The Trellis Fund’s relationship with Eco-Agric Uganda began in 2010, after the organization submitted a project proposal for Trellis Fund consideration. The proposal “Promotion and expansion of organic tomato growing in Kira Town Council, Wakiso District, Uganda” was selected for funding, and we were paired with Gina Garland, a UC Davis master’s student studying horticulture and agronomy, to help farmers improve tomato production, fight tomato bacterial wilt and tomato blight, and establish 20 tomato nurseries. Eco-Agric recruited 258 farmers to participate, exceeding its promise of 175 participants.
The relationship between Eco-Agric and the Trellis Fund continued the next year when they were selected for funding again, a rare occurrence. The second proposal, “Promoting orange-fleshed sweet potato for improved livelihoods in Hoima district,” aimed to improve smallholder incomes and nutrition by training farmers on the production of orange-fleshed sweet potato through farmer field schools.
Eco-Agric Uganda equipped 296 farmers — 228 of which were women — with production skills for orange-flesh sweet potato such as seed selection, field preparation, and integrated pest management. In the final report for this second project, Eco-Agric Uganda credits the Trellis Fund with expanding its network by linking them with staff and students at the University of California. They also credited A.J. Campbell for enhancing the capacity of their extension staff.
The Trellis Fund also furthered its relationship with Eco-Agric Uganda that year, when Elana Peach-Fine and Peter Shapland, who were then managing the Trellis Fund, visited with the organization on a trip to Uganda for other Horticulture Innovation Lab work. They met Eco-Agric staff and traveled to project sites to observe progress and meet participants.
Today, Eco-Agric Uganda reports it has grown exponentially since 2010: “The Trellis Fund was the very first external donor to Environmental Conservation and Agricultural Enhancement Uganda (Eco-Agric Uganda). But now, the organization since then has partnerships with many donors like: the Vibrant Village Foundation, Quaker Services Australia, USAID, Catholic Relief Services, Civil Society Fund, WWF/UNDP, Agri Business Initiative Trust, the Marr-Munning Trust and many other local donors from Uganda.”