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First community greenhouse launched in Gulu City

GULU– A group of 25 local farmers in Laroo-Pece Division, Gulu City have embarked on greenhouse farming amidst the growing degradation of wetlands in the city.

Obiya-Laroo Community PRELNOR Green House project is to grow tomatoes in a greenhouse measuring 120 square meters.

The greenhouse worth Shs 25 million was funded under Project for the Restoration of Livelihoods in the Northern Region [PRELNOR]

PRELNOR is a seven-year project financed by government of Uganda, the International Fund for Agricultural Development [IFAD] and beneficiaries’ contribution.

It effectively started in August 2015 and is being implemented in the nine districts of Gulu, Adjumani, Agago, Amuru, Kitgum, Lamwo, Nwoya, Omoro and Pader.

PRELNOR’s goal is to increase income, food security and reduce vulnerability of poor rural households in the project area.

Kipwola Alice, the Chairperson of Obiya-Laroo Community PRELNOR Green House project says they chose greenhouse farming as a way of reducing degradation of wetlands.

“We don’t have a lot of land to farm on large scale but with the greenhouse, we will be able to maximize production and also protect our environment. During dry seasons, people destroy wetlands a lot to grow vegetables but we hope that many will learn from us and start farming in a greenhouse,” she said.

The members who have been engaged in growing vegetables on small scale, have already secured market for their tomatoes at two supermarkets and vendors at local markets around the city.

Kipwola says they are currently doing mandatory weekly savings of Shs 1,000 per member for maintenance of the greenhouse in case of breakdown.

Amony Sabina, a member of the group says they chose tomatoes because they are easy to maintain and also have ready market compared to other vegetables.

“There is ready market for tomatoes because people consume them in their food every day. They are also not labour intensive like other vegetables like cabbages,” Amony said.

Harriet Achola, the Agriculture Extension facilitator with Gulu Ditsritc Farmers Association, the organization implementing the PRELNOR project told theCooperator that the group has been trained to be sustainable.

“They are committed and are already have savings taking place to ensure the greenhouse does not collapse,” Achola said.

She explained that the project was formed after the community identified the challenges associated with farming in the dry season.

“Households will be able to farm all year round in the greenhouse without destroying wetlands. They will, in the end, be able to have money and enough food grown.”

Greenhouse farming is primarily growing plants or crops in a structure with walls and a roof made principally of transparent material.

It provides an opportunity to grow crops year-round in harsh conditions.

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