By Ronald Kalyango
NICHOLAS Nabaasa is 29 years old but his agricultural practices might be mistaken to be that for a 50-year-old. He started that farming in August this year but within a period of three months, the future looks brighter.
Within three months, he has managed to set up a nice looking piggery, goats and poultry units on half an acre of land. The units are full of pigs, goats and chicks.
He also boasts of a cassava garden mixed with maize, tomatoes, egg plants, beans, cabbages and onions, all on one-and-half acres of land in Kiira town council.
After graduating in 2003, he decided to pursue his teaching career at one of the schools in Entebbe. He taught economics and Christian religious education for two years and his monthly payment was supposed to be 150,000.
â€œI was paid for some months but I decided to quit when we spent four months without any payment,â€ explained Nabaasa as he took me around his farm.
When he left teaching, he proceeded to Rukungiri to stay with his father.
â€œI sat at home but as a graduate, I felt like my father had wasted his money to take me to school. I pondered on what I could do to keep me busy, so I decided to travel back to Kampala to do farming,â€ said Nabaasa.
He said when he returned to his uncle -Ludovic Kamugisha; they brainstormed on how he could utilise his two acres of land for agricultural production. The land is located in Kitikifumba village, 12km from Ntinda.
Nabaasa says he had saved sh370,000, while still at the school so this is the money he used to start a poultry unit of 200 broiler birds.
He bought the 200 chicks and feeds at sh350,000 and used the balance to construct a simple housing unit.
But later on, he realised that he needed more financial support to buy more feeds and drugs. Kamugisha offered him sh500,000.
He said after the investment, he managed to raise all the birds and after eight weeks, he sold them off at sh5,500 each.
â€œWhen God is on your side, it is very easy to survive all the hazards associated with farming,â€ said Nabaasa.
He said when he earned sh1.1m from the sale of the birds, he thought of refunding the sh500,000 he had acquired from his uncle but the uncle advised him to re-invest the money for more returns.
The following month, he bought 300 broilers and with further support from the uncle, he managed to construct piggery and goats units.
All these sit on a quarter an acre of land. The remaining land is planted with vegetables, maize, cassava, beans and tomatoes.
Kamugisha also supported him with funds to acquire 15 female and five male pigs. And after one month, eight pigs gave birth to 10 piglets each. This means that in just two months, he had a total of 100 pigs.
Nabaasa later sold off the 80 piglets at sh70,000 each. He earned sh5.6m from the sales.
Towards the end of October, his other two pigs gave birth to 18 piglets. â€œI am still raising the piglets. I will sale them off after weaning (three months),â€ said Nabaasa.
However, at the beginning of this month, he decided to sell off his four male pigs at sh400,000 each.
Using the proceeds from selling his piglets and the mature pigs, Nabaasa has decided to diversify his activities and add goat keeping.
Nabaasa has so far equipped his unit with 20 local goats and four sheep which he acquired from farmers in Wakiso district.
Nabaasa said he bout the local goats at sh45,000 each and also bought two improved Boer goats at National Crop Resources Research Institute in Namulonge in Wakiso district at sh250,000 each.
â€œI used to earn sh150,000 but today within just three months, I am able to raise a net income of sh2m,â€ said Nabaasa, who is now considered to be a tycoon by his uncle.
He said when he went into poultry, he got some advice from Muva farmers in Kasanga. These gave him the necessary technical advice like vaccination schedules and feeding.
Nabaasa said although he has not yet earned from his vegetables and other food crops, the urine and droppings from the livestock have enabled him to improve on the fertility of the soil.
â€œThe soil was infertile and completely depleted but when I added manure to it, the crops have started to flourish,â€ said Nabaasa.
Asked whether it is possible for farmers to earn a gross income of sh20m annually as advocated for by President Yoweri Museveni, he said sh20m can be earned only when a farmer works hard.
â€œIt is achievable but only if there is hard work and seriousness of the farmers. of course, we should not forget the fact that to succeed in farming, we have to dedicate time in all the agricultural practices,â€ said Nabaasa.
He said in January next year, he will expand his poultry unit to accommodate 1,000 broilers and 200 layers.
â€œI like broilers because they require less investment in terms of feeds. They also take a shorter maturity period,â€ said Nabaasa.
He also said he chose piggery keeping because unlike other livestock animals, pigs eat almost everything including soil.
â€œI feed my pigs on elephant grass, cabbage and yam leaves among others. These are locally sourced, so I donâ€™t find problems in getting the feeds,â€ said Nabaasa.
Name: Nicholas Nabaasa.
Age: 29 years.
Location of the farm: Kira town council.
Enterprises: Piggery, goats, poultry, vegetables, maize and cassava.