Chris Ochaya started his presentation by thanking the club and specific individuals for hosting him when he visited us for 3 months in 2017 after being awarded a Royce and Jean Abbey Vocational Scholarship. He also expressed his gratitude for our generosity in funding a number of projects at his Uganda community farm, Tamarind. Chris proudly stated that, as a result of our donations, there have been a number of great outcomes at the farm and he hoped that this will continue to ensure that the local community will not need to rely on others to support their lives.

While there is still much work to be done, the Tamarind community farm now boasts:

  • A bore water system with two 14,000 litre water storage tanks to support 600 people and to nurture the community garden.
  • A substantial vegetable and fruit garden that supplies many varieties of healthy food.
  • A new goat shed to provide shelter and security for the animal herd. The goats will provide milk and meat.
  • A secure chicken shed which is nearing completion. They will start with 200 birds. There will be two workers who will feed the chickens and collect, clean and sell the eggs. Chris estimated that each Tamarind farmer will earn $50 per week from this venture. Older chickens will also be sold for meat.

Chris says that, while Tamarind is a model farm in one area of Uganda, he hopes that it will be the forerunner of many similar farms in the country. Uganda is the youngest country in the world with over 70% of its 40 million people aged under 15 years old and 15% over 60 years. Other facts about the country which makes it ideal to establish a stronger farming industry include:

  • It is home to the source of the Nile River. Therefore the soil is very rich with nutrients.
  • It lies on the equator with average rainfall of 1400 ml per year and temperatures which range from 19 degrees in winter to 30+ degrees in summer.
  • Agriculture is booming and contributes 80% to the GDP. The biggest markets are many of the neighbouring countries.

Oil was also recently discovered and is estimated to be worth $400 billion. Drilling will commence in 2021. This will require a large workforce which will be sourced locally and from an increasing migrant population. This means that future demand for food will grow exponentially. 

Chris is a man on a very clear mission - to improve the lives of his country men and women by teaching them to not only be self-sustainable but also to become smart business people. He says that, at times, it is difficult for others to see this vision because, since the end of the 20-year war in 2007, they have lived on government hand outs. He says that they still have the mindset that farming chickens means they will be able to kill and eat them straight away, rather than using their eggs for food as well as income. His goal is to change this mindset. They need to move on from the past and, with sufficient training and acquisition of farming equipment and infrastructure,  the farmers will be empowered to achieve a sustainable and practical life.

A number of Australians have visited the farm in recent times including our very own Michael Redding and Chris expects other visitors to come as the farm expands. They will be able to see what a positive difference the project is making for the locals and what a bright future there is ahead for Uganda.

 
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