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DDS-NK Follower Farmer’s Success Story of Mindset Change

Being grateful/successful is a fate in the mind Dodoi Maria

My name is Dodoi Maria, and I reside in Lobanya Cell, Lobanya Parish, Kapeta Sub County, and Kotido district. I am a farmer who follows the land and a part of the Touinae Savings group. I’m sure that before I joined the Touinae group in 2017, I was a very quiet, uneducated farmer who only engaged in agriculture for my own consumption.

When I first joined the group, I noticed that things were different from the way people were used to thinking about farming. People were plow in line (rows), crops had a lot of space in the lines, people dug trenches in their gardens, and they grew a variety of crops there. However, I also noticed that other farmers were wasting time when they only dug holes where seed is dropped and covered, leaving the rest of the land unplowed. My ancestral practice of randomly broadcasting within a very small area was very different from this.

As the years and different trainings from DDS-NK passed, my ancestral beliefs changed and my farming shifted. I came to understand that conservation farming protects my soil, keeps water in the soil, nurtures the soil with nutrients from cover crops, and avoids crop failure as opposed to traditional farming where you had one crop, “sorghum,” and if there was a drought you would have lost everything.

Men were traditionally expected to take care of the animals in the kraal, but as I’ve learned today, my husband has taken up farming with me as a result of my lifestyle change. It’s very uncommon for a man and woman to work together in the garden farming in Karamoja. Before, my husband and I used to argue over who would get the crop harvest, but now, we jointly decide how to sell the food from the “crop Harvest.”

We as a family only grew 6 acres of maize, 2 acres of groundnuts, 2 acres of beans, and 2 acres of Simsim during this past season. And we were successful in gathering 40 bags of maize, 8 bags of groundnuts, 2 bags of beans, and Simsim, which is still drying but from which we anticipate receiving 5 bags. This came about as a result of the various trainings I underwent.

We work together in my household, we pay for two of our children to attend Kacheri Secondary School, we no longer experience severe food insecurity, and I’m very proud that many farmers and my neighbors come to my gardens to learn. I no longer believe in and practice farming in the ancestral manner.

Final words: “being grateful/successful is a fate in the mind.” I’m grateful to DDS-NK for teaching us sustainable methods and fostering a long-lasting change in my households.





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