Best Ideas 2022 features all the nominated entries submitted under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solutions or propositions for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage.

Irrigation Farming for Sustainable Agriculture

Stage of Idea start-up stage

Explain your idea in details:

Ubora Irrigation Farm is a work in progress. The perceived future is to commercialize my dream to be one of the prominent farmers in Uganda and Africa. The farm is located in Buyuki, Luwero District. I specialize in growing food crops including; irish potatoes, green pepper, maize, beans, among others. I am currently practicing rain-fed agriculture, which has presented numerous challenges due to the abrupt changes in the seasons. In my first year (2020), I incurred a huge loss, which evoked me to think outside the box about possible sustainable solutions to the irrigation issue. The research led me to irrigation farming. I settled for food crops because food is an essential part of everyone's wellbeing. Additionally, these food crops have a short maturing period (3-4 months), facilitating a continuous production process. My vision is to become the leading supplier of food crops in Uganda and East Africa, providing quality and fresh farm produce all year round. The specific objectives include a) to grow food crops in all seasons, b) to provide employment opportunities to young people to contribute to the reduction of the youth unemployment burden in Uganda and c) to inspire young people to embrace agriculture as a source of income. The farm currently employs the crop growth process of planting, weeding, spraying, and harvesting. In the long run, this process will be followed by sorting, packaging/ storage, delivery, acknowledgment of delivery, receipt of payment, reconciliation, and reporting. I intend to install a solar powered irrigation system to facilitate environmental conservation through using solar energy rather than electricity and fossil fuels that could be harmful to the environment. Using solar energy is also more sustainable enhancing business growth.

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Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development

The installation of a solar powered irrigation system will facilitate environmental conservation through using solar energy rather than electricity and fossil fuels that could be harmful to the environment. Using solar energy is also more sustainable enhancing business growth. Additionally, the farm will provide food to the communities in Uganda, East Africa, Africa, and beyond all year round, contributing to enhancing food security in the region and globally. Furthermore, the farm is a source of employment opportunities for young people, contributing to solving the unemployment challenges in Uganda. With the installation of an irrigation system, I hope to increase the sales by 20% in the next three years. The start is still shaky due to dependence on rain-fed agriculture. I am currently incurring losses, but I hope to remedy this condition by practicing irrigation farming. In the short run, I hope to install an irrigation system to provide crops to customers all year round. In the mid-term, I hope to purchase more land for expansion, set up shops in business centres for the produce, and transition into a demonstration farm. In the long run, I hope to reach customers all over East Africa and beyond and to build a food processing factory for value addition to the crops. I conduct the farm activities under the supervision of my mother who is an experienced farmer who has practiced both crop and animal husbandry for over 30 years. She carries a wealth of experience in farming, including farm management, crop seasonality, and customer relations. I am able to measure success with her guidance. Additionally, I have developed a business plan that I am following to roll out the project. I also keep records of all the activities on the farm to track progress, measure success, and lay strategies for improvement.

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Plans for implementation and sustainability

The business structure will be implemented in the mid and long term as the farm develops comprising the following: The farm management team comprising a farm manager and other employees whose role will be to ensure successful completion of the crop growth process, from planting to harvesting. The farm manager will take the lead in all activities carried out at the farm. The farm manager will also act as the cashier for any financial transactions that will happen at the farm, such as selling crops. The transport and logistics department will be responsible for the transportation of produce from the farm to the target market. It will also be tasked with making purchases on behalf of the farm. The delivery of products to customers within and outside Uganda will fall in this department. Deliveries will be made using motorcycles or trucks as deemed fit. The business administration department will be responsible for the day-to-day management of activities in the shops and online marketing platforms and any other business transactions. I intend to use online platforms such as a website, social medial and other online platforms to market the products. I also intend to use the referral system and word of mouth to enhance the marketing strategy. In the long run, I will hire a digital marketing company to run the online platforms and venture into other digital marketing forms. The farm currently runs on proceeds from sales and personal savings. I hope to obtain more funding through grants and investments and one-offs, such as renting out the trucks to whoever needs them. I also desire to transform into a demonstration farm for the government and private entities to whom I shall charge a fee for consultancy services. Ubora irrigation farm is a sole proprietorship.

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Your profile

I am 28 years old and a graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Population Studies from Makerere University. I also hold a Postgraduate Diploma in Project Planning and Management from Uganda Management Institute (UMI). I am currently pursuing a Master of Science (MSc) in Public Health at the University of Suffolk (online). My core strengths include concept formulation, proposal writing, work plan and budget formulation, monitoring and evaluation, data management, excellent writing and oral communication skills, excellent leadership skills, teamwork, innovativeness, resourcefulness, honesty, and integrity. I have over 6 years experience in research, data management, and project planning and management where I have contributed to the successful conduction of various studies and implementation of multiple projects by leveraging my education and skillset to achieve organizational goals and objectives. Specifically, I spearheaded the successful implementation of projects under Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH), Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH), and youth livelihoods while at the Students Support and Philanthropy Program (SSPP) from 2015 to 2019. I currently work with the Uganda National Academy of Sciences (UNAS) as the Assistant Research Officer. Particularly, I provide program support and technical assistance to the team to advance the Academy's science advisory work to the government, citizens, and other stakeholders to facilitate evidence-informed policymaking, fostering national development. I am passionate about farming, specifically irrigation farming to ensure continued crops production all year round. Practicing irrigation farming will enable me to provide food to my customers in all seasons, maximizing profits and enhancing business growth. Focusing on food crops will give me greater bargaining power as most of my competitors focus on cash crops. The produce from the irrigation farm will feed people in both rural and urban areas of Uganda, East Africa, and Africa.

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