Tiki with friendicicles - nice and cold in here   icicles - nice and cold in here
Tiki with friendicicles - nice and cold in here

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Uganda trip start

Words in RED are what I say. Words in BLUE are what Joseph says. Helpful popup links are PURPLE.

Hi! I'm Tiki the Penguin and I've been visiting a wonderful organic farm in Uganda, in Africa. Take a trip with me now as I walk round with farmer Joseph Mugagga and find out what's going on in his part of this beautiful country.

Slideshow and possible problems
1. young people learningHere you can see young people who have come to Joseph' s organic farm in the Tororo district of Uganda to find out what he's doing ...
about organic farming. And as they learn, you can see them taking notes. As they go back, they will be able to train other people – especially their parents - who may not have a chance to come and learn from my farm.

2. bananas and beansHere I am, looking at some bananas and beans. Joseph grows beans because you can eat them and they help make the soil more fertile. The bananas are like trees and they are perennial. That means they keep growing year after year. Each time the banana tree bears fruit, Joseph cuts it down to encourage a new shoot which then quickly grows up from the roots into another plant which makes more bananas.

3. making compostI expect you've heard about compost, you know, the soily stuff you put on the garden to make plants grow well. In organic farming, you need lots of it and this is how Joseph makes it. Here the people are carrying dead maize plants and dumping them in a goat pen, called a kraal. These make bedding for the animals. What happens then, Joseph?
The animals tread on them and their urine and the dung is mixed up in the bedding you have put, and after some time – say about 3 weeks – you come and clean up the kraal and make your good compost!

4. boy storing beansEven the children help here. Can you see the boy putting some beans in a storage place called a crib?
That small crib there can keep the beans for about 2 days before they come and peel them off the pods. Then the people eat the beans and the pods feed the goats. So you see, nothing is wasted.

5. woman cooking in smoke-free kitchenThis shows a woman in the kitchen who have learned how to make fuel-saving stove. And the chimney you can see on the right takes off the smoke and there is no smoke in the kitchen.

6. donkeys helpingThis shows how you can have your animals helping you on the farm. Those are donkeys which we use for ploughing, weeding and collecting poles like that.
Joseph uses poles like these ones to build animal sheds and huts for people to live in.

7. bananas and compost It's nice and shady in this banana plantation. But what are those children doing Joseph?
They are turning the compost and by doing that you increase the soil fertility in that area.

8. weevilsThese people are looking for banana weevils. These insects damage the banana plants. So how do you catch them?
You just cut the stem and then split it into two pieces; then cover the stump. Then in the morning you can come and open it because they come up at night. So when you open it, you can find around 20 or 30. So what you do? You can just crush them or put them in a bottle and they die.

9. village meeting Here I am at a meeting of village people who have come to listen to Joseph talking about sustainable organic farming. They had never seen a real live penguin before... but then perhaps you haven't either!

10. manure pitsI got very hot at that meeting and so I'm having a shower here. Normally the people use these special pits for making liquid manure.
You get a plant like stinging nettles or any green vegetation, you chop it and then fill three-quarters of the container… I jumped out before they did this. …then you fill with water and after seven days you can strain off and then apply on your plants.

11. rain pitsWhen it rains in Uganda, it rains very heavily. The rain can wash away the silty soil which is why people dig pits like the one I'm standing in.
Instead of just washing away the topsoil, when the silt fills in that pit, you can shovel it up in your area where you plant your crops. When it rains, that pit is filled… water goes down slowly so that the plants can also benefit. So again you see... nothing is wasted. Not soil; not water.

12. helping digHere I'm watching some local farmers helping to make a trench to catch the rainwater.
The farmers come together to help one who really needs help, and after constructing such a trench on one farmer's field, then they go to another farmer who is badly off. And they can really work on that together… maybe for two days or three days. It depends what they need. People help each other a lot here. They have to because most people are very poor and have hardly any money.

13. chicken and cockerelWhen you cross a local chick with an exotic cock, the chicks grow very fast and are much bigger. It even increases their laying capacity.

14. goat shedThis is me with some goats in a goat shed or kraal.
Behind that shed is a small exercise yard and they cut the napier grass, mix with legumes (like caliandra, rosina, mokuna). Then they bring to the animals. These goats have just been fed. Can you see their feeding boxes?

15. oxen learning to ploughThere shows farmers learning how to train their animals. There is a farmer who has two animals – those ones you see – but he didn't know how to train them.
These oxen, which have very big horns, soon learned how to pull a plough. And the other farmers also learned how to do the training for their own animals. Most farmers can't afford to buy tractors in Uganda.

16. marketOkay, that shows the farmers market. There you can see all different kinds of produce. You can see Irish potatoes, bananas, avocados, tomatoes, onions, pumpkin, coffee… so in that table there you can see a diverse crop the farmer, if he uses sustainable agriculture, can produce: all those different kinds of plants. Imagine you produce that on the farm. Are you not healthy? That's the question one asks. And if we can really fight to produce such a variety of food within the family, I think everybody will be healthy and there will be enough food for the whole of us!

17.sustainable farming I reckon Joseph, his friends, his family, the people he works with, could teach farmers in Europe or America a thing or two. His type of farming -- sustainable and organic -- produces lots of food and lots of varieties of food. And it doesn't need huge tractors, diesel fuel, artificial fertilisers and chemical poisons. As I said earlier, nothing is wasted. That's why this type of farming works. And the great thing about it is that anyone with a little bit of land can do something similar. You could...

Well, goodbye. I hope you enjoyed your trip round this wonderful farm. And I hope it gives you food for thought!

trees and flowers

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