People in Northern Uganda had experienced Ugandan civil war between government troops and the Lord's Resistance Army from late 1980 to 1990. Both the massacre and kidnapping happened many times. Eventually, all of the citizens who lived in the major city, Gulu in the Gulu District, received the evacuation order. Until the implementation of a ceasefire agreement, this civil war had deprived people of employment opportunities. Moreover, it completely crippled Gulu’s agriculture.
Our supplier, GULU AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, a.k.a. GADC, initiated training toward farmers in 2009. They regenerated both agricultural capital and agricultural knowledge. In addition, they improved farmers’ income by increased yield. Charles Oboth, the operations manager, organized training by giving clear explanations, skillful storytelling with pictures, and demonstrating the activities from scratch. For example, he underscores the importance of following five basic points.
GADC selected a suitable place for cotton cultivation and had farmland built there. "The yield increases when seeds are sown at intervals and excess seedlings are thinned out," he mentioned. However, Ugandan farmers didn’t understand Charles’ advice. The reason for this is that farmers believe that that the more seeds they distributed, the greater the yield they will get. Therefore, he cultivated the demonstration farm nearby the farmland, which Ugandan farmers cultivated as they like. Charles proved that demonstration farm, which was sown at appropriate intervals and thinned out, had a higher yield than the farmland in which they had scattered many seeds.
In addition, GADC not only gives pieces of training of technical farming skills but also offers instructions of financing plan in order to continue the business. People who had lived in domestic evacuation camps for a long time lost their passion to work as they were aided by food distribution. To make matter worse, the proportion of alcoholic male patients had increased.
According to a Japanese resident in Africa, people around here tend to be optimistic. Not only in Uganda but also in Kenya, many people often spend money whenever they get it. GADC shows two types of picture stories: "a farmer who buys as much alcohol as he wants and runs out of money and cannot grow cotton the next year" and "a farmer who saves money and harvests cotton the next year and gets the money again." The purpose of this initiative is to teach farmers how to continue to make a profit by manage their money systematically.
Currently, the use of genetically modified seeds for all kinds of cotton is strictly banned in Uganda. In Uganda, everything they require to grow cotton is covered by enough amount of rainfall. Charles Oboth, who is a manager explains the details of organic growing below. “The key point of our organic growing is that we do not use chemical pesticides. Instead of that, we utilize bugs trap made from the mixture of herbs such as neem, ladybugs as natural enemies of bugs, and syrup including sugarcane pomace.”
GADC sets more than 100 distributors of purchasing cotton. These spots are called “stores.” Farmers bring cotton yields into their nearest store, then the store pays farmers for orders by cash. GADC’s truck collects cotton from a store and carries it to a cotton ginning mill. This is a convenient system for either a farmer who lives far away from a store or who does not have any vehicles. This allows farmers to earn cash without bearing the huge burden.
The choice of whether farmers grow organic cotton or not is up to them. The choice of whether farmers grow organic cotton or not is up to them. GADC purchases organic cotton at a premium price as it requires a lot of work to grow it. GADC motivates farmers to initiate organic growing with these incentives. As a result, their efforts somehow came to fruition. More than 10,000 farmers are cultivating organic cotton now. GADC paid an expensive certification fee, went through a 47-day on-the-job audit, and achieved strict GOTS certification. It increases the value of the added value of cotton, earns a profit by exporting it to Europe and Asia, and implements various programs to let farmers do environmentally and sustainable agriculture. To summarize, we Tasihoboseki assumes that GADC’s organic cotton is one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable ones. We will continue to use Ugandan organic cotton.