Extreme Intercropping project secures food, income and transforms farmers into businessmen
Over the past year, our company has been working hard on a project that has a huge impact, not only for us but especially for families in Uganda.
The story began a few years ago when our CEO, Karl Andreassen, sat next to an African lady named Gloria on a flight home from China. Gloria was an English teacher in China, but her heart and story belonged to Uganda.
Hope to a lost generation
Gloria shared heart-wrenching stories about life in Northern Uganda, an area previously plagued by civil war and conflict. The stories of neighbouring Congo trying to expand its territory into northern Uganda and abducting child soldiers, as well as the establishment of refugee camps in the area, touched Karl deeply.
In Gloria’s stories, it became clear that there was a whole generation of people who had been lost, who had never had the opportunity to get an education or a stable life. An entire population had been forced to flee and live in refugee camps. This generation now had children and grandchildren but had been ignored and forgotten.
Prioritizing social responsibility
Her story put things into perspective and inspired Karl to help in any way possible. At the time, our company had only been around for a little over five years, but Karl was determined to make a difference.
Karl traveled to Uganda, where he met the general who had liberated the northern part of the country. He visited local communities and was invited into people’s homes. Here he experienced incredible hospitality, while at the same time being confronted with the many challenges that the people faced. Challenges that we often take for granted in our part of the world.
Growing beyond boundaries
It was clear that this was a part of the world where no one had previously made an effort or taken them seriously. The challenges were overwhelming, and it seemed impossible to know where to start.
But as we have done in the past, we decided to rise to the challenge. We decided to start a project. The project is essentially based on intercropping, where several crops are grown on the same field. In our case, however, it is extreme intercropping.
As a start, we bought an area equivalent to 5000 square metres of land. Later, we rented another 5 acres and started planting rice. Currently, we also have beans in our fields and soon we will plant maize.
Unfortunately, we face a significant challenge as climate change has made the area extremely dry and almost impossible to irrigate the crops. Based on our previous experience from a project in Ghana, we realised that shade played a crucial role in the well-being of the crops.
So we decided to plant rows of fast-growing eucalyptus trees that would provide the necessary shade and reduce our dependence on irrigation. These trees grew an impressive three metres in just one year.
Nutrition and income
And by sowing these crops, we achieve an annual production of 700kg of beans three times a year just with the beans. These beans are used to acquire more land and pay for tractor hire. This means that we can quickly help an additional 5-7 families and create an economy that can improve their living conditions.
While water scarcity is a significant challenge in the area, lack of money is an even bigger obstacle. And for this to be a long-term investment in the areas, we ensure that the labourers receive a fair wage for their efforts in the fields so they can earn money. But most importantly, it’s crucial to transform farmers into business people and empower them to strengthen their economy.
Follow our journey of hope and sustainability in Uganda