She was equally positive when Susie Weldon and Muguluma Hamed, chair of the Uganda Faiths Network on Environment Action (UFNEA) met up with Madame Beatrice in Kampala earlier this month to discuss developing closer partnerships between UFNEA and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF).
Stephen Muwaya, who oversees MAAIF’s sustainable land management initiative and who has been very supportive of engaging the faiths, said the Ministry recognised that it needed to involve other groups in managing Uganda’s land more sustainably as ‘we cannot be everywhere’.
He suggested that UFNEA and the Ministry of Agriculture should jointly work on a proposal to be submitted to TerrAfrica for funding to train faith communities in climate-smart agriculture and sustainable land management. Madame Beatrice was very supportive of that idea.
'But you see it is doing magic, the Islamic Farming, when you apply all the principles.'
– Nsubuga Sadat, Uganda
Islamic Farming produces results
While she was in Uganda, Immam Kasozi of the Uganda Muslim Youth Assembly (UMYA) took Susie to see some Islamic Farming demonstration sites. First she visited Wakataayi Secondary School, Luweero, where a banana plantation has been established using Islamic Farming methods.
Headmaster Hajji Lwanga Abdunoor (pictured above) told us that local people could not believe how well the banana trees were doing in this very dry area. Project manager Nsubuga Sadat said this was a very difficult site because of the poor quality soil.
‘But you see it is doing magic, the Islamic Farming, when you apply all the principles,’ he said. ‘We now have a very good garden which is also admired by people around. They always come to ask whether it is rocket science we use here and we tell them, no, it is just the things around you. You just need to believe in Allah and do what he directs you to do.’
Afterwards, Susie spoke to the school’s agriculture teacher Balaba Moses (picture below) who attended an Islamic Farming workshop six months ago. He experimented by planting a plot with 100 grams of seeds. To his amazement it produced 65 kg of maize. ‘The benefits of Islamic Farming are enormous. I did not have problems with pests, though they are rampant in the area, and I did not have problems with the shortcomings of rain because it conserved enough moisture. Each time my neighbour’s gardens would wither, mine would still stand.’
The sweetest fruits
Susie also visited a pineapple farm where Islamic Farming methods have produced very healthy, vigorous plants. Immam Kasozi gave her a pineapple to take back the UK where she voted it the second sweetest and juiciest pineapple she had ever eaten (the first being the pineapple he gave her on a previous visit).