TOP
Thursday,September 24,2020 03:59 AM
  • Home
  • Archive
  • Return to the farm after P.7, my father said

Return to the farm after P.7, my father said

By Vision Reporter

Added 11th March 2009 03:00 AM

What would you do if your father said “After you have completed Primary Seven, come back home to the farm?” You would probably imagine he has gone insane. Many families value education as the key to prosperity.

What would you do if your father said “After you have completed Primary Seven, come back home to the farm?” You would probably imagine he has gone insane. Many families value education as the key to prosperity.

Everyday till the end of this month, 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 Frederick Womakuyu

What would you do if your father said “After you have completed Primary Seven, come back home to the farm?” You would probably imagine he has gone insane. Many families value education as the key to prosperity.

Like the Prophet Ezekiel, a name meaning god will strengthen, Ezekiel Eituno followed his father’s wish and went back to farm after his Primary education. Today, he is earning a fortune but is still skeptical that he would have achieved more had he pursued a higher level of formal education.
Eituno, 45, is a prominent farmer in Dokolo Gwere village in Soroti district. He has citrus fruit, fish, goats and poultry. He has built a house and has sent his children to schools that have a reputation of excellence.

“My father was a perfectionist. He demanded that I wake up early in the morning, wash my face, go to school to learn how to read and write and later join him on the farm,” Eituno says.

In 1979, he followed suit. They cultivated rice, cassava, yams and reared cows and goats. “I worked for food and clothing. We owned 100 head of cattle and by village standards, we were rich.”

However, in 1987 when the Uganda Peoples Army, based in Teso, went to war with the Government, the Karimojong cattle rustlers seized the opportunity and raided the entire family herd.

“Many farmers in Teso lost their wealth to this war. We were reduced to beggars and had nothing to eat. We run for refugee to Soroti town where we lived through poverty, hunger and disease,” Eituno recalls.

After three years in the Internally Displaced Camps, his family, against all odds, decided to go back home. “Returning home was like going into a bush. The huts and crops had been destroyed and we survived on the mangoes that had thrived on the abandoned land.”
By 1991, he had started growing paddy rice. With a meagre sh20,000, he acquired rice seeds and tilled five acres of land.

“I grew rice and got about sh100,000 after selling the harvest. This went on for 10 years and in 2001, National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) came to Dokolo and we responded positively,”

NAADS offered advice and training in a variety of modern farming techniques for different crops. Under a 35-member group called the Dokolo Gwere Farmers Initiative (DGFI), they were taught how to manage a farm enterprise.

“Later that year, we opted for sunflower and maize. However, the output could not sustain us throughout the year,” Eituno says.

In 2002, NAADS re-trained the group after they decided to grow citrus fruit. “We were motivated by the fact that the fruit can be harvested three times a year,” said Peter Otim, a member of DGFI. “We were taught how to establish nursery beds, budding and transferring seedlings for planting,” he adds.

Armed with this knowledge, Eituno started his citrus project. “I established a nursery bed and later transferred about 300 seedlings to the garden. For three years, I prunned, sprayed and weeded the crop,” he says.

In 2005, he got his first harvest. “Out of the 300 trees planted on a three-acre piece of land, I picked five bags of orange fruit. I sold each bag at a minimum price of sh30,000.” By 2006, the yield had increased to 70 bags and to 100 bags by 2007. “I earned sh2.4m in 2006 and sh3m in 2007 by selling to markets in Busia, Malaba, Kampala and Soroti.”

Last year, he harvested 200 bags of fruit and sold each at sh40,000. This earned him sh8m, enabling him to construct a permanent house, take his children to school and develop new projects.

He selected poultry keeping and once again, NAADS came to the rescue. “They taught us how to feed, vaccinate, shelter and breed chicken. They gave us a pure broiler cock and gave me 200 one-day old chicks.” He got about five trays of eggs per day and sold each sh5,000. “When the hens became off-layers, I sold each at sh5,000.”

From the sell of chicken and eggs, he earned sh6m that he later invested in fish farming. “I wanted to have a variety of projects because this increases my income and improves my diet.”

After NAADS had established the demonstration fish pond, the farmers had learnt how to construct one and how to feed the fish. “We started with the first stock of about 200 clarius fish. However, the project was threatened as floods hit Teso in 2007 and washed away the entire pond.”

Eituno harvested the fish that survived the floods and earned sh250,000, after selling each fish at sh1,500.

“NAADS revitalised the project and the floods once again washed away almost everything, leaving only 30 fish. But right now the fish ponds are empty and we are planning to re-stock.”

Disappointed by the fish project, he opted to rear goats. NAADS taught them how to treat, feed, shelter and breed the goats. The group was given an exotic He-goat.
“I bred the first and got 12 cross-breed and sold each kid at sh120,000 and the adult for sh200,000.”

Eitonu earns sh20 million annually. and has ventured into commercial agriculture where he has advanced from using hand-held hoes to mechanical farming.
Recently when President Yoweri Museveni toured Teso region, he paid Eituno a courtesy call and gave him a walking tractor.

Despite the success, Eituno says every project comes with challenges. “The major challenge in Teso region is the prolonged drought. The President promised a community dam and if it is constructed, I will transfer the 30,000 seedlings that are on my nursery to about 20 acres of land,” he adds. “Business is also booming when it comes to seedlings. I sell about 10,000 seedlings annually at sh2,000 each.”

“At first I thought it was difficult for people who have not attained formal education to hold a million shillings. But I am now having millions and the quality of health care in my family has improved. I have eight children, five are in boarding schools and I have purchased a motorcycle.”

Eituno’s dream is to live to witness his eight children attain higher education. He plans to retire to his family shop in Soroti town.

“ I am happy I beat President Yoweri Museveni’s vision. I earn more than sh20m annually.”

If you know of anyone who has made money through an enterprising venture, nominate them for recognition. Write to features@newvision.co.ug or send a fax to 0414232050

FACT FILE

Farm: Dokolo Gwere Farmers Initiative
Location of farm: Dokolo, Gwere village, Soroti
district
Enterprises: Cultivating rice, citrus, fish growing and goat rearing
When and how he started: Started in 1991 with sh20,000
Strong point: Given walking tractor by President Museveni, support from NAADS for each project
Sales record: Sells citrus fruit at sh40,000 per bag, seedlings at sh2,000, tray of eggs at sh5,000, fish at sh1,500, chicken at 5,000 each off-layer, goats at 200,000 each
Contact: +25674455170
------------------------------------------------------------

Goat milk richer than cow milk

By John Kasozi

GOAT milk has an enormous potential. “It contains twice as much vitamin A as cow milk,” says Dr. James Muwanga, who works with Sembabule-Sembeguya estate.

“It contains vitamin A, which is essential for growth in children and prevention of eye defects. The milk contains minimal cholesterol levels which is good for obesity patients and people with high blood pressure,” he adds.

Goat milk is also beneficial to people with stomach ulcers. It is an excellent alternative for people who are allergic to cow milk. The fat and protein in goat milk is easily digested compared to the fat and protein contained in cow milk.

The milk has proved to be very effective for infants of HIV/AIDS positive mothers bacause of its rich nutrients and ease of digestion.

Goat milk is also rich in nutrients such as calcium, amino acid tryptophan, phosphorus and potassium.

Muwanga noted that people especially in the cattle corridor areas have a negative attitude towards goat milk. They only consume goat meat and let the milk go to waste because they prefer on cow milk.

He says Masaka, Mbarara and Mbale districts are the leading consumers of goat milk. Mukono, Jinja and northern regions are gradually picking up.

“The previous research carried out three years ago indicates that people who had a bias towards goat milk had plenty of cow milk,” he says.

An average dairy goat yields 2.5 litres of milk per day.

Dairy breed goats include Toggenbury, German apine, Saanen and crosses with the Galla. These are improved breeds bred for milk production. They produce up to 12 times more milk compared to the local goats.

Muwanga says there are investors who intend to promote dairy goat rearing in the Country. They will establish a plant to process ghee, cheese and yoghurt.

Return to the farm after P.7, my father said

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author