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Afrika-Blog

News from Germany

News from Germany

Impressions from our Ugandan interns: Daily work on the farm, Agritechnica in Hannover, Demonstration in Berlin and Karneval in NRW…

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!  

Paul Okurut - January 2020

Christmas and New Year's in Germany

I am Okurut Paul, I live in Martin Post farm.

In this farm they do pig fattening and biogas. There are 2.000 pigs in the farm, which are normally brought to the farm when they are 28 days old, weighing between 25-30 kg. They are kept for 100-120 days in the farm before selling. The pigs are sold weighing between 115-130 kg.

The biogas station in this farm produces up to 500 kW per day.


Christmas

Christmas in Germany normally starts on 1st December with decorations and Christmas markets open, the flower farms open up to around 10th December and close until February of the new year.

Christmas in Germany is celebrated on 24th December in the Eve of the day and the Christmas tree is displayed on the same day in the morning. The day starts as usual with breakfast at 7:00 am and normal work continues till 12:00 pm when you get in for lunch. By 5:00 pm we drove with the family members to church. At church the bell was rang, marking the beginning of the service, children play a simple drama and the offertory is given and normal church service starts, then people go for the holy communion. After the service, you have to wish the few people around Merry Christmas and you drive back home for further celebrations.

Dinner was served and after we moved to the living room for a scripture reading, sing one or two songs and wish each other Merry Christmas again at home, take seats and the presents are given to individual members, as you keep seeping different kinds of drinks like wine, bears, sodas, juice to mention.


New Year's Eve

On New Year’s Eve, people meet friends, talk and drink until 12:00 am and make fireworks. Then after they get back to their homes and sleep. We the African interns from the Westphalia side spent our New Year’s Eve together at Mr. Sprenkers home, where we made some of the African food like Chapati, sweet potatoes, green bananas among others and had a meal together with the host family. We had fireworks twice, first we celebrated the African time which was 22:00 am German time, then at midnight the normal German time.

We spent our night together as interns in Sprenkers farm and got back for breakfast the next morning before driving back to our respective farms.

Here in my farm is where I got lunch with my host family members and celebrated 1st in a local way they said it. We had different types of food and a hot-plate on the table for roasting our meat and worming up our food locally.

 

Joan Kisaakye - January 2020

Christmas and New Year's in Germany

Christmas preparations started immediately after the 24th of November, which is the "Sunday in commemoration of the dead" and in German Portestant Church the last Sunday before Advent".
Here, I am cutting a natural christmas tree from the forest.

Rev. Gesewsky and me after a service on the 24th of December evening at St. Martin Luther Church in Achtrup.
Lightning the christmas tree candles.

Giving a christmas gift to my hostfamily.
I am eating a "Berliner" (German Pancake) at New Year's with my hostfamily.

Nehemiah Buwule - December 2019

Nehemiah stays at a fruit-growing farm in North Rhine-Westphalia

I was hosted at „Obstbau Felten“ farm in Meckenheim. It is a third generation farm, growing fruits like pears, plums, strawberries and apples being the candidate crop.

Professional, I came with expectations to be addressed mainly in areas of post-harvest handling and marketing of farm produce.

 

After harvesting, fruits are stored in cold rooms, which increases their life and then they are being sold after several months. The temperature in the cold room is lowered to almost 3 °C and nitrogen is pumped into the rooms to promote coldness. Oxygen is reduced as it promotes rotting.

On the farm, we have a farm shop were we do direct marketing of over 60% of the produce while the other 40% is sold to other clients. Marketing is still a problem, even in Germany, so the farm should practically take the initiative to look for the market for its produce by creating farm shops or other avenues that maximize its profit margins.

The quality of farm produce is very paramount to provide a cutting edge against other competitors. This is regulated by proper farm practices like weeding, spraying, pruning to mention but a few.

In a nutshell, 80% of my expectations have been met and I would like to express my special thanks to the BMZ, the Schorlemer Stiftung, the Andreas Hermes Akademie and UNYFA.  

 

Gadafi Yiiki - December 2019 - About my hostfarm and the importance of agriculture

Gadafi stays at a farm in North Rhine-Westphalia - it is a mixed farm with crop production, bull fattening and dairy farming

Agriculture is one of the most important economic sectors in the national economy of most tropical and temperate countries in the world. Within my placement on a German dairy farm (through the international young farmers exchange program), I have made several findings and critical observations concerning consumable products.

 

The German dairy industry is the largest branch within the German agricultural production. In recent years, the dairy industry in Germany has undergone a considerable structural change, during which the average number of cows per farm has increased.

 

 

The farm of my host family, farm Budde, which was first mentioned in documents in 1495, was family owned since 1956 and started cattle breeding in 1970. The farm has 274 heads of cattle and 115 cows are milkers.

 

Some of the activities we perform on the farm are: milking of cows, which takes approximately two hours in the morning and one and a half hour in the evening. The average amount of milk from one cow is 40 liters per day and the best milker can give you 60 liters (35 l in the morning, 25 l in the evening) per day.

 

Every other day, an average of 6.700 liters of milk is taken to the dairy.

 

 

The animals are fed on a variety of feeds, depending on their stages of growth and production. The farm stores grass and maize in ground silos, straw in halls, concentrates and pellets in high silos. The farm has several implements which are used during feeding like a feed mixer, a stacker, a grass mixing cart and a forklift with a food box that helps in accomplishing tasks within the shortest time possible. The high level of mechanization on the Budde family farm, according to my perception as an agriculturalist, is an indication to attain a hunger free status of the world. I think, that we need to maximize production by the use of digital agriculture, which requires comprehensive efforts.

 

 

To conclude, I would like to say that currently 821 million people worldwide are hungry and therefore the governments of each member nation needs to expand, expound and diversify agricultural production. Markets for producers need to be created and digital technologies need to be enhanced. Furthermore we need to create regulations and infrastructures so that fresh products are more accessible to consumers.

 

 

Me, besides working on the farm...

Florence Katwere - December 2019 - My Hostfarm

Florence stays at a farm in Schleswig-Holstein in the north of Germany - it is a mixed farm with dairy cows and crop production

My hostfarm has about 115 dairy cows.
Newborn calves in their first home.
The older calves that are being fed for fattening.
This is the milking room in which 8 cows can be milked at once.
This is a cooling machine for milk.
Sick cows are kept here, separately from the others.
The silo covered with tyres.

Daniel Kule - December 2019 - "A typcial Day on my Hostfarm"

Daniel stays at a farm in Lower-Saxony - it is a mixed farm with dairy cows, chickens and crop production

In this video, Daniel Kule takes us with him to his farm in Northern Germany, explaining his daily working routine on his hostfarm. 

Zwischenseminar in der Lüneburger Heide

LBZ Echem, Weihnachtsmarkt und das Forstamt Göhrde

Anfang Dezember fand unser Zwischenseminar in der Lüneburger Heide statt. Im Landwirtschaftlichen Bildungszentrum (LBZ) in Echem wurden wir sehr herzlich aufgenommen, gut versorgt und habe eine Führung über den ganzen Betrieb bekommen!

Während des Seminars ging es dann vor allem darum eine Zwischenbilanz zu ziehen, das bisher Erlebte zu rekapitulieren und einzuordnen. Gleichzeitig haben sich die ugandischen Praktikanten mit der Frage beschäftigt, in welcher Form sie ihr hier erlangtes Wissen auf ihren Heimatbetrieben in Uganda umsetzen können. Erste „Action-Pläne“ wurden erstellt, diskutiert und vorangebracht.

Nach getaner Arbeit gab es auch eine kleine Kultureinheit: bei einem Besuch auf dem Lüneburger Weihnachtsmarkt, gab es die ersten Begegnungen mit der deutschen Vorweihnachtszeit.

“We used to think that things here are ok. But they are not!”

 

Am letzten Tag ging es dann zum Forstamt Göhrde. Der stellvertretende Forstamtsleiter Herr Knocke gab uns einen spannenden Einblick in die Geschichte und die aktuelle Situation des deutschen Waldes. Ein wichtiges Thema auch für unsere ugandischen Landwirte und Landwirtinnen, sind doch von der ursprünglichen Waldfläche in Uganda heute gerade einmal 10% übrig. Für einem Land, in dem auch Agro-Forstsysteme eine zunehmend wichtige Rolle spielen, ist die Auseinandersetzung mit den unterschiedlichsten Aspekten der Waldbewirtschaftung sehr spannend. „Wir müssen immer beides berücksichtigen, Land- und Forstwirtschaft“, war somit auch ein Fazit, das wir von dem Tag im Forstamt mitnehmen konnten.

 

Nachdem Herr Knocke uns die Ausmaße des sich immer weiter verbreitenden Borkenkäfers vor Augen führte, gab es großes Entsetzen. „We used to think that thing here are ok“, sagte Florence. Dass aber auch Deutschland große Probleme mit seinen Forsten hat, wurde an diesem Tag allen Teilnehmenden klar.

 

Große Heiterkeit gab es dann allerdings, als es um die Wachstumszeit von Bäumen ging. Bäume im deutschen Klima brauchen schon mal 100 Jahre und mehr bis zur Ernte. Und so können wir Bestände, die nach 40 Jahren erntereif sind, mit Fug und Recht als „schnell wachsend“ bezeichnen. Fast unglaublich für die Ugander. Da das warme Klima dort ein ganzjähriges Wachsen der Vegetation zulässt, können Kiefern in Uganda teilweise bereits nach 15 Jahren geerntet werden.

 

Nachdem wir im Anschluss einem Harvester bei der Arbeit zusehen durften, gab es noch eine Führung durch das ehemalige Naturschutzgebiet Breeser Grund, vorbei an zauberhaften 500 Jahre alten Eichen.  

 

Raymond und Paul bereiten sich auf ihren Einsatz auf dem Harvester vor!
Dr. Teutenberg vom Kuratorium für Waldarbeit und Forsttechnik hat unseren Waldtag mit ihrem Fachwissen begleitet.

Demonstration in Berlin

26th of November

"FARMING

      noun: [farm-ing]

The art of losing money, while working 400 hours per month to feed people, who think you are trying to kill them."

Joseph Wandera - November 2019

Joseph stays at a farm in North Rhine-Westphalia - it is a mixed farm with crop production, pig fattening and a biogas plant

Attending the carnival with my host family for cultural integration purposes, but also to learn about german traditions.

The exchange program came in at the time, when most of the field preparatory activities for the next season – like ploughing, sowing, etc. – were almost done. At the farm, most of the field machines, like the combine, tractors, planters, transporters, harrows among others, were being cleaned for parking for the winter period. However, some of the machines that are needed for the daily activities are still available and at disposal for me to use, like the telescope ladder, transporter and tractors.

Most of the days, I work with the family members and the activities at the farm vary according to the needs. Some activities are the same every day, others need to be done periodically.

On a typical day at the farm, we work for close to eight hours and the day starts at 07:30 with breakfast and at exactly 8 o'clock, with the inspection of the pig stables. This involves monitoring the physical fitness of the pigs, whether there are signs of a disease.

We check if pigs are injured in one way or the other, but we also most importantly look at the feeding, watering and temperature control systems to ensure, that they are functional and are in the right settings to provide a suitable environment for the pigs to grow well. All the above work is done for a period of maximum 2 hours and at 10 o'clock we move to the biogas plant section.

 

 

There we use the telescope ladder to take the maize silage from the silos and we feed the biogas system. We check the control system to ensure that it is running normal with the right temperatures needed in the fermenters for the bacteria to breakdown the material into methane gas that is needed to run the engine that converts the gas into electric current.

All the above two activities are done on a daily basis in the morning and in the evening between 8 and 11 o'clock and 16 to 18 o'clock respectively.

The rest of the day, a number of activities are tabled and some of these really require waking up very early in the morning at 5 o'clock, especially when it is time to sell the picks to the slaughter house.

 

 

In addition, the stables, where the pigs have been staying and which are empty because they were taken to slaughter, need to be repaired and cleaned so that the next pig batch finds them clean.

Other activities that I engage myself in the host family include visiting various other farms in the area to widen the exposure, collect some feed components from Freckenhorst farmers center, sometimes head to the machinery ring office with the host family's son to have insights on how work is carried out. Once in a while I go with the family's daughter to her school and share insights about farming in the tropics, but also attend exhibitions and finally various events in the area for networking purposes but also cultural integration.