A visit from uganda

Charles Mulwana, a farmer from Uganda, is staying with us at our Riverford Farm in Devon for the next two months. In 2005, aided by charity Send a Cow, Charles received his first cow, Helen. Send a Cow helped him learn about sustainable organic agriculture, looking after livestock and how to grow a variety of crops to feed himself and his family.

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Charles has come to the farm at Riverford to learn how we grow organic crops on a larger scale. He is passionate about passing on the knowledge he has gained, particularly on the importance of organic farming and having a balanced diet. To do this Charles is hoping to raise enough money to build a community centre in his village in the  Nakifuma Mukono district of Uganda, to educate young people in his area on agriculture and running a business. He has become a Peer farmer trainer for Send A Cow, helping to train other farmers, and has passed on a gift of a calf to other farmers in his community from his first cow.

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This is Charles’ second visit to Riverford. During this stay he will be spending time with our picking and farm management team learning how we plan and produce our seasonal veg. So far our farm team have kept him busy learning a variety of larger-scale farming techniques. It’s also been very hands on and Charles has been helping us with our everyday farm work – from picking and bunching spring onions to go in our Riverford boxes, to harvesting our lettuces and spinach. A useful agricultural tip he said has learned while working in the fields here is how we harvest our spinach. When harvesting spinach in Uganda they traditionally leave part of the plant remaining, in order for it to grow back. Here Charles has found that if you cut off all the leaves, the plant will grow back quicker (within 2-3 weeks). Charles is also interested in the different varieties of fruit and veg that he doesn’t currently grow at home. In particular, he is hoping to grow more varieties of tomato on his return to Uganda, including beef and cherry tomatoes, which he feels will be popular. He’s also keen to grow cherries and green peppers.

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At home in Uganda, Charles grows a range of crops to feed his family, with a little extra to sell. These include onions, spinach, kale and sweetcorn which are prepared daily by his wife Barbara for their four children. Sadly his first cow passed away, however his new calf (also called Helen) produces approximately 12 litres of milk each day and he grows bananas and coffee which he sells.

It’s been great to welcome Charles to the farm to spend time with the team at Riverford.

If you have any questions for Charles on farming in Uganda and the UK, please send us a message at help@riverford.co.uk and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

3 responses to “A visit from uganda

  1. wow, you are doing very good to support the rest of the world with the education of farming which is good, thank you for that. I would wish if you did that to the parts of Africa were they is no food, so that they can be able to be educated on farming and be able to support themselves than giving them aid? you are doing a great job.

  2. This is wonderful and thanks for sharing on many levels. It would be very interesting to hear anything that Charles has to say on the situation back at home, what he has enjoyed the most and about any further support that would be beneficial.

  3. Very interested in this, having recently returned from a wonderful 2 1/2 weeks accompanying my school’s link with a school in Namatumba, Uganda. I fell in love with the country, (as did the students), and as we’re from a rural area in the Uk, agriculture was much discussed! No one is hungry it seems, there is food grown everywhere, but few seem to move far beyond subsistence. All the best to Charles and his hard work, I do hope you’ll keep us updated!

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