The Food Situation
Food prices continue to rise in Uganda. A combination of floods, failed rains and pests have led to shortages of food in many parts of the country. Imported foodstuffs are also becoming prohibitively expensive. Few people have the capital to buy larger plots of land to grow food on a commercial scale. Most people have small plots of land on which they grow a few crops and keep a few animals to subsist.
The cost of providing 650 school meals a day and all meals for the champions and boarders at Revival is high. It is a financial challenge to provide even the most basic meal of posho and beans. While this diet provides energy and some protein it lacks the vitamins and minerals that are essential for children to grow properly and stay healthy. Weights and heights taken of children at Revival indicate that some have experienced periods of malnutrition and so have had stunted growth. However, good nutrition is a priority since a well fed child is a healthy child and one who can learn well at school.
The Agriculture Project
The point was reached where it became clear that land would be needed to allow the Ugandan team to farm for cash crops, raise and sell livestock and also to provide for the children at Revival Centre. Accordingly, in June 2009 the agriculture project was launched. Two plots have been purchased with generous gifts from supporters one plot of 5 acres in Gombe principally to raise livestock, the second plot is 12 acres in Nakaseke to grow crops principally. The farms benefit the Revival Centre in four main ways:
- growing a range of crops will improve the diet of the children supporting their growth and giving them increased resistance to illness and disease
- income generated from the sale of surplus crops will help make the Revival Centre more financially self-sufficient
- having our own farm enables vocational training to be given in a range of farming skills
- by providing casual work for farm labourers thus linking with and supporting the local community.
Progress to date
Funds are still required to make the most of land, there is much to do and plans are under way to see what is possible.
A number of school and orphanage projects have established and progressively expanded farms to the point where after a number of years they have become fully self-sufficient and sustainable. This is now a long term aim of the Revival Centre.