Oxen are not new to farmers in Africa. They are a renewable resource within the reach of subsistence farmers, unlike tractors. However, their use is hampered by inefficient traditional yokes and poorly designed field equipment. Traditional yokes cause injuries to the neck's of the oxen and often result in the animals being too exhausted to graze after a few hours of plowing. Oxen Clinic Uganda trains farmers in the building and use of an improved yoke that eliminates these issues. The trainers also increase the knowledge and skills of the farmers in caring for and working with their oxen, the proper adjustment of plows and introduce farmers to other useful field implements like ox-drawn harrows, planters, cultivators (all made locally and suited to local conditions) and ox-drawn carts.
Traditional Yoke and Improved Yoke
Oxen Clinic Uganda was established in 2017, by Boniface Okumu. Boniface has 8 years of experience working as the Country Director for an NGO involved in running Farmer Field Schools to provide training in the use of Oxen for field work, Conservation Agriculture and training skilled artisans to make needed parts for ox yokes. When the NGO left Uganda, Boniface wanted to continue providing help for farmers and to provide work for the skilled trainers. I have known Boniface for 10 years, have worked with him and some of the other trainers on several occasions and can attest to their skills. I even wrote my Graduate thesis on the success of the Farmer Field School’s training for farmers. I found that 93% of the participants were still using the innovations and skills they had learned 2 growing seasons after training.
Students with new ox yokes
As with any new enterprise, business has been slow. There has been a contract to provide training in the DRC and to make some rippers used in conservation agriculture. However, contracts have been lost due to the lack of a demonstration plot and room to train oxen for sale.
Donations will be used to buy 5 or more acres of land near the Oxen Clinic Uganda office and workshop. In addition to the land, funds will go to fencing, a team of oxen to train, a hut for a night watchman, a storage shed and a solar panel.
I will send the funds to Uganda and will keep everyone updated on progress. You can also check out the Oxen Clinic Uganda Facebook page.
Thank you for your help. Janet Ott and Boniface Okumu
Please look at the pictures below to see Oxen Clinic Uganda at work.
Ox-drawn dump cart, water barrel cart, harrows, yokes, and a fodder chopper made for Farmer Field School in DRC
Oxen Clinic Uganda
Building an ox cart in the workshop
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