Farming God's Way [Uganda]

Empinga ya Ruhanga

technologies_719 - Uganda

Completeness: 90%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:

Tibenderana Philip

Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Book project: where people and their land are safer - A Compendium of Good Practices in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) (where people and their land are safer) {'additional_translations': {}, 'value': 947, 'label': 'Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)', 'text': 'Tear Fund Switzerland (Tear Fund Switzerland) - Switzerland', 'template': 'raw'}

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Declaration on sustainability of the described Technology

Is the Technology described here problematic with regard to land degradation, so that it cannot be declared a sustainable land management technology?



So far, where this technology has been applied, soil erosion has been reduced and crop yields have increased

1.5 Reference to Questionnaire(s) on SLM Approaches (documented using WOCAT)

Catchment Based Integrated Water Resources Management

Catchment Based Integrated Water Resources Management [Uganda]

Catchment based integrated water resources management is a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximise economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital eco systems

  • Compiler: Philip Tibenderana

2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Farming Gods Way is a method of farming which aims to preserve soil structure through minimum tillage, mulching with grass or plant stalks and use of organic manure for improved crop yields.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


The technology is applied in already existing farmlands, which are individually owned and land users are practicing conventional/traditional farming methods. An average farm size is less than half an acre.

It is built on the fact that when God created the first garden, it was a highly productive rainforest which was in need of nothing. The forest was capable of succeeding even in drought years and never slowed or lost its productivity. The trees never lost their leaves or wilt. They keep on producing flowers, fruits and seeds and are able to carry vast numbers and diversity of animal species. God put mechanisms in place which would allow the fauna, flora and soil to co-exist, with high levels of productivity, no environmental degradation, little or no erosion and a high buffering ability to withstand all the negative parameters of the harsh climate. Therefore, this technology helps to maintain soil structure and texture increasing its ability for water retention and soil fertility, thus increasing crop yields.

The major activities needed to establish the technology include; awareness creation and training land users on the technology, setting up demonstration gardens, identification of contact farmers, supporting them to establish demonstration gardens in the community and follow up support to the implementing farmers.

What the land users dislike about this technology is that it involves a lot of measurements and record keeping, which they are not used to, the mulching material is not readily available and the mulch harbors rodents.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment



Region/ State/ Province:

South Western Region

Further specification of location:

Rubaya, Rwamucucu and Kyanamira Sub Counties, Kabale District

Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • evenly spread over an area

rotational systems (crop rotation, fallows, shifting cultivation)
minimal soil disturbance
integrated soil fertility management

2.6 Date of implementation

Indicate year of implementation:


2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through projects/ external interventions
Comments (type of project, etc.):

The technology was introduced under the Integrated Water Resources Management Project to support farmers to mazimise land productivity

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • improve production
  • reduce, prevent, restore land degradation
  • conserve ecosystem
  • reduce risk of disasters
  • adapt to climate change/ extremes and its impacts
  • create beneficial economic impact
  • create beneficial social impact

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied



  • Annual cropping
  • Perennial (non-woody) cropping
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 2

September to January and March to June

3.4 Water supply

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • rainfed

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • rotational systems (crop rotation, fallows, shifting cultivation)
  • minimal soil disturbance
  • integrated soil fertility management

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

agronomic measures

agronomic measures

  • A2: Organic matter/ soil fertility
  • A3: Soil surface treatment
management measures

management measures

  • M4: Major change in timing of activities

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

chemical soil deterioration

chemical soil deterioration

  • Cn: fertility decline and reduced organic matter content (not caused by erosion)
physical soil deterioration

physical soil deterioration

  • Pc: compaction
biological degradation

biological degradation

  • Bc: reduction of vegetation cover
  • Bf: detrimental effects of fires
  • Bl: loss of soil life

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • reduce land degradation

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

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Grant Dryden



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Grant Dryden



4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

Specify how costs and inputs were calculated:
  • per Technology area
Indicate size and area unit:


Specify currency used for cost calculations:
  • USD
If relevant, indicate exchange rate from USD to local currency (e.g. 1 USD = 79.9 Brazilian Real): 1 USD =:


Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:

USD 2.12

4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. Making of compost manure After harvest of crops
2. Clearing the land (removing above ground vegetation) Before onset of rains
3. Shaving the land (skinning of vegetative cover) Before the onset of rains
4. Seed selection Before the onset of rains
5. Gathering mulch material Before the onset of rains
6. Setting out (measuring, making planting stations, adding ash and manure) Before the onset of rains
7. Application of mulch Before the onset of rains
8. Planting Onset of rains
9. Thinning, staking, gap filling, top dressings 3 weeks after planting
10. Spraying herbicides Weekly
11. Harvesting and storing From 90 days onwards

4.4 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Making compost, clearing, shaving, seed selection, gathering mulch person days 91.0 2.12 192.92 100.0
Labour Setting out, applying mulch, planting, thinning, staking gap filling, spraying, harvesting and storing person days 61.0 2.12 129.32 100.0
Equipment Tools set (hoe, terrain rope, pliers, measuring tape, spade, garden fork, panga) acre 1.0 2.952 2.95
Equipment Spraying pump (1 over 20 acres) pieces 0.05 27.27 1.36
Equipment Wheel barrow (1 over 20 acres) pieces 0.05 36.36 1.82
Equipment Watering can (1 over 5 acres) pieces 0.2 3.03 0.61
Plant material Seed kg 30.0 1.06 31.8 100.0
Plant material Stakes (200 bundles used 2 times) bundles 100.0 0.76 76.0 100.0
Plant material Mulch trips 10.0 30.3 303.0 100.0
Fertilizers and biocides Pesticides litres 0.1 6.06 0.61 100.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 740.39
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 0.22
If land user bore less than 100% of costs, indicate who covered the remaining costs:

Kigezi Diocese Water and Sanitation Programme


Land users can provide labour and seed but they need to be supported with tools, equipment and technical knowledge

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. Removing weeds after harvest as land users wait for next planting season After harvest

4.6 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Removing weeds days 1.0 2.12 2.12 100.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 2.12

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

The most significant cost in this technology is mulch. In cases where land is very fragmented, it is inaccessible by road and all materials have to be carried to site which increases the costs of labour

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Specifications/ comments on rainfall:

Bi-modal rainfall pattern with long rainy season from September to December then March to May

Indicate the name of the reference meteorological station considered:

Kabale District Meterological Department

Agro-climatic zone
  • sub-humid

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.
Indicate if the Technology is specifically applied in:
  • not relevant

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Soil texture (> 20 cm below surface):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • medium (1-3%)

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

> 50 m

Availability of surface water:


Water quality (untreated):

poor drinking water (treatment required)

Is water salinity a problem?


Is flooding of the area occurring?




5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • medium
Habitat diversity:
  • medium

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Sedentary or nomadic:
  • Sedentary
Market orientation of production system:
  • subsistence (self-supply)
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial)
Off-farm income:
  • less than 10% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • poor
Individuals or groups:
  • individual/ household
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
  • women
  • men
Age of land users:
  • youth
  • middle-aged

5.7 Average area of land used by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • small-scale

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • individual, not titled
Land use rights:
  • individual
Water use rights:
  • communal (organized)

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


crop production

Comments/ specify:

Methods used increase soil fertility

crop quality

Comments/ specify:

One of the FGW is ‘to high standards’

risk of production failure

Comments/ specify:

Practicing ‘on time’ reduces this risk

product diversity

Comments/ specify:

FGW promotes crop rotation

production area

Comments/ specify:

Previously unused land can be put to use

land management

Comments/ specify:

Mulching and minimum tillage improve soil structure

Income and costs

expenses on agricultural inputs

Comments/ specify:

Need for epuipment

farm income

Comments/ specify:

More than doubles the traditional income

diversity of income sources

Comments/ specify:

Use of livestock to provide manure


Comments/ specify:

Minimum tillage and with thick mulch, labour on weeding is reduced

Socio-cultural impacts

food security/ self-sufficiency

Comments/ specify:

Increases yields by more than twice the traditional way

cultural opportunities

Comments/ specify:

One of the biblical keys is ‘taking tithe and offering’

SLM/ land degradation knowledge

Comments/ specify:

Awareness on causes and solutions of land degradation has been created

Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

surface runoff

Comments/ specify:

Mulching reduces rain drop hammer effect on soil

groundwater table/ aquifer

Comments/ specify:

Minimum tillage improves soil structure


Comments/ specify:

Mulching reduces runoff and evaporation


soil moisture

Comments/ specify:

Mulching preserves soil moisture

soil cover

Comments/ specify:

Covered by mulch

soil loss

Comments/ specify:

Because of mulch and minimum tillage

soil accumulation

Comments/ specify:

Decomposed mulch eventually becomes part of the soil material

soil crusting/ sealing

Comments/ specify:

Mulch reduces this

soil compaction

Comments/ specify:

Minimum tillage and mulch improves soil structure

nutrient cycling/ recharge

Comments/ specify:

Mulch becomes soil nutrient and reduces leaching

soil organic matter/ below ground C

Comments/ specify:

By use of manure

Biodiversity: vegetation, animals

beneficial species

Comments/ specify:

Mulching and minimum tillage increases soil organisms

pest/ disease control

Comments/ specify:

Crop rotation breaks the pest cycle

6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

downstream flooding

Comments/ specify:

Mulching increases soil percolation

downstream siltation

Comments/ specify:

Mulching reduces soil erosion

6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Gradual climate change

Gradual climate change
Season increase or decrease How does the Technology cope with it?
annual temperature increase not known
seasonal temperature wet/ rainy season increase not known
seasonal temperature dry season increase not known
annual rainfall decrease moderately
seasonal rainfall wet/ rainy season decrease well
seasonal rainfall dry season decrease well

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Meteorological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
local rainstorm well
local thunderstorm well
local hailstorm well
Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
land fire well
Hydrological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
general (river) flood very well
flash flood very well
landslide well
Biological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
epidemic diseases moderately
insect/ worm infestation well

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:


Long-term returns:

very positive

How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:


Long-term returns:

very positive


The adoption rate of this technology is gradual as people keep appreciating the benefits

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

  • single cases/ experimental
If available, quantify (no. of households and/ or area covered):

60 land users are currently practicing the technology (Rubaya 20, Buranga 15, Kagarama 10, Kigata 15)

Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 11-50%

6.6 Adaptation

Has the Technology been modified recently to adapt to changing conditions?


6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
1) The technology has greatly improved crop yields . For example one farmer used to harvest 10kg of beans after planting 1.5kg. but with this technology he harvests over 50kg
2) When the land is mulched you spend less labour on weeding
3) Less seed is used because measurements are used during planting
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
1) This technology helps improve soil structure, leading to improved soil fertility and hence improved crop yields
2) With minimum tillage and minimum weeding, less labour is required by land users

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
1) The technology requires a lot of mulch which is not easy to get Land users are encouraged to use the previous harvest as mulch
2) Land fragmentation increases costs of labour
3) This technology attracts thieves because the garden stands out in terms of crop quality Land users have developed by-laws to deal with such cases
4) Mulch attracts rodents which later destroy crops
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
1) Land users feel that this technology is tiresome and time consuming mainly due to taking measurements and collection of mulch. This has affected the uptake of the technology Learning from the success of those which have implemented, gradually land users attitude will change

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users
  • interviews with SLM specialists/ experts
  • compilation from reports and other existing documentation
When were the data compiled (in the field)?


7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Kigezi Diocese Water and Sanitation Programme, Annual Report (April 2015 - March 2016)

Available from where? Costs?

7.3 Links to relevant online information

Title/ description:

Farming Gods Way


Links and modules

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