US$8,067.00raised of $1,000,000.00 goal
I simply can't find the right words but, I am humbly asking humanity as a whole, to help me leave a mark on the ever-resurgent grip of poverty where I live, by the time I die.
Specifically, I am requesting you to help me create only one lasting solution to stem the unending cycle of poverty in my region, in my remaining time on earth.
What this is all about:
I live in a part of the world where poverty is simply rife, as I once said here. Poverty is insanely high.
For me personally, I happen to be one of those people who are only emerging from the hardest forms of poverty, and the finest servings of hunger, that you can ever think of.
But what bothers me most, is the fact that nearly every household in my region lives in extreme poverty.
I am not happy sitting back.
As a person, just recently in 2015, when the UN Global Goals were being launched, I was still going entire days without any food, and things had been that way for me since my years of childhood.
I really want to see some lasting change.
As a fact, I wouldn’t want to be trapped in the same life of hunger and chronic poverty even in 2030, and I wouldn’t want to sit and watch the cycle of poverty in my region go unchanged even ten years later.
In a way, I also believe the only way global poverty can end, is when the ultra poor, i.e., those of us at the very bottom of the pyramid, are directly at the helm.
That is exactly the point I was trying to make in my other writing here.
I am requesting humanity as a whole, to help me create only one lasting solution to stem the cycle of poverty in my region. Please be the reason I will leave behind an unlikely solution, by an unlikely creator (i.e. myself), and in an unlikely part of the planet, by the time I am gone.
Please see "my intended solution" below. Lastly, to see how you can help, please see the phrase 'How You Can Help' at the very bottom.
My name is Anthony, a farmer here in Namisita, a village in a remote part of Kamuli, in eastern Uganda. My whole life has been defined by chronic extreme poverty, but whenever I look at the level of poverty in our region as a whole, something tells me I just must do something, in my remaining lifetime.
I am also founder of the UCF, a nonprofit social enterprise that aims to end extreme poverty.
What worries me the most:
Extreme poverty is quickly becoming a problem of only one part of the world: Sub Saharan Africa.
One pre-pandemic projection by the World Bank (in 2018) indicated that, by 2030, over 90% of the world’s extreme poor (400m+) will live in Sub Saharan Africa. Moreover, Sub Saharan African poverty itself isn’t created equal. It is tougher in given regions, and I happen to be living in one of its hotspots.
My country Uganda is among the poorest in Sub Saharan Africa, but my region Busoga is the poorest in Uganda, while my two neighboring districts, Kamuli & Buyende, are the worst in Busoga itself. And the deeper you go, e.g. the region between Kamuli town and Lake Kyoga in Buyende, which is where I live, the harder people’s livelihoods become.
As someone who has spent the vast portion of my life in ultra poverty, this surely worries me.
What I want to change:
The absence of reliable markets for our produce is the single biggest challenge that keeps every rural smallholder farmer in our region in extreme poverty. Farmers have no market linkages beyond village level, yet everyone is very poor, and no local demand exists within the poor communities themselves.
This not only guarantees incomes below the poverty line, but also means, an already impoverished farmer can’t produce beyond a certain point, and can’t scale. It is also the one thing that makes it pretty hard for people like us to rebuild post COVID-19.
When coupled with our OTHER main challenge of poor postharvest systems, the result, as highlighted here, is twofold:
a) zero income, resulting both from poor postharvest handling, and the absence of ready markets,
b) food insecurity, resulting both from poor postharvest management, & the fact that a farmer never realized any income from their produce in the first place, which they would have used to secure food in times of scarcity, yet the resulting food loss now means higher food prices.
It is also worth noting that: various antipoverty programs have come and gone, all of them with the goal of moving rural poor farmers in our region from extreme poverty, but all of them have only done the same thing: providing rural poor farmers with improved seed; fertilizers, and training -- not a lasting solution to what comes thereafter (i.e., market access at harvest).
If addressed, many farmers would indeed be able to turn into more productive citizens who are capable of escaping extreme poverty in a self-sustaining way.
How this orchestrates poverty:
But because there is no market for cassava in our region, these farmers told me they have only planted this cassava for the purpose of selling cassava cuttings (i.e. cassava stems), not the cassava itself.
The cassava cuttings are bought by the Uganda government’s ‘Operation Wealth Creation‘ initiative, for distribution to other poverty-stricken areas of Uganda.
This is a clear indication that, if only these farmers had a guaranteed, viable market for their cassava, they would have definitely produced even more, and they would have certainly been able to build their own path from extreme poverty.
Back in 2017, I even made a presentation before the UNDP Uganda Country Director (and her senior team), about the same thing.
My intended solution is: an integrated agro-processing plant that shall both reverse poverty and create jobs in our region, by minimizing post-harvest food losses; creating new market linkages for rural poor farmers, and linking our produce with agri-value chains -- like bakeries and confectioneries; bottling companies and breweries; paperboard industries and textiles, etc.
This plant shall be 80% owned by the rural poor farmers who will be growing the crops that this plant will be working on.
As shown under "Funding Targets" below, we will begin developing this plant once we only raise $240k, and complete it once we have raised $15m in total. So, every little support that we can raise will make a strategic start.
A detailed description of the intended plant is available here.
How this plant shall change lives:
One of the main challenges highlighted in the government’s 2021 report about the scale of poverty in Busoga, is that most farmers here depend only on sugarcane, which takes two years to mature.
Moreover, the more farmers turned to sugarcane because it was the only crop with a ready market, the more food insecurity increased as a result of monoculture, yet sugarcane can’t be eaten as food.
Not only will this plant create new market linkages for more than one type of crop, and thus help rural poor farmers diversify their incomes, but also, the plant will help minimize post-harvest food losses, while creating new jobs, and will enhance our ability to work with an unlimited number of fellow poor farmers across a wider geographical area (providing them with initial inputs, training and a ready market) in a self-sustaining way.
Most importantly, ALL the crops that our plant will be getting local farmers to grow on a large scale (cassava, sorghum, maize, pineapples, mangoes, passion fruits etc), are food crops. So, this plant shall not only help poor farmers diversify their incomes, but also, it will contribute greatly to food security in Uganda’s most impoverished region.
Each beginning farmer will be provided with initial inputs for 1 - 4 seasons (depending on the type of crop they are growing), and lifelong training. Others will intrinsically get the self-motivation to secure the needed inputs using their own money, because of a new market.
Either way, with a ready market and an established business model now in place, all farmers will ultimately gain the self-urge (and the ability) to secure all the needed inputs using their own resources, making our overall work self-scaling, and self-sustainable.
Why I am so into this plant, than short-term solutions:
All past and present antipoverty programs that have worked with rural poor farmers in our region, have taken the same approach: give these farmers things like seed, training, fertilizers, etc, season after season, and that's all.
But I can tell you this: I live permanently in Namisita, a village formerly in Balawoli Sub County, but now part of a new Sub County called Kagumba, in Kamuli. I also know precisely every other remote rural corner of our region.
No single farmer has ever exited poverty because someone gave them these inputs and went away. Farmers have been given everything, but they never ever become self-sustaining; many do not even have food, and live in eternal hunger. They can’t afford new seed on their own in subsequent seasons, and need to be supported continuously.
Countless poverty alleviation programs have worked with rural poor farmers in our region this way, and have spent millions of dollars doing so, but no farmer has ever moved from hunger to being food secure on a sustained basis, or from being a subsistence farmer to a commercial farmer, because someone helped them this way. This kind of work has always disappeared the same day its proponents exit.
By contrast, while sugarcane growing* is known to bring monoculture and hence famine, a sugar plant came to Kamuli around 2013, and gave farmers initial support for the first few years. Today, every part of Kamuli and Buyende is full of sugarcane, and farmers do not need anyone to help them get started. Because a ready market is there.
That is why, our intended plant, which will create market linkages for at least six (6) different crops, is the kind of thing that can move rural poor smallholder farmers in a place like ours from extreme poverty.
*Our intended plant won’t work on sugarcane. Nope. I only used sugarcane, and the Kamuli sugar plant, as an analogy.
As shown here below, we will install a specific portion of this plant once the money we have raised is at intervals of $240k; $620k; $1m and $15m. That is, we will begin developing this plant once we only raise $240k, and complete it once we have raised $15m in total.
1). With $240k, we will install a cereal/grain sorting, grading and threshing system, ideally from Alvan Blanch UK, and then provide rural poor farmers with seed, training and market linkages for two crops: sorghum & maize. This will help put our sorghum and maize on a standard where it can be used by all breweries, and many other big buyers, across the East African region.
2). With $620k, we will install a cereal/grain cleaning utility described in number #1 above; a cassava starch/tapioca facility, and then provide rural farmers with seed, training and market linkages for three different crops -- sorghum, maize and cassava. Starch alone will link us with buyers from the fields of beer, bakery, pasta, the pharmaceutical industry, textiles, paperboard and adhesive industries, biscuit makers and yogurt producers etc.
3). At the $1m mark, we will develop all the work in 1, 2 and 3 above; install two greenhouse-type solar food dryers, plus an assortment of equipment/accessories, and provide farmers with seed, training and market linkages for three crops -- sorghum, maize and cassava -- with at least four different products (including High Quality Cassava Flour & Cassava Starch).
4). With $15m, we will roll out all the work in 1, 2, 3 and 4 above; install a 6 ton/hour fruit processing facility; provide farmers with seed/seedlings, training and market linkages for six different crops -- sorghum, maize, cassava, mango, pineapple and passion fruits.
As I have already mentioned elsewhere, this money will only get us a basic plant, and it barely includes a budget for farmer support.
Considering a) the geographical vastness of, and the scale of poverty in, our region, and b) the fact that all our target farmers will need to be provided with initial inputs (considering their social-economic status) to enable them participate in this work successfully, we can do a better job, if we raised ~$45m instead.
How You Can Help:
1). Share this page via social media, and be sure to contribute.
2). Create your own fundraiser to help us reach our goal, by tapping "Support" at the top of this page.
3). My nonprofit (the UCF) is part of the Benevity Causes Portal, a platform where employees from all the world’s biggest corporations (including Google, Apple, Microsoft, SAP, Coca Cola, Cargill, Sam Sung etc) can make donations that are matched by their employer.
If you work at a company that is part of Benevity’s employee workplace giving and corporate matching gift programs, one way you can help, is by making a donation that will be matched by your employer. To make a matched donation, all that you need to do is search for “Uganda Community Farm (Nabwigulu)” on Benevity.
4). Another way you can help is by making a wire transfer to the UCF’s bank account in Uganda, using the information on this page.
5). Place one or two people from your team directly at the UCF, and then work directly with us as ONE team from start to finish, to help us develop our intended plant -- by sharing knowledge, and recruiting your network to lend a hand in any possible way.
6). For people from both the philanthropic community and those from the business world (especially those who are part of the UN Global Compact) who believe in the possibility of meeting the Global Goals through cross-sector collaborations (i.e. SDG 17), one way you can help is by chipping in, or rallying your network to help us raise a fraction of the needed funding. Every little support that we can raise will make a strategic start.
I would be very humbled if you could help me use my remaining time on earth to bring change in a rather impoverished remote rural part of the planet where nothing is in place to end extreme poverty.
- Anthony Kalulu
- Campaign Owner
A little update from our workUpdate posted by Anthony Kalulu at 03:21 am
i everyone, This is Anthony. Just a little update on what my nonprofit, the UCF, is doing right now. At present, the only work that we have in progress, is our white sorghum project. This page describes the current status of this work. Here are a few photos from the. . . . .
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