I have been involved in commercial vegetable production for than 3 years. This is how I started, what I have learned and the challenges.
I am AJALU BRIAN from Ochanga village in Kaberamaido District- Uganda. I started vegetable farming in 2013 with just 0.5 acres of land after realizing that there was scarcity of vegetables in the area. So, I bought vegetable seeds from agro dealers in container village- Kampala where they sell best quality seeds.
My intention was to have enough vegetables for my family and sell the surplus to my neighbors. As time went on, I realized that demand was very high and I could not satisfy the market and then decided to venture into commercial vegetable farming.
My work was to deliver produce to the markets for my mother for sale in various markets in Kaberamaido and what I was earning was very little before I ventured into vegetable production.
One weekend, I was invited my friend back home in Ochanga and I wondered how he was very successful and how he had been going about his work. My friend had half an acre of land all decorated in red and green. What was in his farm was tomatoes (money maker). I saw the farm and knew growing tomatoes was my path to success.
I quit my job of delivering produce for my mother, asked my friend where I could buy the seeds and using the little cash that I had saved, I bought a 50 g tin of ‘Money Maker”. Realizing that I didn’t have enough money, I asked my mother to help me buy seeds after which I would refund her with a profit.
Having tried hard at growing cassava and beans in the past which mostly for home consumption, which didn’t do very well, I decided to buy the vegetable seeds just to make sure that my efforts, this time round, would not fail me. At first, I planted a few seedlings of the tomatoes in a small parcel of land located near a river that my parents gave me.
From the first harvest, I was surprised to earn UgSh20,000. This lifted my spirits and I planted more seedlings.
Currently, I have 1.5 acres of the tomatoes and am preparing two 1.5 acres of land that I bought recently to plant more of this species.
Apart from selling tomato fruits, I also sell seedlings of tomatoes to other farmers and sell fruits at UgSh1000 per kilogramme in Kaberamaido Market. The market is there. In fact I am not able to satisfy demand and this is the reason why am now applying for this grant so that it can help me grow more fields of tomatoes including other vegetables and train other farmers within my community to grow also venture into this lucrative fruit business.
This initiative has played a great role in changing behaviors of many youth who have been indulging themselves in alcohol taking and other drugs due to lack of jobs. Many have even started planting these vegetables. Most farmers are turning to tomato farming as they have seen the proceeds from the sale which gives the farmer enough money to cater for their household needs.
With a fruit processing plant available in the town I am eyeing higher returns as I receive bookings for my tomatoes from traders beyond my district. I am on the path to transforming drunkard youth to useful people in the society which is my greatest achievement.
However, my fears is fruits might be stolen while in the garden and this in most cases have caused me loses. Yet on the other hand I incur a lot of costs related to hiring labor for my work such as planting seedlings, mixing manure, watering as I use tap water for my plants. I normally use a lot of money to pay my water bill and if I can get an alternative, I’ll be able to produce more fruits and hire more people.
How the funds will be utilized
The US$5000 would be a massive boost for the successful establishment of my business.
US$1,160 buying more land and traction machine
US$2100 for a simple irrigation system
US$650 labor investments
US$670 for seeds and chemicals (organic pesticides and fertilizers)
US$780 for a means of transporting my produce
Blogpost and picture submitted by Ajalu Brian (Uganda) – ameri_scovia[at]yahoo.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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