Curiosity drove Dr Emma Naluyima into a money minting venture many elite farmers would dub ‘impossible’.
A trained veterinary doctor from Makerere University and a practising mixed farmer for the last 12 years, Naluyima wondered what chicken always scavenged from pig dung.
“I kept looking critically at chicken tearing apart dung and then I observed that they were scavenging for earthworms and maggots. I made deep research and started on the project that has in two years saved me from excessive spending on feeding chicken on high value nutrients and proteins,” she reminisces with joy.
“I call maggots gold. Anything got from dung is gold to me. I was also inspired by lack of what to give the chicken. I acknowledged humans compete with poultry for nutrients such as mukene (silver fish) so I had to look around for alternatives,” she says.
Importance of maggots
She says because of maggots, her chickens start laying eggs at four and half months compared to other local breed that start at six months.
“Maggots help in forming the delicious yellow yolk eggs that many cherish and add weight to chicken,” Dr Naluyima reveals.
Process of breeding maggots
Naluyima, says it is all about playing with the life cycle of a housefly.
“We start by picking the dung from the pig section, put it in the open shed for six to eight hours to attract houseflies. We want as many houseflies as possible to lay eggs and get many maggots. We then cover the dung and keep it for four to five days,” says Dr Naluyima.
When they hatch or metamorphose into the larvae stage that they want, Dr Naluyima and her husband start picking the ‘golden’ maggots manually.
The short life cycle of houseflies dictates early usage of maggots because immediately they will turn into pupae and later a house fly again.
“That same day or the next you have to feed them to chicken before they die. The other option is preserving them in a refrigerator and using them later. The beauty about maggots is that they will be alive when defrosted,” she says.
It is a natural process; it allows Naluyima to also feed her fish on maggots and earthworms.
She advises; “you can feed the chicken without sorting maggots from dung but we feel mixing maggots with maize bran is better.”
More value addition
After picking the maggots, Dr Naluyima and her three employees introduce the dung to earthworms which still grow and reproduce.
The earthworms feed on the dung and it turns into soil which they use as manure in the banana plantation or sell to people growing plants from upscale areas such as Kololo and Bugoloobi.
According to Dr Naluyima, the soil from the dung is rich in organic and works better on vegetables.
The earthworms also excrete vermin-compost liquid that is used as a pesticide and fertiliser. “My daily ‘customers’ are my chicken and fish although some people still come and buy the maggots. We prefer teaching people the reproduction cycle of maggots rather than selling to them,” she added.
She says she has no challenges apart from the smell which by the way attracts flies and only affects the weak –hearted.
“I’m a scientist, I read, researched about maggots that is why I cannot run away from something like this that has saved me from spending,” she explains.
“We have 30 sows (not counting boars and piglets); which account for about 600 piglets when they produce. I sell nine kilogrammes of maggots a day, at Shs2,000 each although we get about 15 kilogrammes. We store some but the amount of maggots depends on amount of dung the pigs can give a day,” Dr Naluyima further explains.
Naluyima says she does not incur any costs in the production of maggots which reaps her ‘hustle free’ money.
She is of a view that maggots are better than chicken mash which is also expensive.
“For us we go an extra mile to clean the maggots before giving them to the chicken. It is also better for chicken to eat them alive because they like scavenging,” she says.
“We have 30 local breed chicken that give us 15 eggs every day; that is a tray every two days, 15 trays every month, we keep eating them, that is just a rough estimate. We sell each tray at Shs20,000 implying we get about Shs300,000 on that little chicken house we have,” Dr Naluyima says.
Dr Naluyima says a person obtains nutrition from eating the yellow yolk eggs. She sells the excess but most importantly she has heavily built cocks which go for Shs50,000 each.
Whereas a kilogramme of maggots goes for Shs2,000, a kilogramme of earthworms is worth Shs50000 at Naluyima’s one acre-farm. The earthworms produce vermi-compost liquid that goes for Shs3,000 per litre. The farm is open every last Saturday of the month to the public.
“We do farm Matooke, fish, cattle, chicken, vegetables and pigs on our one acre farm that also houses the school (MST Junior Academy).”
Who is Dr Naluyima?
She describes herself as a farmer between 4am-7am, a mother between 7am-11am, farmer, teacher and consultant from 11am to 4pm and a married woman from thereon.
She started with pigs at her farm in Bwerenga, off Entebbe Road in Wakiso District, 12 years ago.
Naluyima, born in 1979 in Entebbe also runs a veterinary clinic, Animal Care Centre in Entebbe.
She went to Stella Maris Primary School, Nsuube, Mary Hill- Mbalala and Makerere University for a veterinary medicine degree and later a master’s in public health.
She is married to Washington Mugerwa and the two have a set of twins.