The Banyabutumbi Small Scale farmers improve their soils and natural environment through traditional farming systems in Kikarara, Rukungiri District – Uganda.
With the funding from the New Field Foundation (NFF) and the intervention of Africe,
the Banyabutumbi Communities have gradually started to revive their traditional
farming systems. They have retrieved the long-lost traditional seed varieties like, millet,
cassava, sorghum, peas and beans. Each of these seeds have more than four species
that are nutritive, resistant to pests and diseases and are also medicinal, unlike the
hybrid that is provided by the government and sold by seed companies.
2. Organic pest and disease control.
In 2018, 32 farmers in Kikarara village were using chemical pesticides in their gardens to
control pests and related crop diseases. Africe facilitated various dialogues to discuss
the effect of using chemical sprays, including destruction of soil micro-organisms, insect
pollinators such as bees and butterflies and consequent loss of soil organisms and
The community underwent a series of training on use of organic herbal pesticides
including red paper, animal and human urine, plant concoctions like Cariandra, ginger,
paraffin, soap and ash.
As some of the plants were not available, the communities were supported by Africe to
purchase seedlings of the plants like ginger, Onions, Red paper and garlic.
This has greatly reduced the use of chemical pesticides.
The seed knowledge and culture approach:
Monthly dialogues on seed, soil and culture have borne tangible results amongst the
farmers. Farmers have revived the knowledge of seasons for planting different crops
and soils suitable for specific crops. Elderly women are now teaching young ones on
how to identify which soils are suitable for growing, which type of crops for example,
some types of grass in an area are signs of fertile soils or infertile soils.
Watching birds, insects or winds moving in a given direction symbolizes the beginning of
a season or rainy or dry season. This year 2020, Africe is planning with the communities
to draw traditional seasonal calendars that indicate the beginning and ending of
different seasons and different activities that communities used to follow. This will
equip farmers with weather/ climate change predictive mechanisms.
4. The Igaaniriro Rya Kubumbu (Community Seed Learning Centre) and Farming
Igaaniriro Rya Kukumbu is the name of the centre and literally means a communal
learning place in the memory of The Banyabutumbi tribe ancestor called Kubumbu.
Knowledgeable women and men who practice traditional farming methods have made
demonstration gardens at the Seed Learning Centre: The Centre which now has 3
houses for meeting and seed storage also provides plots of gardens where different
varieties of indigenous crops are grown.
Organic pest and disease control is also demonstrated here, where individual farmers
learn from as they apply to their gardens at home.
The seedlings for the plants used as pesticides are now ready for farmers to share and plant in their homesteads.