VMG is a CSA approach that uses the Vertical farming technology to convert 9 square feet into 36 square feet of farming space.
IDEAS Uganda is seeking for funding to scale-up the Vertical and Micro-Gardening (VMG) project. This is the first ever vertical and micro gardening innovation in Uganda. The proposed funding will be a period of three (3) years after which the project can sustain its operations.
The vertical farm is a garden in a box that can be assembled and positioned on any small ground, desk, rooftop, school yard, office building, or walk-way, making it reachable to anyone.
At the centre is a column-like vermicomposting chamber which converts waste to compost manure. The worms will feed on the organic matter to produce high quality fertilizer. The vermincomposting chamber is designed so that worms can travel throughout the soil column hence contributing to aeration and infiltration, while at the same time depositing their worm castings.https://www.facebook.com/IdeasForUganda/?ref=bookmarks
The Vertical farms are hand made out of local wood. This farm is unique, with a vertical design which converts 9 square feet into 36 square feet of farming space capable of growing up to 200 plants. To guarantee that the plants are receiving optimal sunshine, it also has an internal bearing treads which it to turn up to 360 degrees. However, given its scalability, very big farms are designed to be static as long as they have continued access to sunlight. These can accommodate up to 500 plants! The vertical urban farms can also be mounted with a greenhouse material that is easily removed.
More photos here:
What actions do you propose?
Manufacture of vertical farms
The project is leading to the development of 500 home-based enterprises that are key to improvement of household incomes and will result into access to basic social services for the poor. The main hardware component of the project is the crafting and distribution of the vertical farms.
In a bid a change the current trend of events through awareness creation, VMG project will form Community Extension Networks (CENs) which will be used as a knowledge dissemination channel and hence foster effective adoption. A comprehensive “How-To-Do” toolkit will also be developed and translated into local languages. This will be shared among urban dwellers, particularly, members of the CENs. A team of agricultural extension officers will also be available to guide and interact with the farmers.
VMG will also use media platforms e.g radio, tv, print media and social networks like Facebook , Whatsapp and Twitter to create awareness on good environmental and waste management practices in the context of the VMG project.
To enhance uptake, IDEAS shall engage farmers in agricultural study tours on the VMG demo-farm to interest, expose and share about the contemporary innovations in modern farming where we shall also cultivate connectivity among farmers. Similarly, Farmer Field days will also be arranged. Other activities include:
- Extension services and technical advice
- Monitoring and evaluation
- Waste collection
- Raising of seedlings
- Linking farmers networks to markets
- Educating, engaging and empowering women, men and youth in urban and peri-urban in climate-smart vertical and micro-farming practices through research and innovation.
- Interacting and building strong, effective farmer networks to address prevalent agricultural and livelihood challenges.
Overall, VMG seeks to build ‘passion for change’ by providing global community empowerment through agricultural programmes, capacity building, leadership development, youths competence development, peer-to-peer mentorship and social enterprise incubation
Who will take these actions?
- The farms will be manufactured with the help of local craftsmen.
- Kampala capital city will offer land for demonstration
- Leaders of cities, municipalities and town-councils will mobilize the people
- Uganda Micro Gardening Initiative. These will offer Technical support, extension agriculture, training for community, mobilizing communities and coordinating with schools especially in the towns on Masindi and Hoima where they have stronger grass root presence.
- National Agricultural Research Organisation will offer technical research expertise regarding soil mixing, plant pests and diseases
- MFIs and SACCOs . Their role will be offering loans to farmers so they can afford to pay for the vertical farms on installment basis
Where will these actions be taken?
The project will take place in Uganda-East Africa in Kampala city and municipalities of Hoima and Masindi.
How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?
VMG reduces methane emissions into the environment through vermicompositing of household wastes. Similarly, VMG reduces soil and water pollution. The wastes if not composited would end up in rivers, lakes and streams causing morbidity to the community and pollution. It reduces turbidity of water in open and a closed water sources.
What are other key benefits?
This is an environmentally friendly project accomplished with no non-organic chemical fertilizer, no pesticides, no growth hormones, no carbon output, and no waste. Everything is composted naturally, we use plants as insect repellent, and we only grow Non-GMO vegetables. We are a carbon-negative operation. Further VMG reduces nitric acid and other toxic substances that would emanate from the use of synthetic agricultural inputs.
Social and Development Impact
The project is leading to the development of HBEs that are key to improvement of household incomes. The project also contributes to the alleviation of youth and women unemployment. It targets women most especially since it is home-based and women in Uganda are majority home keepers without major sources of employment. Micro-gardens have the potential for creating Micro-enterprises that can be owned and operated by families, individuals, and community members contributing to diet and food security in the homes.
What are the proposal’s costs?
The enterprise will start with 75 farms with annual growth rate of 35% that make a cumulative total of 360 farms in a 5 year strategic planning period. The projected earnings per farm per year in produce sales is US$ 352 implying a gross return of US$126,720 in 5 years. Sales of vertical farms will earn US$ 63,529 at a rate of US$176.6 per farm. Other earning will be from sale of seedlings, agro-tourism and consultancy. The initial investment of US$ 49637.94 will fetch a triple return on investment. The projected costs are indicated:
- Project staff USD 18411.43
- Due diligence USD 685.71
- Training and capacity building USD 685.71
- Follow up USD 685.71
- Expert consultancy USD 457.14
- Plant and equipment USD 16886
- Transport USD 5857
- Equipment USD 2257.14
- Communication USD 2571.43
- Other direct costs USD 514.29
- Overhead costs USD 10285.71
Details of the budget can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/114qBQN9YM5nrlgtmnBMKIPsxen0z6DvxSNhA8SKSdbg/edit#gid=863953131
Risk and Risk Mitigation: Please view details:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gcHO0cegtz59Xa0dhX4W9HtCVlVoub-u9q1QOPnTHJk/edit
From the financial narration above, it is evident that the project will be self sustaining after three years.
Bai, Z.G and Dent, D.L. (2006). Global Assessment of Land Degradation and Improvement: pilot study in Kenya. Report 2006/01, ISRIC - World Soil Information, Wageningen.
Balmford et al. (2005). Sparing land for nature: exploring the potential impact of changes in agricultural yield on the area needed for crop production. Global Change Biology 10: 1594-1605.
Lipper, L et al. Climate-smart agriculture for food security.Nature Climate Change 4, 1068-1072 (2014).