HE had qualified to enroll for a Grade Two teaching certificate , but his dream was cut short before he stepped into class. Although the course was free, he had to pay an entry fee of sh100. When the young David Kawawa could not raise the money, he was se
HE had qualified to enroll for a Grade Two teaching certificate , but his dream was cut short before he stepped into class.
Although the course was free, he had to pay an entry fee of sh100. When the young David Kawawa could not raise the money, he was sent back home. â€œI was sent away and had to find means of carrying a mattress and a suitcase which were my only belongings,â€ Kawawa says.
That was the last time he harboured ambitions of becoming successful through looking at blackboards.
Today, Canon David Kawawa is one of the most successful farmers in his home village in Ruhinda sub-county, Rukungiri district. He earns an annual turnover of about sh170m.
Kawawa was born in 1944. He studied at Kashenyi Primary School before joining Kinyasano Junior Secondary school where he completed P.8. He had passed to enroll for a Grade Two Certificate at Bishop Stuart Kakooba (now a university), but when he was admitted, he failed to pay the entrance fee.
With the future very uncertain, the young Kawawa retreated to his home village in Rukungiri. He then started a workshop crafting wooden stools, cutlery and beds. By 1960, he was also making beds from papyrus reeds. In 1961, he got a job as a quarter master at Kinyasano Junior Secondary School in Rukungiri. He later served in the same position at Makobore High School between 1966 and 1971. But with all this, he never found a cutting edge until he ventured into farming.
In 1982, he decided to venture into farming. But he did not have enough capital to start off big. â€œI got a hoe and started digging with my wife, Alice. That is how we started off,â€ Kawawa reminisces.
The money he made from his previous business did not do much. The Kawawas started off with matooke, beans and potatoes. After the first harvest, they used the proceeds to buy two cows, five goats and two sheep.
â€œI was doing all this on the land I inherited from my father,â€ Kawawa recounts. But Kawawa continued buying more land using proceeds from sales of goats and cattle. He now owns over 250 acres of land. He has over 50,000 trees and owns eight acres of a banana plantation. He has 50 pigs, 70 goats and 40 heads-of-cattle. On the same land, he has five fish ponds which bring in over sh160m annually.
â€œFish farming is the most profitable business,â€ Kawawa says, as he shows me around the ponds situated near his home. The major problem is snakes, but he advises fish farmers to plant tobacco around the ponds to repel the snakes.
His land is fertile. In a month, he sells 200 bunches of matooke at sh5,000 each. From his beehives, he earns about sh300,000 per annum. From goat sales, he earns over sh5m per year; while from pigs, he fetches sh2m annually.
He sells about 40 litres of milk everyday at sh300 each. From his tree plantations, he cuts about 150 trees for timber, selling a piece at about sh2,000. In a year, he earns about sh1m from timber alone. Every six months he sells about 30,000 fish at sh2,000 each, making about sh60m.
Kawawa has also created employment for the people in his community. He employs 10 people and pays each sh40, 000. Kawawa sells most of his products locally, but he also has market for his produce, mainly in Kampala. But Kawawa says it has not been a rosy journey.
Despite the success, he has encountered several challenges. â€œFeeding pigs is a nightmare,â€ he says, as he tries to put yam leaves into the pigsâ€™ feeding trough.
He says pigs cannot get satisfied, so one has to decide what is enough for them. To address the food problem, Kawawa makes his own animal feeds. He mixes blood, soy bean flour, cassava flour and sunflower flour to get his feeds for fish.
When President Yoweri Museveni visited his farm last year, he promised to give him a saw mill to increase the capacity of the feeds so that other farmers could also benefit. Museveni also gave him a truck worth sh15m.
Although his farm is not fragmented, it takes about three hours both on foot and in a car to visit some of the projects. But ideally, it takes him the entire day to inspect his projects.
Kawawa has also ventured into fruit growing on a small-scale. He grows mangoes, oranges, guavas and paw paws.
From farming, he has been able to pay school fees for his eight children, eight relatives and other dependants.
Some of the beneficiaries are not even related to him, but have adopted his name in appreciation of raising them and paying their school fees. There is a saying that behind every successful man is a woman. And behind Kawawa is Alice who married him when he had nothing. â€œWe struggled together. When he went to study, he left me with the children and I had to do petty businesses to look after them,â€ Alice says.
â€œEverything we have today is because we toiled and worked together,â€ she adds. And the hard work has paid off. They walked down the aisle with Alice in 1966.
Looking at the small iron-roofed mud-and-wattle house in which they lived, one can tell where the Kawawas are coming from. But today, they live in a permanent house with a garage and tiled floor. They have kept their old house, insisting it is what made everything they own and are putting up another one which will be the visitorâ€™s house.
Name: Canon David Kawawa
Location of farm: Ruhinda sub-county in Rukungiri district
Enterprises: Fish farming, trees, bananas, fruits, goats, cows and pigs as well as commercial buildings in Rukungiri town.
How they started: Kawawa and his wife Alice started together with matooke, beans and potatoes. After the first harvest, they used the proceeds to buy two cows, five goats and two sheep.
Estimated earnings per year: sh170m
Contact phone number: 0752100134
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Kawawa dropped out of school over sh100, now makes sh170m