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Kayaayo has made a big fortune out of garlic farming

By Vision Reporter

Added 9th March 2009 03:00 AM

What is meant to be a compound has been turned into an orchard with apple trees, oranges and spinach plants taking the larger part of the land.

What is meant to be a compound has been turned into an orchard with apple trees, oranges and spinach plants taking the larger part of the land.

Everyday for the next few months, The New Vision will run a series of stories on wealth creation role models from all over the country for Ugandans who would like to learn from them to generate wealth from our natural resources

By Bizimungu Kisakye

What is meant to be a compound has been turned into an orchard with apple trees, oranges and spinach plants taking the larger part of the land.

This is the home of Florence Kayaayo, a garlic farmer in Kabarole district.

In 1995 Kayaayo abandoned her job at Busitema National College, Tororo where she worked as a records clerk. This marked the beginning of her life as a farmer in her home area in Kabarole.

In her initial stages as a farmer, relatives and friends did not think she was serious: “How can you abandon your permanent job for this misery called farming?” one of the relatives asked me. However, Kayaayo’s had a different view about farming. She did not, in any way, believe farming was misery.

She settled on the land she had had bought together with her husband at Nyakigumba in Bunyangabu county. On this land was a small banana plantation that became a source of food for the family.

Realising that most people in her village were farmers, Kayaayo started growing Irish potatoes on half an acre.

“But I wanted to be different. I wanted to grow the crops other people did not grow here. I wanted to show those who despised me when I quit my job that farming was, after all, not misery,” she says.

When harvesting time came, Kayaayo was able to sell the Irish potatoes in a nearby market. She earned profits of sh200,000.

“It was after making this profit that I got convinced that farming was a prrofitable venture,” says Kayaayo.

With this encouragement, Kayaayo ventured into garlic growing after seeing other people growing it in the village.

She wanted to do on a large scale. But seeds were not easy to get. She was, however, lucky the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) identified her as a promising farmer. “I sought knowledge and worked hard to improve and make my project more profitable. NAADS gave her the necessary advice.

Early 2002, Kayaayo put another half acre of her land under garlic growing. But she still did not have enough seeds. The first time she planted garlic, she had got 10kg of garlic seeds from her mother-in-law on trial basis.

For her first harvest, Kayaayo got one sack weighing 100kg of garlic. She sold each kilogramme at sh3,000 and got a sh300,000 profit.

“It may sound very little money to some people, but this was good, in the sense that I had invested little in the project. This encouraged me to increase production,” she says.

After that season, she bought a basinful of garlic seeds and planted it. From this, Kayaayo harvested 10 basins, 10 times what she planted!

In 2004, she planted 100kg on one acre and harvested 750kg. She sold a kilogramme at sh3,000 and earned over sh2.25m in profits. “By then I had already decided that garlic was my main crop,” she explains.

Kayaayo employs three workers to prepare the land for planting, do the weeding and harvesting.

Towards the harvesting period, she employs a guard to keep off thieves who often come in the night to steal her produce.

She sells a 100kg bag of garlic at sh350,000. Her customers come from Kabarole and from as far as Kampala.

With the profits she and her husband get, they have been able to put up a permanent house. She also owns a four wheel drive car that she uses to transport her produce.

She has also bought an additional piece of land on which she has planted eucalyptus trees, which she will sell to generate more income.

Because of her progress, Kayaayo has been made the leader of all garlic farmers under Kabarole Garlic Growers Marketing Association.

Garlic is grown in seven sub-counties around the district; Kisomoro, Katebwa, Muguusu, Kichwamba and Ruteete.

To support other garlic farmers, Kayaayo offered some of her land for the construction of two stores for the harvested garlic from other farmers in the district. The stores were built with the support of NAADS, Kabarole district. “I realised that better storage facilities would ensure good quality and better prices,” she says.

After harvesting, all farmers transport their produce to Kayaayo’s home where it is kept in the stores until it is sold.

Besides garlic, Kayaayo grows apples on a small scale under a pilot project by the NAADS. She began growing apples in 2004, with 25 plants from Kabale district where she had gone on an exchange visit programme.

She planted the apples in her compound and after one year, the apples started yielding fruits. The first harvest was miserable, she only got six apples. The next season she got 12 apples, but this did not deter her from growing apples. In 2006, she harvested 200 apples. The most recent harvest was in January 2009, when she harvested 1,000 apples.

Kayaayo sells each apple at sh600, less than the price in grocery stores. With support from NAADS, she has seen some of her apples taken to supermarkets in Kampala for sale.

At her garden she grows varieties of apples that include Swiz Orange, Golden Rosette and Winter Banana.
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Fact file

Name: Florence Kayaayo.

Farm: Nyakigumba Village, Bunyangabu County, Kabarole district.

Farm size: over 10 acres.

Enterprises: Garlic growing, Irish potatos, trees, apples.

First marketing: To traders at nearby market, earning sh200,000 in the process.

Now a member of Kabarole Garlic Growers Association and marketing has improved.
Winning formula: Being focused on her work.

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How to profit from garlic growing in Uganda

By Kikonyogo Ngatya

The agricultural zoning policy has identified garlic, among other spices, as a crop to be promoted for Ugandan farmers to make money.

Other spices include vanilla, chillies, cardamom and ginger.

Garlic, locally known as katunguluchumu, has of late gained importance as a spice in many homes. It is used in many foods such as rice (pilawo). Most hotels, especially those with Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, use a lot of it.

There is a ready market both locally and internationally. But, despite our potential, Uganda exports less than 1% of the world's spices, garlic inclusive, according to the Zonning policy master document.

The total world market demand for spices is about 50,000 metric tonnes per year, valued at $600m.

The largest markets are USA, EU, the UK, Japan and the Middle East. Ugandan spices are mainly exported to EU, UK, USA and Japan. Market demand is not fully satisfied as the spice producing countries like India consume a large portion of their own production.

What a begining farmer should know
-Visit other farmers, especially those in Kabarole who have made money from garlic growing. The knowledge you will acquire is worth the transport costs.

-The NAADS secretariat in Kampala has several literature about garlic growing. Consult them.

-In Kabarole there are NAADS farmers who have established seed multiplication sites. Get the best seeds.

-NAADS has introduced new varieties which can yield better, and provided advisory services. There are several garlic varieties grown by Ugandan farmers. Over 300 varieties of garlic are grown worldwide. One of the most common is the American garlic, with white, papery skin and a strong flavour. The Italian and Mexican garlic have a pinkish-purple skin and a slightly mild flavour.

Many garlic consumers prefer the soft-neck garlic.

Almost all garlic sold in our local supermarkets is the soft neck variety. This is because it is easier to grow and can be kept for a longer period than the hard-neck variety. Soft necks are recognised by the white papery skin and an abundance of cloves, often forming several layers around the central core. The flexible stalk also allows soft-neck garlic to be formed into garlic braids.

Soil requirements
-Garlic grows best on friable (crumbly) loamy soils that are fertile and high in organic matter. Gardeners who can grow onions can grow garlic since the culture is similar.
-Garlic does well with high amounts of fertiliser. Follow soil test recommendations for your particular garden soil.
-The soil must be kept evenly moist as dry soil will cause irregularly shaped bulbs.
-Heavy clay soils will also create misshaped bulbs and make harvesting difficult.
-Add organic matter such as well-rotted manure or compost to the soil on a yearly basis.

Marketing garlic
-The farmers have already consulted St Balikudembe (Owino) and Nakasero markets which are willing to buy the garlic in bulk

-Shoprite Supermarket, AMFRI farm and several embassies in Kampala are willing buyers.

-Currently, garlic is sold locally to traders and other farmers as seed with price ranging from sh1,500 to sh2,000 per kilogramme.

Kayaayo has made a big fortune out of garlic farming

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