When he retired from the army at the rank of colonel, he could not imagine his future without the uniform.
Following his passion, the Retired Colonel Dick Bugingo, ventured into commercial farming, a decision most of his colleagues dread.
About six and half years later, his choice is handsomely paying off as evidenced by his Agdi Dairy farm slogan; “Farming is the way to go.”
Birth of Agdi Dairy farm
Agdi Dairy farm, a family company was started in 2010 after a well thought out business plan by Dr Florence Kasirye.
Although the dairy farm was started nearly three and half years ago, Bugingo took to dairy farming in 2007 after retiring from the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).
Mission to process the raw milk
Traditionally, Bugingo is a cattle keeper just like his fore fathers.
“My forefathers were cattle keepers and I have taken after them. The only difference is that I am doing it (farming) for commercial reasons and not entirely subsistence,” says Bugingo, adding, “When I have all the 100 cows on supplements, I will consider adding value to the raw milk instead of selling it raw to processors,” he said.
With the exotic breed cows on supplements hay (food), more than 1,000 litres of milk per day will be produced. He hopes this jump in production will enable him start producing yoghurt, ice cream and packed ghee.
Milking the investment
Out of the 300 exotic animals, he has identified about 100 for special feeding (diet). Currently, nearly half of the 100 are being fed with supplement fodder, which comprises maize bran, cotton cake, dairy lick, banana peels and brewer spent grain.
Asked where he sources the animal feeds from, Bugingo says he grows and buys some fodder, especially supplements.
As result, he gets nearly 600 litres daily in the dry season when most dairy farmers run short of hay for their animals. That is why unlike other farmers, the prices for his produce/milk to processors are constant at Shs1,000.
This means that every month, he earns about Shs15 million, an amount that could multiply if he eventually put all the 100 cows on supplement fodder (special diet).
“Half of that [Shs15 million] is the profit and the other caters for operational costs, including paying workers,” Bugingo said.
Total investment so far
Bugingo believes the most important capital or initial investment is the idea and the interest to make it work rather than hard cash or machinery.
That is what he had at the beginning—an idea and interest to become a successful commercial farmer.