Farmer groups reap big from oil seeds production

Stephen Nyoyonyi at the group store with some of the produce


In 2017, at least 70 farmers in Edele Village in Northern Uganda’s Moyo district formed a Village Saving and Lending Association (VSLA). “For Life” group majorly deals in oil seeds production, where they grow sunflower, sesame and soybeans. 

With support from LWF under the DINU-LEWA project last year, the group realised an increment in sunflower production, where it harvested 8.9 tons of the oil seeds. The members sold their product to Mukwano Group of companies at Shs11 million (about $3,000).

The group saved part of the money in their VSLA, used Shs5 million (about 1,300) to acquire a plot of land to construct a store, and distributed the balance among the members. Each member got at least Shs150,000 (about $40). The members plan to construct the store with proceeds from the next harvest. 

This year, with support from LWF under the same project, the group opened up 20 acres of cultivatable land, of which they planted sesame on four acres, soybeans on two acres and sunflower on 14 acres.  

“As I talk now, we are harvesting the sunflower. The sesame and soybean will soon be ready for harvest,” Stephen Nyoyonyi, the group digital secretary and the village enterprise agent for Mukwano Group, said. Under the project, the group members have gained knowledge on better farming methods and large-scale farming, among others. “This year, we expect a better harvest. We hope to harvest more than 20 tons of oil seeds,” Nyoyonyi said.

Following the success of “For life” group in oil seeds production, other farmers’ groups in the area have joined oil seeds crop production. Some of them have already started harvesting. For instance, Orokodo group harvested 1100kg of sunflower, Aziruku Edele group (900kg of sunflower), and Kotura group (1,200 bags of sunflower). The farmers say they owe their success to the intervention by the LWF project through which they got sunflower seeds at subsidised rates. 

“LWF also supported us by facilitating the ploughing the land donated to us by the group chairperson. This has definitely reduced our profit margin, but we still hope to earn about Shs30m from the 20 tones that we expect to reap,” Nyoyonyi said.

As an active group member, Nyoyonyi , through LWF community structures, was selected for further training in good agriculture practices by Mukwano Group such that he is able to train other farmers in the same. After attending several trainings, Nyoyonyi passed out as a village enterprise agent for Mukwano.

As an agent for Mukwano, Nyoyonyi trains sunflower farmers from his and other groups on good agronomic practices such as early weeding, proper spacing, post-harvest handling, among other good practices. 

Some of the sunflower gardens owned by "FOR LIFE GROUP"


Sustainability plan after the project

Even after the project has folded up, the group members say they have already gained enough knowledge to increase their production. 

“We also plan to empower each group member to have at least two acres such that we realise more and better harvest. With more products, we sell at better prices, Nyoyonyi said.

The group says one of their biggest challenges is storage since they have not yet constructed a group store. As such, each member stores what they have harvested in their houses, which affects the quality of their products.

“After completing our store, It will be easier to maintain the quality of our products,” Nyoyonyi notes.