The project aims at strengthening the extension service and lead farmers adaptive capacity in Bukonzo Joint Cooperative in Uganda. Climate resilience involves taking decisions based on observation, information and experimentation. It is a departure from a classical extension service which promotes technology and methods, without engaging the farmers in the process of experimenting with new methods (e.g. minimum cultivation, permanent cover, trash lines). The project fits into the 5 year strategy designed by Bukonzo Joint during a participatory climate risk assessment carried out in 2012, supported by Twin. This had identified soil erosion, low productivity and therefore a high vulnerability of smallholder farmers to climate variations. The model in place is based on Farmer Field Schools, and started in 3 villages, then rolled out to 3 others and in 2014 to 16 new areas.
Building the Adaptive Capacity of Extension Staff
Twin has recently published a report on some lessons learnt from Climate Change Resilience projects in coffee producer organisation, highlighting the importance of strengthening the capacity of extension staff to experiment and innovate, and be a vehicle between farmers and the management, to constantly adapt. In this project all staff are regularly trained at an innovative training centre (Kahangi Estate) in Organic and sustainable agriculture, and are in charge of developing experiential learning for farmers through farmer field schools.
Engaging with the next generation
Sustainable coffee and climate resilience won’t happen if young people are leaving rural areas to seek job opportunities in the towns. BJC is aware of this phenomenon and is putting in place a dedicated educational and vocational programme around micro stations, to involve the next generation in thecoffee business by gaining knowledge and skills in coffee production, processing and quality control, such as cupping.
Donor: Fairtrade Foundation UK – 12 months (2015-2016)
Reach: 12 Extension staff of Bukonzo Joint, 1,122 farmers who are actively taking part in Farmer Field Schools in 22 areas. Indirect beneficiaries: whole membership of BJC as they benefit from the ripple effect of the FFS 3,237members (80% women).