Farmer earns a million a month from ox ploughing
Posted Wednesday, October 9 2013 at 00:00
Hakim Mbaziira says the improvement in the way he does farming has led to better yields and income. He told Fred Muzaale how he adopted a better farming method.
My name is Hakim Mbaziira. I am 30 years old and a resident of Bukujju village, Kayunga Sub-county in Kayunga district. I am a commercial farmer who employs ox-plough technology to till my land. I grow crops like rice, maize, sweet potatoes, groundnuts and beans.
But before I started using ox-plough technology, I was using a hand hoe to plough the land, which not only took longer to do the work but it was also tiresome.
Because I took long to complete opening up the land, I sometimes missed planting on season, which made me to incur losses. This was because my yields were usually low or poor.
But the turning point was in 2008, when I went I visited Namutumba District and came across a number of farmers who were using ox-ploughs to cultivate their land and at the same time they offered ox-plough services to fellow farmers at a fee.
Because I had picked interest in that kind of farming technology, I requested one of them to train me on how to use ox-ploughs. I paid Shs200,000 and I received training for two months.
Adopting the technology
When I returned home, I applied the skills and knowledge I had acquired. For a start, I bought two steers (castrated bulls), one at Shs450,000 and the other at Shs390,000.
Both steers were of the Karimajong breed because these are not only energetic but also, they are not vulnerable to a number of diseases and can withstand conditions like high temperatures especially while working.
After buying the bulls, I purchased an ox- plough at Shs350,000 from an agricultural inputs shop. After that, I started training the steers to do the ploughing.
I also trained them to learn the language used while they are working like how to instruct them to start moving or when to stop or where to turn. Within two months, they had mastered the work plus the instructions and were doing work perfectly.
Now that I had got the ox-plough technology that could do the work faster and without much difficulty, I started serious commercial farming. I ploughed two acres of land within three days on which I planted maize and beans. That season, I harvested 16 bags of beans and 42 bags of maize. From the harvests, I earned Shs4.5m.
Later, I opened up another three-acre piece of land where I planted rice. From the three acres, I earned about Shs9m within four months. Because I was doing timely planting, my yields were good compared to those I used to get when using a hand-hoe.
When other farmers in the district realised that my garden work had become easier and that I was earning much more after embracing the ox plough technology, they approached me to offer them the ox ploughing services. Others approached me asking to be trained on how to use ox-ploughs.
The charge is Shs 80,000 to work an acre, and for training farmers who want to learn how to use the technology, I charge Shs350,000.
On average, I earn about Shs1m a month just from offering ploughing services. I employ one person who helps me to “drive” the plough as I guide the animals through the land we are working on.
In a day, I can plough a half or quarter an acre depending on the type of soil. Heavy soils are difficult to plough compared to light soils.