He looks to value addition to boost farming incomes
Posted Wednesday, October 23 2013 at 00:00
Steven Lumbuye is retired from public service and is now a full-time farmer. He is counting his successes from a huge farming portfolio that includes both crops and livestock. He told Lominda Afedraru how he has built his farm into a business enterprise.
My name is Steven Lumbuye, 60, a resident of Kiyune village in Mubende District.
It was in 1971 when I was 18 years old that I developed interest in farming. I started growing maize for both subsistence and as a commercial enterprise.
To date, I take farming as a serious business because it has a lot of potential in improving household incomes and better wellbeing.
What I have now is a diverse mix. I now grow Eucalyptus, orange and pine trees, cassava, coffee, pineapple, sweet potatoes, eggplant, and tomatoes. I also do beekeeping and keep some livestock. However, the oranges is one of the leading enterprises I am currently involved in. But for the livestock, I do this on a small scale, especially cows to provide milk for the family.
All these farming activity is carried out on a 50-acre piece of land, which I purchased in the 1970s at about Shs300,000 while working with the local government in Mubende.
In addition to growing all these crops, I have also ventured into making wine from the pineapples and oranges.
As such, I have established my farm, Biva Eri Mukama Mixed Farm, as a fully fledged commercial enterprise with its vision and objectives.
All year round
The main objective is to add value right from farming through to processing into finished products, which are ready for marketing. This is because I aim at practicing extensive commercialised farming.
There is one hectare of land that I utilise for orange farming, which I started two years ago.
We plant the Valencia variety, which has a small fruit but yield much on a single tree, and also the Washington navel variety, which has bigger fruit with a lot of juice.
The advantage of growing oranges is that the trees yield all year round; when others are flowering, the others are being harvested meaning one can make sales throughout the year. The main reason why I went into growing oranges was to use the juice as a flavour in making the wine.
It is also less costly in terms of labour because weeding is not as frequent. It also brings the family more income. Every year, I earn approximately Shs4m just from the oranges.
I purchase the seedlings from Mityana and each costs Shs500. I started with a capital of Shs2m but now the returns have exceeded the amount I invested.
The wine, which I make with the help of my family, is called “Marylum Wine”. It is derived from my wife’s name, Mary, and mine, Lumbuye. The reason is because my wife, Mary Nabuwetieme, has been very instrumental in the progress of the farming activities.
For the wine making initiative, we grow some pineapples but get most of the supply from outgrowers so as to enable us to process enough wine for the local market.