The concept of the vocational training is to introduce the new generation of farmers to the efficient farming of profitable crops while protecting the land from the hazards of soil erosion, managing organic soil fertility and maximising productivity through careful planning of crop varieties. The intent and expected outcome is an increase in productivity, marketability and thus income for the farmers.
Establishment of the programme is being conducted in 2021 and encompasses the acquisition and fencing of half an acre of land. The land is ‘stepped’ to prevent soil erosion, fertilised and prepared for planting. A tented area is being erected for theory training together with a lockable storage shed. A training nursery bed is also being prepared.
The Centre becomes operational in the second half of 2021. Subjects being taught include; land management, prevention of soil erosion, crop rotation, fertilisation and pest control as well as the specific requirements for farming passion fruit, Matooke (a local form of banana) and coffee. Budgeting, Routes to Market and Business Planning are also included. The crops have been selected for their ease of cultivation, their proven ability to co-exist and, particularly, as there is a ready market in Mbale for each of them.
Moving forward 2022 and beyond, 5 courses will be held each year, each of 3 intensive training days in the Centre. Each course will train 20 farmers, so a total of 100 farmers will be trained per annum. Monthly follow-up consolidation visits to each farmer will be conducted for a year following graduation to help convert theory into practice.