Indigenous food crops in Africa and Uganda to be specific provided a diversified food source for the poor rural communities in the previous years hence guaranteeing food security. However with the population pressure and focus on monetary gains, much focus has been shifted to new few food crops by the researchers and farmers. The indigenous edible crops such as fruits, vegetables, tubers like yams are disappearing with more preference to grow new genetically modified rice and maize hence reducing the diversity of food sources.
My idea seeks to establish a field edible crops Bank that will engage in many activities such as;
- Collect and plant indigenous edible crops for conservation plots
- Establish edible crops nurseries to raise seedlings for sustainable reproduction
- Mobilise and sensitise communities about the need to conserve indigenous food biodiversity
- Promote growing of indigenous edible crops in communities
- Train communities on the propagation of indigenous edible crops for sustainable food security
- Organise community indigenous food markets to diversify the livelihood of rural communities
Ezela intends to mobilise different stakeholders such as farmers, extension staff, NGOs with same interest, research organisations and line ministries to share with them the idea. Then will identify land of about 5 acres where to establish the Edible crops Bank and establish reproduction nurseries as well as plots.
With successful implementation of this project or idea, Ezela sees increased food sources hence food security, increased rural incomes from diversified sales, increased employment from edible crops value chains and knowledge on the breeding techniques of indigenous crops on nurseries.
Indigenous crops such as oysternut seeds and Pumpkins have potential to offer employment to many people through the development of their value chain. Oysternut seeds contain 60% of oil that can be harnessed for market potential through value addition when more farmers engage in planting it. Pumpkins too have a long value chain, from the leaves, flesh and seeds that can offer food and livelihood security to the communities.
Ezela motivation in this project idea is to see a world where poor rural communities in Uganda have sustainable food and livelihood security through the protection of indigenous edible crops.
Ezela Masolaki, Uganda