OUR SEED BANK IS THE BEST – CIVFUND
“Climate change is the biggest challenge at the moment. This has affected so many plants and crops. There is very little production and this has resulted into an increase in food theft in the community”. Says Wilbert.
This is a story of one of the support groups mentored and supported by Gulu Women Economic Development and Globalisation (GWED-G). The support group has in the past years benefited from the ‘‘promoting women’s land and environmental rights to enhance food sovereignty and security in northern Uganda”, which was funded by CIVFUND. Lacan Kwo Ki Lwete Village Savings and Loan Association Group is located in Atede A, village – Lapainat East in Omoro District. This group was instituted in 2009 with a membership of 30 people. In 2020, the group received more support from GWED-G and embarked on farming as a business. Created for the purposes of saving and borrowing financial resources, the group remains a robust edifice for social support, solidarity, voice and the promotion of economic security in reference to women land rights.,“I realised that living alone without others is hard and also asking for help from other people is hard, but much more easier in a group”. Says Wilbert.
Picture: members of Lacan Kwo Ki Lwete Village Savings and Loan Association Group with some of the multiplied seeds for storage in their community Seed-Bank.
Dealing with community problems was challenging because we did not have sufficient dispute resolution skills and capacity. Some of us did not have the courage and ability to intervene on land matters. “I would easily get angry. The training on conflict prevention and alternative dispute resolution by GWED-G taught me patience, humility and how to work with others” . Says Joshau. “I was weak. But when Lucy came and trained us, I got to know that there is a place where I can go and get the support I needed”. Says Alice. Before the training, “I would see my sisters as not having anything to do with the family land. Today, it’s different, she can access, use and own the land. There is now trust and confidence in our lives because of the knowledge we have, it has brought changes in our lives”. Says Wilbert. We used to buy and depend on seeds from the open markets –seeds which required a lot of spraying. But GWED-G together with CIVFUND trained us to embrace planting of organic traditional seeds that are resistant, easy to mange and replant. The change we want to see is that people are living peacefully and are able to eat healthy organic foods, including ability to make choices and access to quality seeds through the seed banks.
Our traditional seed bank and organic seeds are the best. We have cassava (manihot esculeta), finger millet (eleusine coracana) and vegetables that you continue to harvest as they grow. We have simsim and other vegetables that do not require spraying and pesticides for them to grow. The traditional seeds fetch bigger yields. The seeds are resistant and continue to flourish in harsh weather conditions. They are not affected by pests and are very nutritious.
If you are to dry and store them, they can take long in storage than compared to genetically modified seeds that will go bad easily. You can replant the organic seeds, unlike the genetically modified ones.
We are proud because we got a good training and good organic traditional seeds. The biggest thing I have got is the knowledge, I will use the knowledge forever. This is what the other members stated… “ after attending the training, I worked hard and bought 5 acres of land. I have got a reputation as a mediator, a number of people are asking me to link them to GWED-G and CIVFUND so that they can also benefit”. Says Mathias. We also have a seed bank. The seeds in the bank do not rot or get affected by pests because we have the best traditional knowledge and skills on how to preserve the seeds. The advantage of the seed bank is that it addresses seed poverty and promotes seed philanthropy. For example, you can have access to seeds anytime, and at the cheapest cost ever. The seed bank can also loan for you seeds and you pay back the seed in agreed measure after harvest.
What we want to do as a group is to spread the knowledge and skills we have acquired to other people, so that they embrace and promote the use of organic seeds to better their lives. Though, we still have the task to look for more traditional seeds. Furthermore, we have plans to ensure that we farm at the appropriate time and protect the seeds. We also plan to continue sharing the valuable information on conflict prevention and resolution especially in land governance for women, and the relevance of promoting the usage of traditional organic seeds so that we realise food security, safety and sovereignty for the rural communities in northern Uganda.
This Success Story was written by Denis Barnabas Otim, Peacebuilding Officer – Northern Region at GWED-G. 12.05.2023 © GWED-G.