Story from the MyFoodStory website:
MY FOOD STORY ABOUT MILLET
I had a great conversation with millet farmers in the western part of Uganda and I was with two ladies Mable and Molly who have lot of experience in millet growing and they do speak English so they were helping me by translating the farmers language as I come from central part of the country so I don’t speak their language. I speak Luganda and they speak Runyakitara. I have been asking some questions to the farmers like: -what are their needs? -what are their problems? -what is helpful to them? -how do they help others? -how does GOD help them? -how do they help GOD? -what is their future? And many more NB: They all gave me their permissions to publicize their story, as I requested them to allow me to do so.
STORY TITLE: MILLET Content: Food
Millet is another type of food that is eaten in Uganda but mainly in western part of Uganda and northern part. It has a lot of starch in it since it is mixed with cassava flour. So it takes long time to digest in the stomach and you can’t get hungry too soon.
Farmer Muhwezi: “You have to prepare the field two months before planting and this should be in dry season normally around June and July (Mable translates this for me). You put little manure on the soil since millet needs very little manure for good yields."
FRED: How do you prepare the garden?
Mr. Muwhezi: "You cut down the grass and small trees that are found on the land that you want to prepare and then you burn it. By burning the grass you get fertilizer from the ash. Then after you start digging the land you are waiting for the rain which will come in two months. When you see the rain, you immediately start seeding or wind seeding. I mean any method you use, make sure seeds are in the field when the first rain begins."
FRED: What are your needs?
MS MOLLY: "We only need land. We need seeds. We need hoes [local tools that are used to plug the soil. We need knives for harvesting, they are needed for cutting down the plants. We need hard tarpaulins for used for drying seeds."
FRED: You mean you don’t need pesticides?
MOLLY: " No it’s actually rare to see millet plantations disturbed by pests."
FRED: What are your problems then?
MOLLY AND MABLE: Too much rain kills our immature crops. Labor is expensive because when you want to prepare too much soil you need to hire more labor."
FRED : You have no problems with wild birds?
Molly: "Well Fred, we do have the wild birds which are eating our crops, but you see, during this season we have many fields of millet in the community compared to the number of birds so they eat very little."
FRED: What are your successes?
Mabel translates this question to the group as they are giving me a glass of drink from millet and free zed made locally.
FARMERS: "We are successful when we see that at the end of the season we have harvested big amounts of millet grains and we even can store some for the famine time.
We also see success when we have a lot of grains which can be sold and money used to pay school fees for our children as you see, now all are not in school because we had small harvest the last season and we didn't saw our success."
FRED: What is helpful to you?
FARMERS: " Millet is so helpful to the community because it takes away hunger -we do sale millet and get school fees for or children - We sale and get money to build roofed houses not these thatched houses you are seeing Fred. -millet takes away our hunger -millet takes away thirst -millet brings energy to our bodies "
FRED: How do you help others?
FARMERS: "Well, we help others, if one has little millet he is assisted by the one with more food and when the time comes and he gets more he/she pays back the same way. We do help the widows and orphans that have less energy to grow their own millet so we as a community identify the orphans and give them food. We also work as a community since the labor is expensive so we help each other and work as a group in one field to the other likewise in the harvesting period. So this means there is no self reliance. "
FRED: How does GOD help you?
FARMERS: "GOD gives us rain that allows our crops to grow well. God makes our seeds to germinate because our work is to plant and then GOD’S work is to make seeds germinate. "
FRED: How do you help GOD?
FARMERS: " Funny Question Fred because GOD is the owner of everything so how really can any person help GOD? "
FRED: Mabel and Molly, what do you think about the question?
MOLLY: "I think when we give out tithe, this is one way of helping GOD" Because we do get one basket of seeds and we give to the church deacons as our tithe or we can sale and take the tithe in form of money. We also help GOD’S people more, like the orphans by feeding them with our millet."
FRED: What are your future plans?
FARMERS: "We do think about lot of things but main plan is to invest in our children by taking them to school and make sure we do pay fees. We think of a making other income generating projects that can sustain us in our needs as a community other than millet. We hope to buy and put aside long term assets like land, cows, building nice houses."
FRED: Normally youths today tend to waste their school time and instead they practice adultery, a thing which has led to an increase in HIV[AIDS] And because you are investing in them what do you think about this? As you think that kids are your future plans.
Disappointment in the group
FARMERS: "Thanks Fred for your concern and indeed you are right. But we are doing something about it and we are advising them."
FRED: Is there a market for millet?
Mabel: "There is a market here but in some seasons demand is higher than supply. So market is there."
STORAGE You can store millet in sacks and put it in a good storage room with no rats, it will last for over two years. And then you can store millet flour in sacks for two months.
FRED: How long does growing take? "Well millet takes four months to grow and then harvesting starts. Those who have planted in August can harvest in December, and those who planted in September can harvest in January.
I have done this story with:
MABLE MOLLY FARMERS KAKEETO SAMUEL NAIGA SHAMIM
Editor: Fred Kayiwa and his team members Kakeeto Samuel and Naiga Shamim
Please note: Content on this page is in the Public Domain except as it notes otherwise.