Backyard Gardening - Making a Difference in Rural African Communities
One of the areas that CPAR's Moving Beyond Hunger program focused on was promoting affordable and practical farming methodologies. Program beneficiaries in two sub counties of Lira District in Northern Uganda were also trained in backyard gardening.
Before the joining the program, community members would employ small-scale animal and crop farming on plots of land scattered at a great distance from their homesteads. As a result, people would stay for long hours in their gardens to avoid walking long distances back and forth to their homes.
Backyard gardening was the answer.
Four women groups were selected from the two sub counties and trained to train others on backyard gardening. This type of gardening involves setting up soil parked in an old sack punched with holes to allow for ventilation. Vegetable seeds, for example cabbages, onions or tomatoes are then transplanted and planted in the soil contained in the sacks. The sacks are then placed at the back of the home. The family is then responsible for watering the vegetables until they grow to maturity in about two months.
Backyard gardening has been appreciated by the fact that it reduces the distance the farmer has to walk to a main garden. The process also produces high yields as the farmer closely monitors the progress of the crops.
"I really like this method of farming. I can now feed my family on highly nutritious vegetables and sell the surplus to get some money for buying our family basic needs," says Anek.
The process for backyard gardening is also environmentally-friendly, as it lessens the burden of cutting down trees during garden preparation or opening up land for crop farming.