Agriculture would be the best avenue for the poorest of the poor to eradicate poverty in their households. Unfortunately, if we consider some factors of production that is; land, labour, capital and technology; they only have manual labour available. Most of them are landless, capital is not easily accessible because they lack security to offer to fellow farmers or financial institutions. Technology like improved seed, equipment, agro-inputs and even extension workers require finances.
If we are to support the poorest of the poor, they could be trained in activities that provide labour in form of casual or full-time employment in the agricultural sector; hence get income for food security and improving their livelihood. For example;
- They can be trained to be sprayers in vegetable production, manage oxen in ploughing and provide labour during shelling of maize or groundnuts by managing shellers on behalf of the owners.
- They can be trained to be artisans that repair ox-ploughs, cutting blades in shellers, repair maize and rice mills, repair knapsack sprayers and any other equipment/machine used in agricultural production.
- They could be trained to construct the maize cribs, granaries, water reservoirs and other farm structures. The suggestions are tedious work which involve the men (youth and adults), thus leaving out the women unfortunately. If someone is involved in spraying, for each knapsack he gets Ugx3,000 (approx. $0.8) so if he sprays 1 acre that requires 12 knapsacks, he gets Ugx 36,000 (approx $10) in a day. If he gets casual work in 10 days during a month, he would be getting Ugx 360,000 ($100) in a month.
Note: Those jobs are done by the private sector, however, if we deliberately train them, then they could be a resource that can be used in the communities.
For the women, activities can include sorting and grading of fruits and vegetables, flowers and grains. The usual farm activities like weeding, harvesting and drying are possibilities. There might not be training to become well-known for the job as is the case for the men though.
Harriet Nsubuga Mpanga
Agribusiness Development Specialist