WEALTH CREATION

Successful farming doesn’t require only land

 

The rains are still here. It is time to invest in the soil. As the rains intensify, thousands of people are sinking millions of shillings into farming.

A lot of valuable time is spent. The question to ponder is how many will realise a meaningful profit at the end of the season?

Before you pour good money down the drain, here are some tips.

The farming practices are rapidly changing from peasant farming to commercial farming. Commercial farming is not easy. It means treating farming is rewarding if done properly.

Twaha Kakooza, a commercial farmer in Kayunga district, says many people who intend to go into farming normally think of buying the land they will farm on before entering into the farming business. This is not an absolute necessity.

He says even without land, one can still become a successful commercial farmer. When setting up a shop, the intending trader does not buy or build the house he will work in.

Likewise an intending commercial farmer can explore the option of renting land. There is a lot of land lying idle in the countryside waiting to be hired.

“A serious farmer will need machinery, equipment and some farm buildings. However, you may build capacity as you go along,” Kakooza advises.

There are some key activities in the commercial farming cycle that if carried out properly will turn your farming business into a success story.

Timing of activities

Isaac Malinga, a commercial farmer in Kapchorwa and former Uganda’s Best Farmer winner, says a delay of a few days in the implementation of an activity can spell disaster for any profits. Each activity has a critical stage when it must be carried out.

“Write out a strategic plan detailing the farming business from start to finish. You must know from the start what you are actually doing. After you have got a clear vision of what you intend to do, write it down on paper,” he says.

Then get down to actually plan it. The planning stage will determining your success. It must be detailed enough to include even the obvious activity.

What appears obvious now, may be easy to forget a few weeks later. When are you going to plant? How long the planting activity will takes? After how many days will the wedding start? When are you going to apply fertilizer, spray against pests or apply herbicides?

“When will the plants start flowering? When is it time to start harvesting? These are all very important activities in the cropping system. Write all these activities down”, Kakooza explains.

Mike Senoga, an economist and businessman, says it important to indicate the costs of each activity and write it down. Remember this is a strategic plan that should answer all the likely questions that may arise.

Senoga says very often, farmers get stuck halfway through the farming cycle. Usually, it is because of lack of a working plan. It will surprise many observers to learn that the majority of farmers claiming to be doing it for a profit have no working plan in place.

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They just plunge into the business hoping for things to sort themselves out along the way. They gamble. After the business has made a hefty loss, the players start cursing farming saying it is hopeless.

After the detailed planning is done, Senoga says go through it again and again. Remember to make an affordable plan especially if you are just starting.

Consult an agricultural extension worker for advice. Discuss the finer details with anybody who will be assisting you in the execution of the plan.

Involve your spouse who may give helpful tips. So far the only money we have spent is to buy a pen and exercise book. By the time the strategic planning has been finalised, hundreds of thousands of shillings may have been saved.


Cage Fish Farming Project on Crater Lakes in Kabarole District

Cage Fish Farming Project on Crater Lakes in Kabarole District

 

 

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Government of Uganda through the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) has launched a 5-billion-shilling project to promote cage fish farming on the 49 crater lakes in Kabarole district. The project is implemented under the Presidential Initiative on Agro Industrialization for local economic development (AGRILED) in the Rwenzori Region which is aimed at transforming local government system to facilitate effective business oriented local development with a focus on poverty reduction and sustainable wealth creation.

Kabarole District is one of the few areas in Uganda endowed with crater lakes which are mainly used as tourist sites with miniature fishing activities around these lakes. The district is gifted with 49 crater lakes in total, however, most of them have not been fully utilized for fishing due to limited technology to utilize the deep lakes, yet these water bodies have the potential to serve in a versatile capacity for fish production.

Kabarole and the entire Rwenzori region’s domestic fish production is dominated by the small-scale artisanal farmers whom government wants to encourage to go into cage fish farming system to utilize the vast available scattered inland water bodies.

Although they are 49 Crater lakes available, only 22 have been tested and cleared for cage fish farming.

Launching the project, last week in Kabarole District, Grace Fatuma Kazigati the NAADS Agribusiness Development Officer said the project will be implemented in a phased manner starting with the 4 sub counties of Ruteete, Kichwamba, Kasenda Sub County and Kasenda Town Council.

She said a total of 7 crater lakes have been identified to kick start the project; 2 from Rutete, 4 from Kasenda and 1 from Kichwamba.

She said under the project, the farmers will be trained in fish production, provided with fish fingerlings for stocking and also given 30 fish cages with each installed and stocked with 3,500 fingerings.

“These creator lakes were selected after a feasibility study on the nature of the waters and their past history of supporting fish life. We have already started the implementation of the project by training them in areas of mindset change, development of business plans, cost benefit analysis for fish farming and the role of farmer organizations in maximizing profits in cage fish farming. In addition, we have equipped the farmers with knowledge, skills and information on technical aspects of cage fish production,” she said.

“We have also trained the Extension staff in charge of each of the four pilot sub-counties to enable them follow up and further guide the farmers on how to maximize their profits. We have trained a total of 150 farmers in the first phase,” she added.

The project is implemented under the Presidential Initiative on Agro Industrialization for local economic development (AGRILED) in the Rwenzori Region. It is aimed at transforming local government system to facilitate effective business oriented local development with a focus on poverty reduction and sustainable wealth creation.

Kabarole District is one of the few areas in Uganda endowed with crater lakes which are mainly used as tourist sites with miniature fishing activities around the lakes.

The district is gifted with 49 crater lakes in total; however, most of them have not been fully utilized for fishing due to limited technology to utilize the deep lakes.

Kabarole and the entire Rwenzori region’s domestic fish production is dominated by the small-scale artisanal farmers whom government wants to encourage to go into cage fish farming system to utilize the vast available scattered inland water bodies.

According to the National Development Program (NDP III), government plans to increase fish production by 2030 with the fisheries sub sector expected to produce up to 1,000,000 metric tons mostly through revamped aquaculture and restocking of small lakes and making use of emerging fishery of small fishes like Mukene on Lake Victoria and Ragogi on Lake Albert.

The Fisheries Officer Kabarole, Baguma Brian cautioned the farmers to take the project seriously citing good feeding for the fish as a must if they are to benefit from the Government support.

He explained that there is minimal risk in cage fish farming if the fish are well fed unlike crops which are affected by season changes.

The Vice Chairperson Kabarole district Stella Kyorampe said the project will not only help the district to tap the fast-growing market opportunities and increasing demand of fish at local, regional and international markets, but will also create employment opportunities for locals within the area.

The RDC Kabarole Julian Ayesiga said the project is expected to improve on house hold incomes of the farming communities, ensure food security, provide source of employment for the youth and women and subsequent foreign exchange.

She committed to offer all the necessary support to ensure all the key players in the district benefit from this unique project.

The fisheries sector in Uganda provides a vital source of food, providing about 50% of animal protein. It employs close to 80,000 people who are directly involved in catching fish, and a further 800,000 people who are involved in downstream activities related to fishing.


FISH FARMING

Uganda produces up to 15 000 tons of fish from aquaculture, including production from small-scale fish farmers, emerging commercial fish farmers and stocked community water reservoirs and minor lakes. There are an estimated 20,000 ponds throughout the country with an average surface area of 500 m² per fish pond.

In Uganda, the aquaculture enterprise is still in its take off stages despite it being practiced even in pre-colonial times. This has been mainly due to the fish from natural water bodies like lakes, streams and rivers being sufficient for the fish eating populations.

However, due to the recent increase in population and high upshot of fish processing plants for export, the natural stocks have dwindled to alarming levels in that, meeting the domestic demand alone is going to be a problem without providing alternative sources of fish.

Aquaculture therefore presents the major alternative to natural water bodies in as far as fish production is concerned. Uganda is widely covered by free flowing water that can be utilized for aquaculture production and even the large water bodies like lakes and rivers can be utilized for fish cage establishments.

Fishing

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Fish technologies provided by NAADS

Under NAADS, a number of districts have come up with requests to be supported in terms of provision of inputs for support under the aquaculture enterprise. The support is in form of fish fingerings and start-up fish feeds.

However, being at takeoff and since a living organism is to be reared in a controlled environment, a number of factors have to be fulfilled by an intending fish farmer. These factors can be categorized as those needed for the successful growth of a fish and institutional requirements for the success of the program.

Selection Criteria and Technical Requirements

In order for the fish farming projects to succeed, it is important to undertake proper selection of farmers/ beneficiaries. There are 3 major requirements for the beneficiary pond suitability for fish farming as described below:

  1. Water availability:

Good sites should have good sources of water visible like streams, springs available at least throughout the year in because fish lives and does everything in water. It is the most critical factor to consider.

  1. Nature of soil:

Soils are important in that; they hold the water that fish live in. the soils to consider are those that are a mixture of clay-loam. Pure clay cracks during hot weather and is very minimal in nutrients hence it should not be considered. Sandy soil is not desirable because water easily percolates through and hence a lot of water is lost. Areas with sandy soils and extremely clay soils should be therefore avoided.

  1. Size and shape of the pond:

For commercialization of the enterprise, ponds need to be at least more than 300m2. The ponds must be rectangular for easy management, with a gentle slope for easy drainage, dykes must be well compacted and with a slope at least of 2:1. The minimum water depth should be 1M at the outlet and 0.8M at the inlet. Inlet and outlet pipes must be fitted well. The inlet and outlet pipes should be well screened.

Identification of potential beneficiaries

The selection and verification exercise is conducted by technical teams from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), NAADS, OWC together with the beneficiary district local governments.


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