Since starting the project in 2016 we have been experimenting in the best ways to achieve our goal of a farm where we close the circle on inputs.
The big questions have always been how best to use byproducts and waste materials, and how to avoid using supplemental fertilisers or pesticides. Some of this is obvious - composting the litter from the chicken houses and using that to fertilise the crops, or mulching instead of spraying.
But there are less obvious, more innovative ideas which we have been working on.
The first has been the production of oyster mushrooms on the waste rice straw from our neighbour's farm. With a couple of additions, this straw makes an ideal substrate for oyster mushrooms: 1kg of soaked straw can produce 500g of mushrooms over four flushes. Once the harvest is over, the spent substrate is composted and returned to the soil.
The second is in its infancy in Uganda but the potential is massive: the production of insect protein using Black Soldier Fly larvae (BSF), Hermetia illucens. Our initial trials at the farm were successful and we have started collecting waste from hotels in Kampala to expand this project. The end results are compost and dried insect protein, which can replace fishmeal in chicken and fish feed. The potential here is enormous!
Opio has worked in Mukono district since he left his village near Soroti, in Eastern Uganda.
He manages the day-to-day operations of the farm with great energy, initiative, and care.
Opio's great interest is in developing the farm's mushroom production.
Gloria is in charge of the laying hens - nothing happens in the hen houses without her knowing about it.
She and Opio have four children: Ruth, Jovia, Opolot and Martha.
John first visited Uganda in 2004 and fell in love with the country immediately.
After having worked in logistics and foodservice in Afghanistan, Liberia, Mali and Cote d'Ivoire, he returned to Uganda to manage farms. In 2016 he set up his own company, Chindit Co. Ltd, which now manages Lutengo Farm.