Manafwa is an agricultural area in eastern Uganda, close to Mbale, Mount Elgon and the Kenyan border. The typical crops here include cabbages, onions, leafy vegetables, mountain banana varieties, coffee and beans. The district was known in the past as being one of the most important centers for biodiversity in the country, but these days this wealth is at serious risk due to the externally forced introduction of commercial breeds of poultry, coffee and banana hybrids as well as maize monocultures.
Launched in 2017, Manafwa is the second Earth Market started by Slow Food Uganda. Its aim is to promote the small-scale farmers who are dedicated to producing traditional and local foods.
The market is directly managed by 21 farmers from the local communities, particularly from Buwasiba and Bukusu Yetana.
Various farmers’ markets had previously been organized thanks to the work of the local Slow Food Youth Network. The Earth Market was then successfully launched in collaboration with the group of farmers involved (mostly women) and with the support of the local authorities.
The organizing committee established a calendar of market days and obtained permission from the District Production Department to create a demonstration food garden run by the Slow Food Youth Network team. Located right next to the market site, this educational garden shows producers and consumers how to grow food following the Slow Food philosophy.
The produce sold by the farmers at the Earth Market comes from family and community plots and includes beans, matooke (cooking bananas), Bogoya bananas (eaten fresh), leafy vegetables, avocados, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, manioc, local bean and corn varieties, local chickens and eggs. Various Ugandan Ark of Taste products can also be found among the stalls: Ndiizi bananas, malewa (bamboo shoots) and Nyasaland coffee.
There is high demand for fresh, natural foods from both regular shoppers and restaurateurs. Producers and consumers also appreciate the opportunity to interact directly, making it easier for everyone to access healthier food at fairer prices compared to those of industrially produced and distributed products.
Square in front of the Manafwa District Headquarters
Second and fourth Wednesday of every month
Earth Market supported by
Intesa Sanpaolo’s “Fund for Charitable Social and Cultural Donations”