I want to become someone who can formulate policies…

Posted on by Elaine Miller

IMG_7985We have recently heard from Francis,our Livelihood Programme Coordinator, about working for AR and our SDG programme. Keep reading, if you like to find out more about Francis himself!

Originally my district is Nwoya district, Koch Goma. I started primary school in Koch Goma, Koch Goma P7 actually, that was around 1985, I was about 5 years old. Then I came to Gulu, P1, I was 6 years old. I went to Negri Primary School, it’s a boarding primary school, private, much better – that’s were I completed my primary 7. And then again, I went to Negri College, it is also a boarding secondary school. And then I went for institution, for Diploma, in Agricultrue, at Bukalasa Agricultural College. The diploma was 3 years and I did it in ‘Farm Management’. Then Uganda Matyrs University, in Kampala, for degree, 4 years – and I majored in Organic Agriculture (BSC).

I completed in real time, I did not repeat a class – although of course there were challenges! Sometimes, between O-level and A-level, there were challenges with school fees to the point that in my A-level year, I had to start studies in the second term. I couldn’t do the first term, I had to go to second term. That was hard. And when I finished S5, when I was promoted to S6, the school did not offer agriculture, which I was pursuing. So I had to go and sit in another school, I didn’t want to lose a year, and I didn’t lose a year. So every level I completed in real time, no lost years – that was what I wanted.

14 July meeting Francis +headteacher + pupils club teacher + subcounty officials +chairmen of SDG in AgagoI want to do master degree, in Agro-Ecology. It’s about the variety of plants and animal species and how they interact with the environment. So it is about manipulating the environment to produce better yields, for crop varieties and animal products. So it suits in the context of climate change – when the climate is not favourable how do you adjust the technology to suit production.

I want to do this next year – it is a weekend programme, so I do it along side the work. I will have no free time and during the leave I should be going for examination, but with proper planning and organisation, I think it is possible – and some extra effort.

With this master degree, I want to pursue my career in agriculture, and really be a professional all around agriculturalist, with background knowledge on every sector of agriculture, whether it is traditional agriculture, conventional agriculture, organic agriculture – so that I am an expert, in the field agriculture and can be consulted at any level, when it comes to agriculture. But also more for to be relevant in the job, in the employment work, because I know you cannot get certain high profile jobs, with a bachelor degree. But once you have the master degree, you are eligible to apply and get a better job, high paid and also, even in the international area. But I am not planning to go away, but I would want the opportunity, if it arises to work with an international NGO, but within my country. I can go for a few days, just for orientations and induction, and experience sharing, but I want it based here, in Uganda – and cause change in the country I live and come from.

Once I am done with my masters degree and had some more experience with international organisations, working in relation to agriculture, I want to apply and join the government, the agricultural ministry – and be a secretary under the minister of agriculture, within in Uganda. So I want to work with the ministry of agriculture, at the end of the day.

DSC00241I want to become someone who can formulate policies that give best practices, which farmers can adhere to, and then increase on household and country food security. And I think it is necessary, because looking at our country Uganda, it is heavily depending and relying on agriculture, but the sector is below its potential to bring out the people out of poverty and also to produce enough food to feed the population and also export enough.

I would emphasis on extension services and provision: Agricultural trainers who should be down with the farmers to give them advice on what to grow, how best to grow them, how to control pest and diseases and how to rotated their crops, and how to adjust to changes in climate conditions – this gap is currently eminent. If the agricultural extension workers are not there to pass on, to translate this good research information to the farmers, that means there is that gap of technology transport from the researchers to farmers. So you can imagine if that gap is there, that means farmers are not having knowledge, because there is no technical training giving to them, with the exception of course of the few NGOs, like what we are doing with the SDG – that is an add-on to the communities we are working with, but we can only reach a few! That means the entire country, and where such interventions are not there, are missing out.

There are two basic things I do in my free time at the moment. One is productive, something that can generate income, and then something to organise myself better. Something to add onto my income or production capacity, I can be working in my small farm or in the gardens, producing crops. I have a two acres land which I put to good use every year and every season. This means I grow crops every year. And this year around I planted also to basic types of crops, I planted cassava in one acre and then I planted beans in the other acre. The beans are ready and due for harvest – the beans, I am going to store for food security or consumption. But the cassava, I am going to sell part of it and earn some income.

And then the other one, to develop and write up some proposals for business, farming business,like simple proposal on small income generating activities – l I wish to raise the capital locally, finance it within family and friends – it is not a very high capital business. So I hope to raise the capital locally and then start operating the business also slowly, and then when it picks up, then we can expand.

DSC00353I want to scale up and open a model farm. At least 10 acres and integrate life stock and crops. A model farm means, I want to establish a job centre for learning and exposure of other farmers to learn the best practices from Francis Farm – and then master the art of good agriculture. So this is going to be, partially as a learning exposure for training, but also as a business venture, generating income. That’s where I intend to spend all my time, if I leave the regular job.