Wednesday July 16 2014

A professor with a soft spot for poultry, pigs

Retired professor, Christopher Bakwesewa’s farm sits on 50 acres of land and he says that he depends on the local market to sell his poultry and pigs.

Retired professor, Christopher Bakwesewa’s farm sits on 50 acres of land and he says that he depends on the local market to sell his poultry and pigs. PHOTOS BY YAZID YOLISIGIRA 

By Yazid Yolisigira

As I was moving along Saza Road in Iganga Town, I heard a group of boda boda cyclists talking about a one professor who rears chicken and pigs. I stopped and picked interest in their conversation.
I was touched by the way the cyclists looked at it as shameful and ridiculous for a person of his calibre to engage physically in farming.

The talk provoked me to look out for the professor, and what activities he does and why. Prof Christopher Bakwesewa is the former vice chancellor of Busoga University. The 70-year-old former consultant at African Union and Makerere University is the man behind ‘Bulubandi transformation project’ situated at Bulubandi village in Nakigo sub county, Iganga District.

It sits on 50 acres of land. He carries out poultry, pig farming and planting trees for commercial purposes. “I started this project in December 2012 as preparation for my retirement” the professor told daily monitor during a visit to his farm.

At the poultry section, he started with 50 kroiler chicks. These are exotic breed which give meat and eggs which can be sold and incubated. He says he bought each two months old chick at Shs20,000 from an agent in Iganga Town. The breed has high immunity to diseases and they lay between 150 and 200 eggs every month. The professor says within a year the chicken had multiplied and laid 7,000 eggs. The stock kept increasing and after selling off some eggs and chicken, the educationist now manages 800 birds.

The money
He says the chickens are fed with cotton seed cake, shells, fish, maize brand and water. The birds are also vaccinated regularly with vitamins, mainly ashty and ketroceryi. He sells one egg at Shs1,000 and a chicken at Shs30,000-Shs35,000. He depends on the local market and sells to hotel managers, individual traders and Naads coordinators.

Prof Bakwesewa earns more than Shs40m every year in poultry farming. In the piggery section, he started with a stock of five pigs and now keeps 80 pigs every year.
He bought each piglet at Shs25,000 and sells a grown one at Shs50,000-Shs150,000. The pigs are fed on maize brand, remains of local brew, vegetation and plenty of water.

In a period of one year, he earns more than Shs10m as profits from piggery farming, alone.
Bakwesewa owns 45 acres of commercial trees; eucalyptus, Mzure, Musizi, Amelia and Arabica coffee. The trees are still growing and he is yet to earn from them.

The professor employs 10 people to assist him with farm work and he says he earns more than Shs50m every year as profits from poultry and piggery farming.

The only challenge he points out is that since the project was started, area residents have not showed interest in borrowing a leaf from him and it is people from other areas benefiting from his experience.
“I get ashamed when we [Basoga] cry of poverty when we have land. Even if it is fragmented, let us plant fruit trees or do poultry which could let in money,” he remarked.

The professor who has one wife and six children, all living abroad, says the benefits of the project have given him psychological satisfaction. He plans to open a fishing project on one acre of land that covers a swamp.

The president’s call

“I was energised by the remarks made by the president last year when he told lecturers at Makerere University [asking for salary increment] to go and rear goats. To some of my colleagues it sounded like an insult but to me I said I should do it as an experiment,” the professor who admitted to have started reaping said before adding he wished the president could visit his farm.