You will harvest 11,500kg of fresh garlic which, when sold, could fetch sh6,000 per kilogramme
There is a ready market for garlic, both locally and internationally.
Despite our potential, Uganda exports less than 1% of the world's spices, garlic inclusive.
As the market continues to grow, making and selling organic food products will continue to be a viable and attractive economic option for garlic farmers and processors.
The total world market demand for spices is about 50,000 metric tonnes per year, valued at $600m. The largest markets are in the US, the European Union, the UK, Japan and the Middle East.
Ugandan spices are mainly exported to the EU, UK, US and Japan, plus regional countries. Market demand is not fully satisfied, as the spice producing countries, such as India and China, consume a large portion of their own production.
Plant 230kg of garlic seeds in one acre. Each kilogramme of seeds cost sh70,000, which means you will spend sh16.1m per acre for seeds planted in a compact system.
You will harvest 11,500kg of fresh garlic which, when sold, could fetch sh6,000 per kilogramme, earning you a total of sh69m.
Other costs include hiring land at sh200,000, ploughing and harrowing and planting at sh1,000,000.
Harvesting and transportation to the packaging house will cost about sh1,000,000, bringing the total expenditure, including planning, to about sh2.2m. If the farmer includes sh16.1m (the cost of seeds), it all adds up to sh18.3m.
The farmer's net income is about sh40m, if all goes well.
Garlic prefers well-drained, fertile soils with plenty A of organic matter.
In Uganda, we have two seasons of garlic farming, February/March planting and harvesting in July/August. The other is September/ October planting, harvest in January/February.
The plant tolerates a wide pH range, but prefers slightly acidic soils, ranging in (6.2-6.8).
Break apart garlic cloves from the bulb a few days before planting, but keep the papery husk on each individual clove.
Plant each clove 2.5cm below the surface, with the pointed end facing up so that the bulb sits just below the soil surface.
Plant each clove 10cm (four inches) apart and in rows 30cm (12 inches) apart.
Water every three-five days during bulbing. Garlic requires adequate levels of nitrogen, therefore, fertilise, especially if you see yellowing of leaves.
Watch out for white rot. It is the fungus that may attack garlic during cool weather. Not much can be done to control or prevent the problem, except rotating your crops and cleaning up the area after harvesting.
Harvest time depends on when you plant, but the clue would be to look out for yellow tops.
When harvesting, carefully lift the bulbs with a spade or a garden fork.
Pull the plants carefully, brush off the soil and let them cure in an airy, shady spot for two weeks. Hang them upside down on a string in bunches of four-six. Make sure all sides get good air circulation.
The bulbs are cured and ready to store when their wrappers are dry and papery and the roots are dry. At this point, the cloves should be easy to crack and the root crown is hard.
Compiled by Joshua Kato (editor Harvest Money) and Frank Muhumuza (owner of Fort Garlic Farm).