CRD and Its Vision
The Centre for Rural Development (CRD), founded in 2011 as a Ugandan-based non-governmental, non-profit organization, focuses on farm-based training that transfers knowledge and resources to smallholder farmers. Its methodology is entirely participatory: the local communities, themselves, identify their issues and capabilities and help design and implement solutions.
There is an urgent need to intensify and adapt technologies with rural farmers under local conditions to give the communities the knowledge, skills and tools to plan for and manage their future.
Most East African countries are heavily reliant on their agricultural sector for food security and economic prosperity, for example: approximately 85% of Ugandans are “smallholder farmers,” dependent on the land and soil. Farming is the only source of income they have for feeding their children, as well as paying school fees and health care costs.
However, many rural communities lack the infrastructure (water, roads, energy) to achieve sustainable market integration. These rural farmers are isolated and they need access to the knowledge, resources and capital that would enable them to adopt new methods. Additionally, they are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and decreased agricultural productivity—factors that contribute to persistent poverty.
Despite these challenges, the population is young and eager to learn and work, as with Uganda’s smallholder farmers who are considered among the hardest working and most efficient on a per hectare basis. Within their communities, social capital and resiliency are found in the African traditions of self-care and a participatory approach to problem resolution.
THE VISION of CRD is to empower smallholders to create sustainable agricultural and ecological communities through programs that utilize climate-centered methodologies to promote integrated agricultural/land use practices and environmental conservation.
“There is no trade-off between feeding people and saving our planet…. Food security and climate change, humanity’s two greatest challenges in the 21st century, are inextricably linked.” -Kanayo Nwanze, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
Accordingly, CRD seeks to improve agricultural production, diversify the region’s economic base, enhance its unique biodiversity and protect the environment.
In order to directly support our work in East Africa, in 2012 CRD created a US-based non-profit organization (501c3) – The Centre for Rural Development – Africa. This collaboration seeks to cultivate and develop lasting relationships with individuals, corporations and foundations interested in assisting CRD to expand its programs.
Although the opportunities for CRD are endless, the needs of smallholder farms are very real and require the support and generosity from individual. If you wish to be a part of CRD’s exciting and innovative work in East Africa, please contact us to learn more about our work or ways you can contribute.