The greatest challenges in Africa, and Uganda in particular have always been poverty, ignorance and disease!
This manifests itself in many ways common among them frustrating unemployment and under employment. Rather than simply lament however, here at The Matanda Shrine (TMS), we decided to always share stories of people who are doing something about this, and perhaps inspire the rest of us to do something too. Every Wednesday, we shall have such stories…
We talked to Mr. Lukooya Shaban (LS), a journalist cum small scale passion fruits farmer from Wakiso district. Please read on…
TMS: What project are you engaged in?
LS: Passion fruit farming
TMS: Where did you get the capital to start and how much was it?
LS: I got the capital from savings off my monthly salary;
I did not have a lump sum amount put aside for the project. I used to inject in depending on the available salary surplus after deducting my monthly expenses.
TMS: Besides the capital, what other resources does one need to start?
LS: One needs land, Labour and technical knowhow.
TMS: How profitable is the project? [Talk in terms of prices, land size season or duration and net profit)
LS: I planted two acres of Passion fruits. The breed I planted takes one year to go to the market and an acre is projected to give an average of 10 bags per week for three months which fetches the lowest farm gate price of 100,000 shs for a season and the highest of 300,000 shs off season.
LS: Agriculture in Uganda is labour intensive therefore finding a committed labour force is a challenge. Fake pesticides in the market, price fluctuations, over reliance on nature, investment capital and time if you have another job competing for the same time.
LS: The market for passion fruits is huge not only in Uganda but in the EAC region and beyond. Because of the limited supply the prices for passion fluctuate between 1500 to 5000 shillings a kilo every year. That fluctuation in price is huge compared to other fruits and food items.
TMS: Advice to the youth?
LS: Be your own boss. East Africa has over 200 million mouths that have to be fed three times every day. One needs a personal doctor, a lawyers, an accountant at least once in a year but a farmer is needed three times a day. You do not need a lot of money to start, all you need is land and your commitment. Land is available for hire as well.
The best time to start something is NOW!!!