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RWABUHENDA EARNS SH82M FROM 500 ACRES HE INHERITED

By Vision Reporter

Added 1st July 2009 03:00 AM

FOR Kezekia Rwabuhenda, a farmer in Kanyabihara village in Nyabushozi sub-county, Kiruhura district, making ends meet has never been hard.

FOR Kezekia Rwabuhenda, a farmer in Kanyabihara village in Nyabushozi sub-county, Kiruhura district, making ends meet has never been hard.

BY IBRAHIM KASITA

FOR Kezekia Rwabuhenda, a farmer in Kanyabihara village in Nyabushozi sub-county, Kiruhura district, making ends meet has never been hard.

“Mbwenu mwana wangye nkugambire ki? Tinkagyiraga ennaku yonna aha bwokuba ebi ebintu nkabishangaho. Tata aka bindaga nanye byantugisa,” he says meaning (What should I tell you my son? I don’t know poverty. I inherited this wealth and I have managed to sustain it).

Rwabuhenda says although he did not go to school, he mastered better ways of producing quality animals, which have helped him increase income and improve his family’s living conditions.

“I inherited a huge chunk of land and started grazing local cattle. In 1972, I started commercial farming. It involved buying and selling cattle,” he says.

“I kept cross-breeding the Fresian bulls with the indigenous cows. This improved the quantity of milk and quality of animals.”

Rwabuhenda says he dedicated his life to livestock farming because: “I knew there was and is always increasing demand for meat, milk and livestock products arising from population increases due to greater urbanisation and income growth.

My aim was to earn income from livestock rather than producing for home consumption. For me, owning livestock is not only about having assets but also having social recognition and being culturally anchored.”

Rwabuhenda says he has more than over 1,000 litres of milk per day.

“If a litre of milk is sold at sh200, this means I earn sh200,000 daily. So for a month and a year, you can calculate for yourself,” he advises.

This means that every month, he earns sh6m, while annually, he gets sh72m.

“On top of that, I can sell about 20 healthy heads of cattle each at an average of sh500,000,” Rwabuhenda adds.

This means that he gets an average of sh10m annually from cattle sales, bringing his annual gross earnings to sh82m.

On average, he spends sh24m per year on payment of herdsmen, matooke garden attendants, housekeeper, treatment of animals and transporting milk and matooke to the market.

He says his net profit at the end of the year is sh58m.

“I have managed to educate all my children. Now, I’m educating my grandchildren,” he boasts.

“Currently, I am doing final touches on my state-of-the-art house, which I expect to complete by the end of this year.”

Rwabuheda has a pick-up truck that transports milk to the nearby milk cooling centre. He also owns over 1,000 acres of land, which have a dam to provide water for his animals. He also has goats but does not remember their number.

He says because of his achievements, President Yoweri Museveni was impressed by the achievement.

Like other commercial milk producers, he faces the challenges of market access and market conditions.

“Since milk gets spoilt quickly and we cannot expose ourselves to risks, we should have reliable transportation, pricing information and customers,” Rwabuhenda says.

“We are facing the problem of poor infrastructure like roads. This hinders efficient transportation of our produce from the farm to the marketplace.”

He says if small-holder farmers are to have opportunities to produce for the market, infrastructure like roads, communication and financial services will all have to be improved.

Farmers, he said, lack quality premium at the farmgate and are exposed to price risks with no hedging instruments.

They are often underpaid by unscrupulous traders resulting into low farm household incomes and perpetual poverty.

Rwabuhenda says farmers are more likely to profit from the livestock revolution if they cooperate in groups. He says the organisations will enable them have larger and more regular quantities of products on the market, while improving product quality.

FACT FILE
Name: Rwabuhenda Kezekia
Farm location: Kanyabihara, Nyabushozi, Kiruhura district
Farm size: Over 500 acres
Enterprises: Livestock farming
How he started: On subsistance scale
How he markets: On the farm and nearby trading centres
Winning formula: Learning endlessly and flexibility in approach

Contact: 0782920332

RWABUHENDA EARNS SH82M FROM 500 ACRES HE INHERITED

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