Pirio Constantine is much younger than most farmers in Uganda but he has already become an inspiration to other farmers. The average age of those who grow crops in the east African nation is 54, below the African continent’s average of 60.
In just one season his field, less than a tenth of an acre in size, is now brimming with healthy cabbages where tobacco once grew.
This drastic change has attracted attention from his neighbors, in the Arua District of the West Nile Region, who come to him for advice on vegetable farming despite his relative young age.
His family have been a part of the Nutrition and Income Generation Intervention, a collaboration between Wageningen University and Research and East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer.
“Nowadays money finds me at home because the whole community knows me as the main vegetable producer of all seasons,” says Constantino.
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Seeing was believing
His shift from tobacco to cabbages was inspired by his father’s involvement with East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer (EWS-KT).
EWS-KT equips smallholder vegetable farmers with the knowledge and skills they need to be productive and increase their income.
Constantino is a son to a key farmer from the EWS-KT program in 2019. Key farmers are those selected based on criteria of being open to learning new farming techniques and to share those with others in their community.
After his father generated profits from his first demonstration farm, he bought an irrigation system. Constantino also uses the same system to start his own vegetable production alongside his dad. After seeing both father and son’s success, others in their community now believe there is great potential in vegetable farming.
“I’m impressed that the community around us have also begun taking up vegetable production,” says Constantino.
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