By Misairi Thembo Kahungu
Mpigi — Known as the Songhai model, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development's organic agricultural project at Kampiringisa in Mpingi District is beginning to take shape, six months after it was established.
Sitting on 100 acre land at Kampiringisa Rehabilitation Centre, demonstrates the relationship between crop husbandry, animal husbandry and aquiculture thriving within one ecosystem. The aim is that animals, crops, trees and fish will depend on each other for survival.
The farm being managed by the ministry's Inclusive Green Growth for Poverty Reduction Programme was picked from Benin where a Dominican priest, Rev Fr Godfrey Nzamujo, has changed the mode of farming through the establishment of organic farming sites.
According to Mr Pius Bigirimana, the ministry's permanent secretary, cabinet approved the proposal of setting up such a demonstration site for organic farming after he was sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme to visit the Songhai farms in Benin in December, 2016.
"When I went to Benin, I saw a wonderful programmme and I said it must be done in Uganda. When I returned I presented a cabinet paper which was approved and the president gave us two years to have started but we have done it in a record time one year and eight months," Mr Bigirimana said.
When Daily Monitor visited the Songhai farm in Kampiringisa on Wednesday, there were many activities ranging from the first generation of crops that are now at the admirable green vegetation stage, the construction of the necessary infrastructure such as the administration block, the modern fish ponds, and the agro-forestry.
Mr Bigirimana said the essence of this Songhai model organic farming practice is not only tap into the growing demand for organic products world over but also create green jobs to Ugandan youths and women.
Green jobs help in reducing the negative environmental impact and promotes safety and health at work. The core ingredients of green jobs include promotion of good working conditions; improvement of energy and raw materials efficiency, minimisation of waste and industrial pollution and protection and restoration of ecosystems.
The project is co-funded by the government of Uganda which has so far spent Shs2 billion for infrastructure development and the UNDP that has injected Shs4 billion that has catered for training and technical works.
Currently, the administration block that will have a training hall for groups coming from across Uganda and the entire East African region, a recreation Centre among other facilities is at completion stage.
Piggery and poultry structures are already in place whereas the construction of 18 ponds is at completion stage.