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The Backpack Farm Program

As part of the Suganic family of initiatives, the Backpack Farm facilitates income generation, human resources development, capacity building training, enhanced nutrition models, gender equality, conservation farming and water management techniques to stabilize both food and human security models in Africa’s developing economies.

 

The Backpack Farm is not simply a kit of materials but a program encompassing five stages of development designed to support the successful launch and expansion of local agriculture cooperatives or “clusterings” by building real capacity. This five (5) phase model includes:

 

Phase I: Assessment & Mobilization (SCM)

Phase II: Training & Production

Phase III: Production Monitoring & Market Distribution Strategies

Phase IV: Assessment & Risk Management

Phase V: Expansion through Reinvestment (ensuring transparency, sustainability and natural expansion models within rural sector communities).

The Market & Crisis

More than twenty (20) million people in the East Africa region are food insecure, due mainly to the cumulative effects of drought, conflict, market disruptions and trans-boundary animal diseases. In marginal agricultural areas food insecurity continues to deteriorate. The number of food insecure will increase until the next rainy season in October/November 2009. Poor rural and urban households who are market dependant will continue to face high food prices that have reduced market access to food, especially during the lean season. Food shortages are also impacted by trade bans of essential grains. Most important is the affect this crisis is having on East Africa’s children from both underweight and chronic malnutrition directly affecting those 0-59 months of age.

 

Ethiopia: 39%

Eritrea: 40%

Kenya: 20%

Sudan: 30%

Tanzania: 22%

Uganda: 20%

Cooperatives - NOT - Subsistence

The potential to establish food security in the main agricultural areas does will remain favorable. With more than 100 million small landholder farmers in East Africa, agricultural commercial agriculture cooperatives can act as a realistic solution to the region’s food insecurity.

 

Cooperatives are enterprises structured around the individual, functioning for the whole, and helping to propel both markets and societies into self determined prosperity. Subsistence farming is not the answer to establishing long term food or economic security in rural communities. Small scale “kitchen” farming only embeds new cycles of poverty in developing and post conflict regions.

 

Community development needs to be based in programs designed to meet long term objectives by implementing farming models exponentially increase agricultural production and empower cooperation within local communities to leverage socially responsible brands and reinvestment potential. Planning must include a diversity of training and monitoring to ensure concepts of production and quality are institutionalized within agricultural developments programs.