Meet a teen who chose farming as his dream job
Posted Wednesday, January 9 2013 at 00:00
Unlike many other Ugandan youths his age, this young man is already focused on what he wants to do.
I am Zaakaliya Lufuga. I am 18 years old. I completed my S4 last year at Nkoyoyo Day and Boarding SS at Matale in Buikwe District. After that, I did not think of joining A-Level but instead opted to go to an institute to pursue a course of my dreams.
With little skills I had attained from my O- Level agriculture lessons, I decided to utilise my father’s land in the village by rearing cattle and growing bananas, a skill I want to improve to continue earning a living and support my family.
Beginning of the dream
In less than five years, I am now reaping big from this farm at Matale. With a net profit of about Shs600,000 a month, it is just enough for me and I do not think of being employed by someone at all.
I now pay my own tuition at Bukalasa Agricultural Institute and also support my four siblings and parents at home.
My dream of becoming a successful farmer started in 2005. I come from a very humble family, which mainly depends on farming. By then I had just completed P7 and my father had no money to take me to secondary school yet I wanted to continue with my studies.
I needed Shs150,000 per term, which I failed to get. I then decided to try my hand at brick-making at home but only managed to make 5,000 bricks which I sold at Shs160,000 after a long struggle.
Since it was not enough to take me through even one term given the required school fees and other necessities, I decided to use the money to buy a Friesian male calf.
First big deal
After rearing it for 18 months, one rich man came looking for an exotic bull to take to his farm and I sold it to him at Shs1.3m. I then bought an exotic cow in 2007. Soon it produced and I started milking it.
Currently, that one cow l started with has produced five others; three of which are cows where I get milk both for consumption and for sale. On a good day, each cow gives an average of 20 litres of milk. I sell each litre at Shs1,000.
To feed the cows, I planted four acres of elephant grass which I supplement with processed feeds. Also, I hired a man to feed them, especially when I am busy with my studies unlike in the past when I would do both.
It was too much for me to manage both the farm and study; that is why I hired him to help in my absence.
The cows I milk, I feed each of them with 20kgs of processed maize bran daily in addition to 280kgs of elephant grass and 120 litres of water. When I do that on a daily basis, I get more milk from them. Apart from rearing cattle for milk, I also have a banana plantation on a five-acre piece of land. While I was still in O’Level, I concentrated more on agriculture as a subject to get skills in having healthy crops and animals on a farm.
Last year, with some money I had saved from selling milk, I started planting bananas. I bought 300 tissue-cultured plantlets at Shs2,500 each from NARO at Kawanda. Now, each bunch of banana from the plantation goes for between Shs15,000 and Shs20,000.
Education still priority
I usually harvest 100 bunches in a period of three weeks to one month depending on the demand for matooke. In a year, I can get a minimum of about Shs13m from bananas alone.
Much as I am already earning from this farm, education is still very important to me. After my diploma studies, I hope to go to the university for a degree course in Agriculture where I expect to get more skills of reviving the agriculture sector in Uganda. That is my dream.