TOT training for community based facilitators

The ratio of Agricultural extension workers to farmers in Uganda is 1:5000. This implies that each of the existing extension workers has to reach out to 5,000 farmers engaged in different agricultural enterprises that require specialized expertise. Consequently, there is a nationwide outcry by farmers due to the none satisfactory presence of extension workers to attend to their farm related challenges and offer technical advice within the communities.

It is against that background that Mayuge District Department of Production in collaboration with SwissContact has deemed it wise to onboard 50 Cocoa Community Based Facilitators (CCBFs) from all the cocoa producing sub counties of Malongo, Kityerera, Busakira, Bukatube, Buwaaya, Imanyiro, Bukabooli, Mayuge Town Council and Mpungwe to support the existing Agricultural Extension Workers in the delivery of cocoa specific extension services among cocoa farmers in the district. The CCBFs (40% women) are all active cocoa farmers carefully identified and selected from within the district.

The Cocoa Community Based Facilitators are undergoing a 5-months long hands on (Yiiga nga okola) training to equip them with appropriate practical skills in the delivery of cocoa specific extension services. The TOT training is being facilitated by Emmanuel Kawuzi Waiswa who is a Cocoa Master trainer trained by Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) at the National Coffee/cocoa Research Insititute at Kituuza, International Plantation Crops Institute of India and the Ghana Cocoa Research Institute.

Particularly, the Cocoa Community Based Facilitators (CCBFs) will have to cover practical sessions across the entire cocoa value chain. Needless to mention, topics such as cocoa establishment, field management, pruning, harvesting and postharvest handling practices, pests and disease control, financial literacy, adult facilitation skills and marketing will be covered. It should be noted that all practical sessions will be conducted on farm and mostly at the different crop demonstration gardens set up and managed by Mayuge district local government. However, key in all these trainings is the aspect of food security among cocoa farming households with majority of the cocoa farmers accessing 24,000 improved banana planting materials and 4,000 one month old SASSO birds on a cost sharing basis.

Mayuge district remains highly indebted to SwissContact for the continued facilitation role throughout this collaboration under the Dynamic Markets for Farmers – Sustainable Cocoa and Honey (DMF) project.