Krassgrün - News from Germany

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Afrika-Blog

News from Germany

News from Germany

Impressions from our Ugandan interns: Daily work on the farm, leisure acitivities and insights how they expect the german way of life...

A Mind-blowing German Experience: Johnson Kirrya at Biohof Rzehak

For the past 3 months I have been situated at unique farm in the small village of Wulfshagenerhuitten in Schleswig-Holstein state of Northern Germany. Biohof Rzehak is an organic farm mainly dealing in dairy cattle, bull fattening, milk processing and direct marketing. It's run by Yannick Rzehak and Ana Kenner (hosts), alongside Tonia Rzehak (sister). The farm is unique because it's among the few farms run a community supported agriculture system that I found very interesting as customer are more closely related to the producer of their food stuffs.

 

Yannick and Ana are very hospitable and welcoming just from the first day. They both are fluent in English hence communication is always easy. They are a young couple in their 30s with a 7 month old baby, Jacob, who were all very nice to me from the word go. Alongside Harald and Anne Rzehak (hosts parents) and Tonia (sister) who were all very friendly and I was able to work alongside and learn alot from each member in the 3 months.

 

 

What I have loved about this internship is I have participated in almost every farm activity. Right from tractor driving in which I learnt to use both manual and semi automatic tractors and use implements like a front loader, round bale distributor, mower, raker, chain harrow etc. and learnt how to attach and disattach them. I thank the tenancity and patience of Yannick in particular for this. I also acquired the skills of using and cleaning a milk parlour (Ana's department), maintaining records of calves, feeding all cattle groups, fencing, simple farm repairs, rotational grazing, feed mixing, cleaning the barn and re-arranging straw beds.

 

In the other farm departments I participated in the milk processing unit (creamery) with activities like bottling, product labeling, yoghurt production, cheese making and preparing re-usuable glasses. I was also able in this way to participate in product delivery to the the different customers and stockists. So indeed it really was a wholesome experience.

 

 

In other affairs I was able to experience German culture and cuisine in many aspects. My hosts made sure every weekend we try to visit a new place and experience culture and diversity right from the "Moin Moin"-greeting of the North to visiting Hamburg with a city tour and visiting the grand opera, having a bike tour around Lüneburg and Lübeck, enjoyed the beachside in Kiel and "Strand" with interesting activities like stand-up peddling, experiencing Schokoladen (yes, learnt some words too!) tasting in Eckernförde, visited a Viking museum in Schleswig, tried beer tasting and different sausage varieties in which I loved Currywurst the most, participating in so many barbecues with friends and family among others. I will keep saying among others because I can't truly exhaust all I have learnt and experienced in my internship.

 

In conclusion, all good things at a point must come to an end but I have really learnt alot in my internship and wish it was longer, maybe I would even be able to write this article in Deutsch. Thank you Ana and Yannick, Thank you Schorlemer Stiftung, Thank you UNYFA, Thank you AHA. My heart is full. Tschüss!

Daniel Bakaluba at Petersen farm

As an enthusiastic young farmer from Uganda, I was very excited to be among the youth farmers selected to participate in the  International Young Farmers Exchange Program (IYFEP) and I came to Germany open minded to learn as much as I could especially in the sector of livestock management and indeed I wasn’t disappointed. My three months period working and learning on the Germany farm has been worthwhile.

 

The farm I had the privilege to be hosted is a third generation family farm currently owned by Mr. Detlef Petersen located in a Nordhackstedt. The farm is seated on three hundred thirty hectares and has six employees. It has two hundred dairy cattle and two hundred fifty breeding pigs. The farm also grows an average of one hundred seventy hectares of maize, fifty hectares of cereals and one hundred ten hectares of grassland per year.

 

A typical day at the farm for me was getting up at 5.30am to feed the calves, cleaning the laying boxes and the cow shade and adding new straw to the laying boxes using a small tractor followed by breakfast at 7.30am which was preceded by work at the pig stables which included castrating piglets, inseminating the sows, cleaning the pig stables, sorting and transporting piglets to the different stables upon growth, feeding the sows, and administering iron to the piglets and antibiotics or hormones to the soon to deliver sows. At 4pm the day would then be crowned with feeding the calves, pushing the feedback to the cows and then cleaning the laying boxes and the cow shade and adding new straw to the laying boxes using a small tractor.

 

 

On top of that, I learnt a couple of other skills like repairing and building the cow laying boxes, repairing the automated pig feeding system, replacing blades on a grass cutting machine, operating various big machinery  among others.

 

Apart from farm life, I was also able to get an opportunity to explore the cultural and social life of Germany. I was blessed to visit a number of cities and towns like Berlin, Hamburg, Flensburg, and Husum.  Furthermore, I had the opportunity to visit the famous sand beach at Rømø on the Danish island in the Wadden Sea. I also visited the now famous town called Dagebüll near the dazzling North sea.

 

My experiences participating in the International Young Farmers Exchange Program are infinite but one thing is for sure, the mentorship, friendship, time, love and care I have received from every member of my host family, their friends and the whole team at the farm has been overwhelming and I will forever be grateful.

 

 

It's all about cheese: Stewart Ategeka at the cheese farm "Käsehof-Rozenburg" in Lower Saxony

My name is Stewart Ategeka and I'm the proprietor of Chwezi Agribusiness Mavens which is mixed farm located in Rwemigali Village, Miirya Sub-County, Buruli County, Masindi District, with a vision aimed at improving rural livelihoods and creating sustainable food systems enhanced through innovative modern farming technologies and a mission aimed at promoting agroecological principles and rural entrepreneurship through capacity development and knowledge exchange through farm-to-farmer practical trainings. The farm sits on a total acreage of 15 acres with sugarcane being the main enterprise (7.5 acres). Other enterprises currently running include Maize and beans plus a Rabbit pilot project. Link: https://goo.gl/maps/MKfQFBqVa9TnUFHR9. I also work with EzyAgric as a product officer in charge of Agrishop and Better Ext. (E-Extension). EzyAgric is one of Africa’s leading Agri-Tech companies that is creating digital solutions across the entire Farming Value chain through the EzyAgric Farmer App and other Web-based solutions.

 

During the internship I am hosted by Käsehof-Rozenburg, which is a dairy farm with a farm shop located in Lower Saxony. For more than 30 years, the farm has been lovingly handcrafting every cheese in traditional recipes. It all starts with the production of fresh cow and goat milk on the farm with the utmost animal welfare treatment. The farm was founded in 1973 by Arie Berkhout and Leni Berkhout. 

 

Describing the family by words is simply not enough! The humour, love and care all created a home away from home filled with wonderful memories that can be more heartfelt than a text explanation. It is a family of four: Dirk (father), Claudia (mother), Jan (oldest son) and Sven (youngest son).

 

 

Stewart Ategeka at "Käsehof Rozenburg" in Lower Saxony.
The goat barn

 

I have been involved in a wide range of activities on the farm ranging from Milking, Feeding, Barn/stables Hygiene management, Dehorning, Hoof trimming, grouping of kids and calves, Herd health management; Pasture/Crop Fields- Planting, weed management, Manure spreading, grass mowing, baling, bale wrapping, transportation of bales from the fields to the farm.

 

I have also had an opportunity to get more hands-on training in Agricultural mechanization such as Tractor operation with different implements including the Baler, Bale Wrapper, Planter, Manure tanker, Roller, Mower, Tedder and Boom sprayer. It is unfortunate that the 3 months period seems to have been a little short for me to get a detailed understanding and ability to operate all the tractor implements on farm but at least it has been long enough to give me the most valuable basics!

 

As an Agri-Tech enthusiast, I used the opportunity to dig into the I.T systems being used on farm. The Farm shop has a website (https://www.kaesehofladen.de/) with an ordering section where customers can place orders for cheese and it is shipped to them or simply pre-ordered for packaging into parcel and picked up later. It is not only a marketing tool but also an order management system. Müller-Elektronik system that is used on tractors to make tracks is such a system that can be localized into GPS coordinates markings on any app for field activity monitoring and management. 

 

Other apps used on farm include PlantNet (for weed identification), 365FarmNet for Farm management (Grass lands and Crop lands) and DeLaval DelPro™ Companion for Livestock Management. All these have given me more insights into the use of I.T in Agriculture. I am optimistic that EzyAgric Farmer app that I work with in Uganda will benefit from my experience!

 

 

 

Hoof trimming

 

Cultural activities and cultural shocks!

 

I have had the opportunity to visit a number of cities in Germany, these include: The Famous Pilsum Light house, Aurich District main city, Greetsiel, Juist Island and of course The Berlin tour during the Mid-Term Review seminar.

 

Of course, every Ugandan is used to having bread only for breakfast or evening tea, not as a main meal for Lunch or dinner which is the case in Germany. I'm glad that my host family leveraged the situation by having a wide variety of bread and bread spreads/dressings such as Meat Salad. This gave my bread a Ugandan feel and all was well. I would also be wrong to say that I ate a lot of bread on a daily, the food alternation within the course of every week was sufficient.

 

 

Just like the saying goes in my culture “Amagezi go’mukuru Mukaro, Buli Bwoijuka Nonenaho”. Translated: Knowledge shared by an elder is like roasted meat, each time you remember it, you take a bite. Farmers who have been practicing farming for a considerable time have much experience and are very resourceful to the young generation. They have mastered the art of simplifying tasks and increasing efficiency. Right from day one, aligning my pants into my Gumboots would take me more time but then Dirk showed me the easy way to go about it. You simply hold and twist the bottom of the trouser to one side and slide your foot into the Gumboot. This way you do not have to struggle pushing your pants into the boots. And just to give you some more examples:

 

  • While cleaning the calf pens, I was trying to grab heavy straw piles onto the Fork. This made the task seem hectic. Dirk showed me the easy way to do it by taking it off layer by layer just like peeling an onion, this way it was very easy.
  • Using a wheelbarrow: When it is empty, it is wise to drive it from your back so that when you return to wherever you are picking any load, it faces in the direction you will be taking the new load without having to turn around a loaded wheelbarrow.
  • Working with cows: In order not to frighten the cows and cause commotion, it is wise not to look directly into the eyes of the cows (Direct eye-contact), pretend to look down but keeping an angle look to whatever you are looking for e.g., a specific cow. While trying to lead cows to a specific direction, if a cow wants to cross your pass, it is some times as easy as “Making yourself a very Huge guy” by raising your arms to like a big statue. This scares the cow and it turns back.

 

“I love Working but not toiling”, a wonderful quote from Dirk, this will always guide me a lot on how I execute any task. Finding the smartest way to do things without wasting any energy. There is a lot more to share but to sum it up all, advice from an elder/experienced person is that anyone should treat as points of paramount significance if critically analyzed and associated with solving day-to-day life problems.

 

 

Goat milking
Inside the goat barn

It's a great pity that the Covid situation made the social life outside farming very complicated since gatherings were restricted. Too bad that I have not been able to fully experience “side B” of Germany.

 

 

For any young farmer thinking about getting more exposure in Agriculture, there is no other destination other than Germany that you can think about. There is a lot you will learn from the German farmers right from the technology, farming systems and way of life of a typical farmer. At the end of the program, you will have realized that you haven’t been a real farmer but rather a part time farmer. Your mindset and attitude towards work will not remain the same. “There is no bad weather but there is bad clothing”. Implying that you have no excuse to skip working simply because of bad weather. A big lesson for a young farmer like me.

 

 

Special thanks to UNYFA, AHA-Andreas Hermes Akademie, Schorlemer Stiftung, Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) for supporting me and other Ugandan Young farmers to have such a great opportunity to participate in this wonderful internship program.

 

 

Visiting Juist Island
Visiting Berlin at the Mid Term Seminar

Cyprian Ssekubulwa on the Felten Fruit Farm near Bonn

The Young Farmers Federation of Uganda (UNYFA) and Schorlemer stiftung of the DBV organised and Appretinceship under the International Young Farmers Exchange Program where I have participated. The program started on 8th April 2021 and will end on 5th July 2021. I was hosted on a fruit farm in the North Rhine Westfalia called Felten Fruit Farm.

 

In Uganda, I own a company called Cypriano Enterprises under which I carry out different agricultural activities. Cypriano Enterprises is a fruit and vegetable production and processing company located at Lugo–Butambala District. The company was envisioned out of desire attend to food security and farmer needs for a better living. In 2010 we started with the production of passion fruits and vegetables working with small holder farmers to bulk the production and take to the market for sale. Later in 2011, we expanded into processing juice concentrate from passion fruits grown to add value.

 

Currently, the company also offers agribusiness trainings and advisory services to farmers. Cypriano Enterprises aims at offering the best passion fruit juice concentrate and fresh vegetables and fruits with utmost customer satisfaction to uplift farmers’ living conditions. 

 

The farm is located in the western part of Germany 20 minutes away from Bonn and south of the city Cologne. The farm is seated on 24 hectares with fruits occupying 22 hectares and vegetables 2 hectares. The fruit farmer Manfred Felten now runs the farmin the 3rd generation and in addition to his work on the farm and in the orchards, he takes care of the fruit growing -offspring as an active members of the Audit committee of the Chamber of Agriculture. The farm grows fruits such as Apples, pears, cherries, plums and strawberries. Freshly harvested products are served daily in the companys farm shop.

 

The company employs two Appretinces for the profession of gardener specialised in fruit growing. The farm also hires seasonal workers especially during harvesting time.

 

My activities on the farm

 

The farm has a number of activities depending on the seasonal. However, I have participated in all the farm activities which include Spraying, slashing orchards, thinning fruits, controlling rodents like mice in orchards, irrigating orchards, weeding strawberry tunnels, harvesting strawberries and cherries, leaning machinery on farm, collecting farm shop vegetables from the whole sale fruit and vegetable market in Köln and planting strawberries. On a "typical day" we have breakfast at 7.00 a.m. and work starts at 8.00 a.m., one hour lunch break at 12.00 p.m and finish work at 5.00 p.m.

 

 

Lessons learnt and Experiences here in Germany...

 

I see a lot a lot of mechanisation in Germany compared to Uganda where we use rudimentary tools, this has exposed me to use of machinery which I did know before and thus I have gained experience in operating machinery such as tractors. Among this there is use of technology in farming such as use of temperature meters, moisture meters and having automated systems especially in green houses. In Germany farmers are licenced to grow certain crops or rear animals hence a farmers does grow any crop without a licence for it and having technical knowledge about it.

 

What is also different between Uganda and Germany and which is also important for who does farming as a business is that there are also good agricultural financing policies such as affordable Agricultural loans of 1% interest rate compared to Uganda which has between 18-21% and also grants offered by government to farmers.

 

I also experienced direct marketing at Felten where they sell what they produce and growing specific varieties of crops that meet customers tastes and preferences. My host family is very welcoming and friendly and I live with them as a family member in terms of having meals together, enjoying parties together among others. I also have been exposed to new food such as Asparagus, eating cold food (we always eat warm food!), eating bread as food and also hard bread. I also like the good transport system such as use of electric trains that allow you to travel from one place to another quickly.

 

Lucky Kirungi and Maureen Kaliisa at the Thuenen Institute of Organic farming

We are doing our internship at the Thuenen Institute of Organic farming that is located in Trenthorst, Westerau, in Germany. The institute does research on organic farming on behalf of the German Government. They have a mixed farm comprising of dairy cows, pigs, chicken and crops. The last 10 weeks have been a roller coaster of observing, exploring and learning agriculture and culture in Germany. It’s very amazing how different everything is here from farming, food, work ethics, security etc.

Our first assignment was supporting on the African project: "Landless food". The project seeks to find a solution for the growing population that is estimated to be between 11.2 and 16.6 billion by 2100. A landless food system will be combined with land based agriculture in a circular sustainable way to provide food especially for the low income countries with high population density.

 

In the project we are supporting on an experiment of growing mushrooms from nonfood substrates on a 458 m2 (That is estimated to be available cropland per person in Africa by 2100). The spent mushroom substrate is then fed on earthworms. The earthworms in turn multiply, and also make compost out of the spent substrate. When cultivated, the earthworms can be fed on chicken as additional protein.

 

As scientific as this may sound, we have been exposed to the basics of growing mushrooms by practically preparing the materials required like the substrates, sterilizing them and applying spawn. This has helped us learn how to cultivate mushrooms and also how to make quality compost using earthworms.

 

 

We have also been able to support at the farm station that is run by the institute for different experiments. We have observed the different activities at the farm but also participated in others like preparing and cleaning stables, preparing feed for cows, pigs and chicken, construction and repairs of animal stables and milking. 

 

Unlike in Uganda most of the activities are mechanized and this is a unique experience for us. At the farm we also have a chance to interact with the workers about different topics like culture and they have also gotten a chance to ask us about farming in Uganda.

 

 

Besides the work, we have had an opportunity to explore the different nearby cities thanks to our hosts who have been kind enough to offer us bicycles, teach us how to ride through on our own as well as take us on different city tours for us to get well vested with life in Germany.

We have been oriented on the work ethic like preparing weekly time sheets, conducting weekly assessment meetings and at the farm attending a daily brief meeting at 7:30 to plan for the day. These have been very helpful for us in planning for the days as well as accounting for our time.

We also ride bicycles to and from the farm which is 3.5 km away. This is a unique experience for us, we like it because it helps us easily access the farm station, keeps us fit and also makes us independent.

 

 

Zwischenseminar in Berlin: Besuche der Stadtfarm und des Ökodorfs Brodowin

Vor zwei Wochen war es so weit: Unser Zwischenseminar in Berlin für unsere ugandischen Teilnehmenden konnte coronakonform stattfinden. Das zweite der drei Seminare, die im Rahmen des "International Young Farmers‘ Exchange Program" stattfinden, bietet den Teilnehmenden Deutschlands Hauptstadt kennenzulernen, an spannenden landwirtschaftlichen Exkursionen teilzunehmen und sich über das bereits Erlebte mit den Mitstreiter*innen auszutauschen.

 

Donnerstag, 15.00 Uhr, stehen wir als Team der Schorlemer Stiftung am Berliner Hauptbahnhof, ein Zug aus Kiel kommt quietschend zum Stehen. Uns kommt die erste Gruppe der ugandischen Teilnehmenden entgegen: Ein bisschen müde von der langen Zugfahrt, aber breit grinsend voller Vorfreude auf das Seminar. Das kann man sogar mit Maske erkennen! Auch wir freuen uns, alle endlich mal wiederzusehen und begrüßen uns mit den Ellenbogen, um danach den Weg zum Hotel anzutreten. Auf dem Weg wird mit einem herzhaften Lachen über das deutsche Wetter gemurrt, welches auch an diesem Wochenende sehr kalt und diesig ist. Kein Grund für schlechte Laune, denn die Vorfreude endlich alle aus der Gruppe wiederzusehen, liegt in der Luft. Nach einem weiteren Corona-Test vor Ort und während eines Abendspazierganges zum Brandenburger Tor werden die ersten erlebten Geschichten ausgetauscht.

 

 

Am nächsten Tag geht es auf eine Exkursion. Wir haben zwei Ziele vor uns: Einmal die StadtFarm, wo wir eine Führung zum Thema Smart Urban Farming und AquaTerraPonic bekommen. Das zweite Ziel ist das Ökodorf Brodowin. Das Interesse der Gruppe für beide Betriebe ist groß. Die Aufenthalte sind geprägt durch interessante Gespräche mit den Tourführer*innen, bei denen Erfahrungen, Meinungen und Wissen angeregt und offen ausgetauscht werden. Der Tag endet mit einer großen Runde durch Berlin, vorbei am Reichstag bis zur East Side Gallery.

 

 

Normalerweise kommt erst die Arbeit und dann das Vergnügen. Bei uns läuft es dieses Mal anders herum: Erst Vergnügen, dann "Arbeit". Am Samstag und Sonntag standen die Teilnehmenden unter den wachsamen Händen und Augen von Sonja Dimter, Trainerin der Andreas Hermes Akademie, die mit der Gruppe die vergangenen 6 Wochen des Austausches reflektierte und evaluierte. Im Seminarraum erwartete die Gruppe am Morgen 5 leere, graue Pinnwände,aber schon nach kurzer Zeit füllt Lachen und Geschäftigkeit den Raum, die Pinnwände hängen voller bunter Zettel und Karten, auf denen die Teilnehmenden Gelerntes, Erlebtes, Erfahrungen sowie schwierige und gemeisterte Situationen festhalten.

 

Im anschließenden Gespräche findet jeder Zeit, seine Geschichten mit der Gruppe zu teilen. Hinzu kommt ein Einzelaustausch mit dem afrikanischen Trainer, bei dem bei Bedarf persönliche Sorgen angesprochen werden konnten. Das Wochenende endet mit einer kleinen Lockerungs- und Tanzeinheit und die Teilnehmenden kehren mit neuen Eindrücken und tieferen Freundschaften zu ihren ‚German homes' zurück. 

 

 

Eva Grace Birungi: EXPERIENCE AND TELL OF FARMING IN GERMANY

Germany is one of the countries that’s 53% having farmers involved in renewable energy which makes it a country practicing and empowering green energy in their country. So with that knowledge I got so interested in the country because in my country I am among the people who would wish that green energy is advocated and implemented among farmers. So personally I practice it at a small scale and coming to Germany was one way of how I could get more knowledge to my renewable energy practices.

 

My farm in Uganda is called my passion farm and it’s a mixed farm practicing different kinds of farming that’s growing of crops, such as maize, coffee, bananas, fruits such as mangoes and also rearing of animals like chicken, pigs and goats. We also do renewable energy practices such as portable bio gas digester.

 

I chose the farm of Tobias, my host farmer, because we have so much in common that we both do in regards to farming, but above all the farm practices and endorses, the use of renewable energy in various aspects such as solar panels, biogas plants, and wind mills. So it’s what my farming practicing in Uganda needed to become better and I'm really happy to be at Tobias farm. So far I really enjoy the stay and Tobias and his Family give me a warm welcome when I arrived in Germany.

 

 

During my stay I discover many differences between Uganda and Germany. They are there and if I share everything it would take me a full day but I will point out the most important ones:

 

  1. Uganda as a country has the same weather through the year and I have never experienced degrees that are as low as 1,2...15 degrees in my life which was a great difference!
  2. The food was another one. Here in Germany bread is part of every dish and I have to admit, yes, I missed the full plate meals we normally have.
  3. In Uganda almost every one speaks English and I was surprised that most people in Germany hardly spoke English but it was okay, because they have one national language. 
  4. Germany farmers use a lot of machinery with less labour force from humans which gives them better farming performances than in Uganda where we employ a lot of human labour.
  5. Germany respects public holidays and Sundays as days of rest, so it was a total difference to me and how we behave in my country Uganda. We used the sundays to rest and explore different things and part of my "new home".

 

 

My farm has a diversity of activities that I am actively involved in such as working in the chicken barns, working in the pig barns and working in the sheep barns.

 

The farm has flower fields that are for self-cutting so I have been involved in platting of the flowers and the management of them. The farm has egg picking and sorting on a machine, which I have enjoyed and would like to one-day practice it also in Uganda!

 

The farm has cereal crops which I found when already planted, but I was part of the cultivations in preparations for corn planting and also I participated in spraying of the wheat, kanula, barley and beans which was involving use of  different tractors.    

 

 

Seth Rutah Uwizeye auf dem Hof Thies: Beyond my expectations!

On my way to Germany - the home of the largest and biggest dairy farmers - as a dairy farmer from Uganda, I expected to learn machinery and the production of the Holstein Friesians. I learnt in the first week that this was not the usual farming as I expected it and I was a bit disappointed in myself about what I had expected. Farming in Germany is not about what I expected.

 

It is true: much of the work is done by machinery. The work which could be done by 100 farmers in a laborious day in Uganda. For me farming in Germany is simply strategy, systems and hard work!

 

 

Me and my host farmer Steffen experiencing summer in Germany!

Strategy

After World War Two, my host farm had existed for 50 years plus and the farm had pigs and 15 cattle. When it was handed over to the first generation, they majored in dairy and expanded. Now the third generation has taken over. Their succession strategy is for sustainability. Farmers in Germany are not just doing core activities but have strategic choices they have taken to engage in a certain choice.

 

My Host farm specializes in dairy and whatever is done on the farm is to support the dairy. For instance, they fatten the bulls which are born from the Holsteins for resale and grow wheat and barley to get straw for the animals even though the wheat is sold. They have diverse activities but the focus is in one line of production.

 

 

Hard Work

On a dairy farm, the official reporting time is 4.00 am and work starts with milking. We finish milking and cleaning up the stables and feeding the animals and take breakfast at 8 a.m. Thirty minutes break and work resumes.

 

We break off for lunch at 12.30, enjoy some good meat and Germany bread with a drink of your choice and a desert. We resume work at 1.30 pm and carry on till the coffee break at 4 p.m. with all sorts of delicious cakes and coffee without "Zucker". We go for the second milking at 4.30 p.m. and we close the day at 8 p.m. We work as a family and at leisure with self drive.

 

The "Deutsche respect time" and much of what is enjoyed during the breaks is talking majorly about what happened on the farm.

 

 

Systems

Regulations and standards are followed to the dot. No need of an implementer, each one watches over his own department and work to ensure they are doing what is legal. Everything has a place and a position and I am learning the routine from my host farmer Steffen.

 

 

In other words...

Away from the farm, I have found a home away from home enjoyed the warm welcome from my host family and the introductions to the community.  Language is a challenge, but the love can be seen in the smiles and the eyes of the people here. I have had visits to family friends who are also farmers and taken a few notes.

I have also time to be introduced to the church community and the fire brigade volunteers from where I have learnt about life in Germany as a community. I am still learning more and enjoying life with my host family. Hoping the cold feet and hands soon go as we head to summer!

 

 

Abschluss der ersten Austauschrunde - Januar 2020

Offizieller Programmabschluss während der IGW

Zur Internationalen Grünen Woche sind alle unsere Teilnehmenden noch einmal in Berlin zusammen gekommen. Nicht nur unsere deutschen und ugandischen PraktikantInnen, sondern auch die BetriebsleiterInnen der deutschen Gastbetriebe haben sich für ein letztes Treffen, eine Auswertungsrunde und eine offizielle Verabschiedung auf den Weg nach Berlin gemacht.  

 

Während der Messe gab es einiges zu tun. An den Ständen der Andreas Hermes Akademie und der Schorlemer Stiftung standen unsere PraktikantInnen und MitarbeiterInnen für Fragen rund um das Austauschprogramm zur Verfügung. Es wurden Kontakte geknüpft, sich ausgetauscht und auch schon die nächste Runde im April 2020 geplant.

 

Der Bundesminister für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung Dirk Müller und Werner Schwarz, Vizepräsident des DBV, kamen vorbei, um sich ein eigenes Bild von unserem Young Farmers' International Exchange Program zu machen.

 

 

Unsere Teilnehmerin Lora, die ihr Praktikum in Uganda auf der Katigondo Seminary Farm verbrachte, stand für ein Interveiw bereit und berichtet von ihren Erlebnissen und Erfahrungen die sie auf ihrem Gastbetrieb gemacht hat.

Auf der Bühne des Bundesministeriums für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung konnten wir unser Austauschprojekt vorstellen und mit der Staatssekretäring Frau Dr. Flachsbarth über die Hintergründe sprechen. Unsere beiden Teilnehmenden Lora und Harbert berichteten von den Erfahrungen, die sie während der vergangenen drei Monate in ihrem jeweiligen Gastland machen konnten. Geoffrey Okot, Präsident unserer ugandischen Partnerorganisation UNYFA, und Dr. Andreas Quiring von der Andreas Hermes Akademie, sprachen über die politischen und gesellschaftlichen Rahmenbedingungen, innerhalb derer der Young Farmers‘ Exchange stattfindet.   

Am letzten Abend fand die offizielle Aushändigung der Teilnehmerzertifikate statt.

Hier zu sehen: Johannes Leberer (Schorlemer Stiftung), Dirk Schmülgen (AHA), Joseph Wandera (ugandischer Landwirt) und Nicole Bolomey (AHA).

Früh am nächsten Morgen ging es dann für die UganderInnen zum Flughafen, während sich die deutschen Teilnehmerinnen mit der Bahn auf den Weg nach Hause machten. Eine Teilnehmerin, Brigitte Basedau, Landwirtin aus Schleswig-Holstein, hat jedoch nicht an unserem Abschlussseminar teilgenommen. Sie verbingt weitere drei Monate in Ostafrika, in Ugandas Nachbarland Tanzania.

Harbert Mawejje - January 2020

Potential business opportunities I have learned in Germany, which can also be applied in Uganda!

Me and my host Mr. Coenen.
Me and the "Gruenkohl".

Today, 795 million people are hungry and another 2 billion are expected to join them by 2050.

However, global food production is incredibly efficient and able to feed more than 10 billion people with currently the global population being estimated to 7.6 billion people. Our inability to feed the entirety of the world is due to food wastage with 1.3 billion tons (1/3 of the world food production) of food for consumption being wasted. In developing countries 40% losses occur mainly at early stage of the food value chain and can be tracked back to financial, managerial and technical constraints in harvesting techniques as well as storage.

 

One of the ways that is much emphasized in Uganda to reduce wastage is value addition as it was noted from the previous concluded state of the national Address by the president in Uganda. Value addition can occur in various ways but it can be as simple as packaging, at my host farm the “Hofladen Coenen”. You can’t fail to note the different simple techniques of how to deal with perishable products – from flowers to vegetables. Amongst the many we will only note those that can be deployed or replicated within the Ugandan context.

 

The first one concerns the packaging of fruits. Fruits like pomegranate and coconut are fruits liked by many people, however consumers are discouraged from buying them because of their perishability once opened, size being too big for one time consumption not mentioning the time to invest in separating the pericarp from the edible part. As a way of increasing preference and palatability of the fruits to their customers, while saving time and fear of perishability, the Hofladen Coenen prepares the fruits and packs it in sizable 150 g packs for its customers for 2.5 euros per pack.  From one fruit 2 packs of 150 g can be obtained. In terms of profits 14-15 packs can be obtained from one carter of fruits which goes for 5-8 euros, also sold at the Hofladen. Data from the shop shows, that - since they started packing the fruits – there has been a 150% increase in the consumption of the fruit.

 

Pomegranate packed vs...
...pomegranate as a whole fruit.

This is one example of many fruits that are packaged in the Hofladen and it surely demonstrates how well customers preference, economies of scale and perishability can be dealt with. 

The second technique I want to talk about is direct marketing. Vegetables like “Gruenkohl” (kale), which is majorly grown on the farm, are very perishable. The farm employs direct markets around the region which ensure that most of the products can be sold as fast as possible. However, the Gruenkohl is also being packed in 400 g bags after being chopped into small sizeable pieces that are enjoyed by the customer. Packed Gruenkhol can be stored easily in a cool place without wilting as compared to the plant itself.

 

Packed Gruenkohl vs...
...loose Gruenkohl.

The above noted examples are potential business opportunities also for Uganda as they don’t require any special equipment like a cool house or improved structures but rather work within in the existing atmosphere.  

 

I thank all the partners that have made this exchange possible: AHA, the Schorlemer Stiftung and UNYFA plus the Coenens and the Hofladen team!