I grew up seeing one of our neighbors looking for food in other people’s gardens and I did not like the experience, I made my personal decision at the age of 10 that I must have my food for my family in future.
These are the words of Mary Kisembo, a resident of Butaaha village, Kyamutaasa Parish in Nyatungo sub-county in Kyenjojo district.
Kisembo is of the prominent farmers with more 4acres of land and she is a farmer having zero grazing cattles and local breads, cross goats from her farm. She is also engaged in cotton farming as one ways of earning an income.
Kisembo 54, started the war of fighting hunger in 1974 and started farming and stocking beans, cassava, yams, millet, ground nuts, sweet potatoes and bananas.
Kisembo, a mother of 11, formed a group called Butaha Tweyimukye Women Group and introduced craft making to the group members after realizing that most women were not in engaged in food production because they lacked seeds.
The group makes local blooms, mats, baskets among others and other have choose to open small shops in order to increase on their household income.
The group also initiated digging in groups for three days in week and has the rest of the days do family projects.
“The group sells crafts and buy seeds, we are digging in group so that we can all get food for our families and get surplus for selling to women can be economically empowered,” Kisembo who is also the chairperson of the group said.
The group saves sh 1,000 every Sunday to help them buy household property, pay school fees for their children and support their husbands in developing other family projects.
“We save the money and borrow it to group members and our main aim was to make it easy for pour members have access to financial support without going through the stress from commercial banks,” She adds.
A primary five dropout, Kisembo, has two cows for zero grazing and keeps local cows for beef. Her cows give her 40 litters of milk, and the local one gives her 10 litters of milk.
she is also a leader in her church an heads all the association in the church like Ihe rya Bikira Maria, Yuda Tadeo among others.
She sold her cassava and brought pigs to increase on her income and she has accumulated money to s construct a permanent house for her family.
Annet Kyaligaba, one of the group members says that , Kisembo taught them the importance of storing food, and she has two grannies in her home where she keeps her food for a long time.
“ She is our mentor and she often tells us to plan ahead to avoid famine in our homes,” Kyaligaba says.
After seeing her neighbors in her early days, Kisembo made up her minds to have food to protect her family from suffering because of hunger. This was a starting to spearhead the war of fighting famine and sensitizing people about food security.
Getting money from her produce was also one of the motivations for Kisembo to have produced more food.
“Having enough food for my family is a driving force to engage to engage in food production, preservation and sharing knowledge with other people to win the war,” she says.
Kisembo also says that the fertile soil also gives her courage to continue her farming activities.
“We are blessed with a good weather and fertile soil, I take advantage of this God given gift to us and produce more food,” she adds.
Kisembo says that she gets a heart break, when she sees women not minding about food for their family.
“I get hurt seeing women buying food from markets yet they have the hands to have their food. It is high time to change the way we are thinking about food storage and we get out of our confortable zone and dig,” she adds.