Adequate nutrition is essential for children’s health and development. Globally it is estimated that under nutrition is responsible, directly or indirectly, for at least 35% of deaths in children less than five years of age. Undernutrition is also a major cause of disability preventing children who survive from reaching their full development potential. Consumption of Orange Fleshed Sweet potatoes (OFSP) and Iron beans can address hidden hunger.
As such, Harvest Plus with partners including Caritas Fort Portal-HEWASA has since 2017 implemented the Meals for Nutrition in Uganda (MENU) project in the project area and was aimed at addressing the micronutrient malnutrition and improving dietary intakes of Vitamin A and Iron among vulnerable households with children under five(5) years and women of reproductive age by 2021, through effective capacity building, facilitating Seed access of Vitamin A Orange fleshed Sweet Potatoes (OFSP) and Iron rich beans, emphasizing production and utilization of the mentioned crops in the Districts of Kamwenge, Kitagwenda and Ibanda. Since 2017, the project operated in the sub counties of Kijongo, Ishongororo, Bisheshe, Kicheche, Buhanda, Ntara, Kamwenge, Kahunge, Nkoma and Kabambiro with additional and intense Vine/seed multiplication activities by Farmers in the above Districts.
Since its inception in 2017, the project reached out 22 656 farmers with bio fortified seeds (6,120 farmers for OFSP and 15,536 farmers for Iron beans). All the farmers reached with iron bean seeds and OFSP vines planted. Cumulatively, the project reached out to 47,684 farmers (15,224 Males and 32,460 Female) with OFSP and f 49,167 farmers (15,044 Males and 34,123 Females) with iron beans since 2017
Achievements of the project
- 4,685 farmers (1,583 Males and 3,102 Females) were trained in agronomy and farmers have since applied knowledge and skills that has improved yield and food security and household incomes
- the project trained 4,617 care givers (1,523Males and 3,094 Females) in infants and young children feeding practices and other nutrition related interventions
- the project trained 18,494(4,476 Males and 14,018 Females) caregivers in nutrition related interventions and feeding practices since 2017
- Marketing linkages between farmers and buyers such as eating places, daily markets among others, were strengthened that resulted into sell of over 51 tonnes of iron beans and over 806 bags (121MT) of OSP roots
- The project also registered agricultural marketing activities among beneficiaries. 1,040 (271 Males and 769 Females) farmers sold over 674 MT of Biofortified crops including, 3,771 bags of OFSP roots, 107, 000 tons of IB, and over 2,746 bags of OFSP vines in the project area.
- Several small business entrepreneurs (SBEs), were able to produce several different OFSP value-added products such as Mandazis, chapattis, doughnuts, pancakes, and daddies, among others. These products were sold in the marketplace as a means of creating HH income.
- Supporting The Linkages Of Market Oriented Farmers
- Strengthening the Production of Iron Beans and Orange Sweet Potatoes
Success story for Agatha Ahimbisibwe, Kicheche, Kitagwenda District
“For me, I came to know about the MENU project in 2017 through Radio spot messages at Voice of Kamwenge. when the project staff from Samaritan Purse came for sensitization, they told us to form groups, they also needed a group representative and I was lucky to be the one. At the beginning, very member was receiving 1Kg of iron Beans and half bag of vines. I have been able to expand on this and also bought 10kgs of NARO BEAN 2 variety in 2019 and since then, my situation changed for good.
There are some many things I have achieved from MENU project, for the first time, owned 3 goats which have produced too…from sale of these goats, I have added income from iron beans and bought calf at calf at 200,000, we have managed to pay school for two university students, we got money to renovate our business house in the trading center. We have never lacked food in my household and iron beans have been exceptional good source of sauce and nutrients for my family members.”
By far and large, the implemented MENU project by Caritas F/Portal in partnership with Harvest Plus can be considered successful after examining the project objectives and what they have achieved over a period of five years (2017-2021A). It is evident that most of the implemented activities registered serious success. For instance, increased number of farmers accessing Bio fortified seeds, creation of market outlets (schools, restaurants, refugee settlements) which create a unique opportunity for the farmers to sell their produce, skills and knowledge acquired from trainings, improved nutrition, consumption and dietary diversity targeting children under five and women of reproductive age (15-49) who needed special diets.
These achievements can largely be attributed to proper coordination and support between MENU project and Donors (Harvest Plus, USAID), good project design
The dedicated work of project staff especially Field extension workers with assistance from Lead mothers, VHTs, CRPs, nutrition focal persons, market link farmers, seed growers and input dealers has ensured that planned project activities have implemented and according to time schedules.
During the making of DONUTS.