Unlocking big profits from mixed farming
Posted Tuesday, January 22 2013 at 00:00
The 27-year-old borrowed Shs100 million from his father and purposed to grow it.
After University in August 2009, Axam Kasajja hit the streets of Kampala looking for a job. From one office to another, he went knocking and luck smiled on him, a few times.
A few offices in town were willing to offer him a job but the salaries that came with the jobs were only enough for him to pay rent. So, he returned home and thought hard.
Thinking hard didn’t offer quick and tangible answers. That is when he realised that a lot of land lay idle at home. Without the capital to start, his father was willing to give him an interest-free loan rather than one from the bank tagged with high interest.
“I borrowed Shs100 million from my dad and resolved to grow this money through innovations, value addition, hard work and engaging myself directly in the day-to-day running of all businesses I intended to start,” Mr Kasajja explains.
He started by getting five acres of land in Kakiri, Wakiso district, where he planted bananas, planted 50,000 pineapple plants, 800 fruit trees, reared 15 goats, two cows, 10,000 chicken layers, some sheep and turkeys.
For this Development Studies graduate from Nkumba University, this was a good way to put his knowledge into practice.
“Right about that time, I read a story about Judith Kiiza, a prominent farmer, in the papers whose farm the President had visited,” Mr Kasajja recalls.
This story became an eye opener because it told of a successful farmer who started small and grew big. Plus, Kiiza has a unique way of growing her matooke.
“I grow matooke by first digging a four-by-four feet hole in space of 10 feet from one hole to another. I then fill it with black soil, chicken dropping manure and NPK fertiliser for about two feet, then I leave one and half feet free for water collection. I let the components decompose for one month and half before planting the bananas,” the 27-year-old farmer explains.
He says there are advantages a farmer enjoys while growing matooke. The system allows the farmer to intercrop with legumes that help nitrogen fixing. Kasajja adds the system saves the farmer from the burden of mulching and digging trenches in the plantation.
He has partly used the money to grown eucalyptus trees, fish farming, rears ducks, chicken, mangoes, oranges, peas and guinea fowls in Busunju.
Kasajja employs 55 people. Agriculture has taught him to work hard and be persistent.
“Agriculture is so unique in the sense that you buy the seedling once and you start producing them yourself over time,” he adds.
In Nakulabye, Kasajja grows tomatoes in green houses.
He constructed the green houses this year, with about Shs10 million which is part of the profits he is gaining from selling produce.
So far, his costs are in check. “I pay the employees Shs100,000 per month, use about Shs3 million to maintain the house and when harvesting, I expect approximately Shs90 million,” he further explains.
Axam Kasajja is inspired by successful farmers like the late James Mulwana and Mzee Tom Kitandwe.