Batwa farming program: the Matanda Batwa Farm

Thanks to a generous donation by the Omotani Caring Foundation, in 2022, we were able to purchase a 11.7-acre farm land at Matanda (near Kihihi).  The purpose of this program is to train and empower families of several Batwa communities via farming activities, of which the crops and profits of the sales will be used to support their families and reinvested to make the program sustainable.

This program is supervised by  Bwindi Batwa Farm.

  • In early March 2023, the first steps were taken to plow the land and remove also any remaining grasses/weed. Then by the end of March, the first seeds (corn, beans, millet and pumpkins) were sown to become the first crops.
  • In August 2023, the first corn was harvested! 11 bags (each ~ 100 kg) of corn were harvested, and converted into 500 kg of maize powder (“posho”)  that is used to make many of the main dishes. See below for some of the pics of the corn harvest.  In addition, 50 kg of beans were harvested. The proceeds were distributed to the 14 families that were involved in this program so far.
    Cassava continues to be harvested twice monthly (one full sac each time, with about 250 roots).
  • The harvest early 2024 provided already 150 kg of beans that was distributed to all families. The corn harvest of February-March 2024 yielded 2231 kg of corn, that was grinded into 1,670 kg of maize flour (posho) that is distributed to the Batwa families. There were also 16 sacks of maize residue (each about 35 kg) that can be used to feed pigs.

The 14 families we have been able to help come from 3 batwa settlements (mainly Mukongoro settlement with some from Karehe and Nyabishika settlements). These families have a total of 83 members, of which 33 adults who work regularly on the farm land. The remainder are infants (15), school-going children. (17) and elders (18) who occasionally may be able to assist on the farm land.

We hope to gradually expand this to include additional families.

In late 2023, we decided to expand the program,  by building a simple farm house with storage and living space on the farm land. Once completed, the Batwa families can take turn staying there to take care of the crops when not many people are required. This will save a lot on transportation time and expenses. The estimated expense for this structure, made with bricks and concrete was approximately $18,000.  Click here to see a budget breakdown.  We are grateful to have received a generous donation and a grant (from 4de Pijler, Provincie Antwerpen, Belgium) to build this farm house and also a storage shed.

Scroll down to see more pictures of the ongoing construction of this farm house.

 

We welcome further support to expand it, including to purchase additional land so we can help more families! Your support will be acknowledged.

To support, you can use the link below for online donations (credit card, Paypal or Venmo), or mail a check (payable to “Sahaya International”, with mention “Batwa farm”, to us at 1504 Portola Street, Davis, CA 95616). For other ways to donate, click here to go to our donations page.

Pictures on this page taken by Mushamba Moses and Robert Tweheyo.

Pictures of March through August 2023, from the start of the land preparation to the first harvest of corn.

Construction of the farm house (click on individual pics to see enlarged version)