementing any activity. At home, decisions are made as to which school to take children. In schools, decisions are made as to what to plant in the school, which flowers to plant in the compound. There is always a need to make good decisions. A good decision is made when everyone is allowed to speak out what they think about that activity before a decision is reached. Teachers, girls and boys need equal opportunity to be leaders. Explain to them the important benefits of sharing roles equally. Help them to build confidence.
Mr Okot: It is simple. Mix 7 bulbs of onion, 7 cups of marigold, 6 cups of tomato leaves, 5 cups of neem/melia, 2 cups of phytolacca dodicandra (luwoko) and 1 cup of red pepper.
Club members cut materials. Mr Okot: When you have finished, put all of them into the bucket and then add water.
Mr. Okot: Cover the bucket with the polythene bag using a string and then put it under a shade. After 3 days, the pesticide will be ready for use.
Mr Okot: Dilute with water 1 liter of pesticide with 3 litre of water before applying it on crops.
Mr Okot: For the poor soils, we can use compost manure which we learnt about in our last newspapers. Opio: Our pesticide is cheap and can be used on all types of crops.
Mr Okot: That will be nice. I am sure we shall have better yield and profitable farming. Ajok: Thank you, Mr Okot. We are going to tell our parents about making natural pesticides.
Write to Farm Talk PO Box 22366, Kampala
about benefits of equal participation by boys & girls in decision making. You can also send email: farmtalk@
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After reading about waste management in the last Farm Talk, we resumed using urine in our banana garden. Now we know how to use urine as fertilizer. Nankya Halima Zimbe, Kiryassaaka SS, Masaka Thank you, Farm Talk for the implements and seeds. This has made teaching agriculture very easy and improved academic performance. Tumwesige K Patrick and Magambo Tom, Mparo PS, Hoima Thank you, Farm Talk. We have formed a group of nine members. We are encouraging our community to protect forests and wetlands for future generations. We request for tree seedlings, vegetable seeds and tools. Loman Peter, Nakapelimen Village Youth Garden Group, Moroto I constructed an energy saving stove after reading Farm Talk. I am saving money on charcoal. I can also cook several meals at ago. Iroku Brenda, Teacher, The Light PS, Soroti
4 Farm Talk, June 2010
to sell some goats to buy a cow. Through farming our parents have been able to build a good house and to pay our school fees on time. Calvine Mirembe, Mutanywana SS, Kasese Thank you, Farm Talk for the tools and seeds. We have made a nursery bed and planted all the vegetable seeds. We have also opened up land for the demonstration garden. Nasasira Jane, Kikonda PS, Kiboga Dear Farm Talk, apart from using pesticides on crops, how else can one control the spread of pests and diseases on the farm? Wabwire Moses, Butula Youth Farmer’s Club, Busia
Pupils of Bukomero Junior School, Kiboga inspect their cabbage garden to see if there are pests.
Through Farm Talk club, I have learnt different methods of farming and how to control soil erosion. I have now started a garden at home and people are admiring it. Musinguzi George, Duhaga Boys PS, Hoima We have started diversified farming at school. We have a banana garden and keep pigs. At home, we also practice diversified farming. We grow beans, ground nuts, and keep goats, hens and ducks. My father now wants
Dear Moses, thanks for the question. Use environment friendly methods than pesticides. These methods include; use of clean uninfected planting material, timely planting, proper spacing of crops, crop rotation, mixed cropping, pruning of crops and maintain a clean garden by removing all the remains after harvest.
Grow crops and trees to fight climate change
s the weather in your area changing? Is there dry land where it was once a swamp. Are there floods where it was once dry? Is the temperature hotter than before? All over the world, the weather is changing: this is called climate change or global warming. Climate change is dangerous. It disturbs our crops, water and health. Crops can be grown with trees to fight climate change and get other benefits from trees. Growing crops together with trees is called agro-forestry. It is an easy way of keeping the soil fertile and protecting the environment. Growing trees with crops also increases crop yield and farm income when you sell crops, timber, firewood and poles. Some agro-forestry trees are fodder to animals and medicine for both animals and humans. They also conserve the environment by absorbing carbon dioxide, bringing more regular rainfall, and reducing the pressure on natural forests by providing firewood and timber. This plays a big role in reducing effects of climate change such as droughts, floods, loss of species, and pests and diseases. Agro-forestry trees also fix nutrients like nitrogen in the soil keeping it fertile for crops to grow well. They control soil erosion by binding the soil with their roots, provide shade
to crops, act as wind breakers and add humus to soil when their leaves rot. Trees provide beautiful and natural scenery. When growing crops with trees, mix crops with appropriate agro-forestry trees types like Leucaena (Leucaena lucocefala), Calliandra (Calliandra calothyrsus) and Moringa (Moringa olifera). Perenial crops like banana and coffee do well with Gruveria (Grevillea robusta) and Ficus (Ficus natalensis) or Mutuba. Make sure that the trees are widely spaced.
Grevillea (Grevillea robusta) is one of the agro-forestry trees. You can also get timber, firewood and shade. A former swamp is now a dry land due to climate change.
is produced by Straight Talk Foundation and funded by Danida Agriculture Sector Programme Support. Farm Talk supports the primary agricultural syllabus of the Ministry of Education and encourages the creation of fenced school gardens, one acre in size, intensively cultivated, and acting a living laboratory. It also addresses the nutritional needs of orphans and vulnerable children. Designer: GB Mukasa, Writers: F Ouma, Editors: C Watson, Contributors: Mango Tree; G Kiyingi, J Kisakye R Muwawu Reviewer: James Africa Byekwaso
Grevillea trees good for timber when left to mature.
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