Many people when they retire, they lose the zeal to engage in anything developmental. They only eat and relax at home. But, Justine Bugembe is not the type of person. A former teacher, she has put her energies to farming which she says brings her far greater satisfaction and joy than she had ever imagined.
â€œWhen I started farming, I did not think that I would come this far. My husband and I thought we would only grow a few crops that we needed for the home, but that changed, eight years ago,â€ she reminisces.
An extra help came in form of her late daughter-in law, Winnie Makumbi. She paid for her studies in farming at Busese in Masaka in 2000. The late Makumbiâ€™s physical involvement in the farm put it to another level. Bugembe says her farm is now a model that everyone in the area refers and comes to, to study modern farming methods.
Teaching women how to grow certain crops and rare animals has kept Bugembe in her line of teaching.
â€œI share with them the modern forms of farming, that way I am still teaching.â€
â€œBefore enrolling in farming institute methods, I used rudimentary methods. Today, the farm has improved, the plants and animals increased and diversified,â€ says Bugembe, a farmer who has almost everything one can find on a large farm, on her five-acre piece of land in Maya along Masaka road.
â€œOur concept is that if we cannot have more acres of land, where we can grow everything we need, we can have a bit of everything on the land that we have.â€
From hybrid goats, cows, pigs to a variety of crops, the farmer is an envy of many. Each unit supplements the other. Nothing goes to waste on this farm, she adds. What is considered as waste material from the animals unit, is manure for the plants. And at the same time, what is got from the garden is fed to the animals.
For instance, the pigs and goats feed on the bark mutuba tree (barkcloth tree), moringa, avocado and coriander leaves. When they excrete, the excreta is a high source of plant nutrients while their urine is applied to plants as treatment for pests and weevils. Goat urine is stored for two weeks before application. Reason, if applied directly, it dries the plants.
However, as a caution, Bugembe says the best way to apply animal urine to crops is to ensure that you spray it around the root area and not the plant base or stem.
â€œHaving the urine around the root area helps them to absorb it faster and take it up in the system, so that the pests are fought right from inside,â€ she says.
My 5-acre model farm