Letter from a Ugandan Famer

Letter from a Ugandan Famer

I received this email from Anthony Kalulu, a farmer I know in Uganda, who has developed a farmers' cooperative with 300 farmers that have been living in extreme poverty.  He also comes from extreme poverty. The email speaks for itself.

Hi Charlie,

Hope you are fine.
We have now finished providing fertilizers to most of our farmers, and we will be through with all of them by the end of February. I just wanted to share with you a few photos from the farmers that have received the fertilizers. Please see photos attached.
Overall, 2016 proved to be the driest year across East Africa, and most of our farmers did not harvest any food during both planting seasons of the year. Most regions received little or no rain during both seasons. So we are hoping that, if it rains in 2017, the organic fertilizers that we are providing to our farmers will greatly help them improve their harvest for all crops, not just ginger.
This year, marketing of our farmers' ginger produce is not going to be much of a challenge. Most of the farmers are going to replant the ginger because 2017 will be their only second planting season since they started last year. The surplus fresh ginger–which will not be replanted–shall be easily sold at 3 local municipal markets in our region, and we have already talked to buyers.
Marketing will only become a strong challenge in 2018, and that's when we need to start making value-added ginger products (such as ginger-based beverages) to bridge up the volatility of markets for fresh produce. We will also need to add more crops (specifically fruit crops like carrots; beetroot; lemons) that can go together with ginger in producing value-added products like as fruit juice. The inclusion of more crops (in the process of value-addition) will also help our farmers diversify their income prospects.
With ginger, our current working model is that, when a farmer receives 20kg or 100kg of ginger from our project in Year 1, they repay by simply passing on the SAME amount of ginger to a new farmer in Year 2. But because our farmers have been affected with a lengthy drought in 2016, we will let our current farmers replant their harvest, and then pass on the ginger rhizomes to new farmers in 2018.
Meanwhile, we are also closely following all of Trump's actions, from the immigration travel ban to the media blackout at the EPA and other agencies, and it is hard to imagine how 4 years could roll out–if his very first week in office has caused chaos worldwide.
Please see attached photos from a few of our farmers that have received the fertilizers.
Greetings to Diana and the family.
Kind regards,

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About the author:

Charles Bresler

After earning a PhD in Social and Clinical Psychology from Clark University, Charlie became Director of Behavioral Medicine for The California School of Professional Psychology, Fresno (CSPP-F), where he was a full-time professor and founder of a teaching clinic for treating anxiety & stress disorders. He was recruited to The Men’s Wearhouse where he became head of human resources, stores, and marketing and ultimately President. He stepped down in order to fulfil his long-standing desire to work directly on social and economic issues, especially wealth inequality. In 2013, Charlie became volunteer Executive Director of The Life You Can Save, a non-profit dedicated to reducing extreme poverty and its devastating effects on over 700 million people globally. Through his financial support and leadership, Charlie has helped TLYCS’s Founder, Peter Singer, develop the organization from the ground up. Charlie lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington with his wife Diana, a family physician, who partners in supporting The Life You Can Save. He welcomes discussion and questions at charlie@thelifeyoucansave.org.

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The views expressed in blog posts are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Peter Singer or The Life You Can Save.