Wednesday April 16 2014

She built a house from rearing turkeys and growing fruits

Owor (left) feeds the turkeys she rears. Behind her is

Owor (left) feeds the turkeys she rears. Behind her is a house she is constructing with the proceeds from the business. PHOTO BY DAVID MAFABI 

By David Mafabi

Robina Owor, 29, a resident of Morwa village, Kisoko Sub county, Tororo District, has just an acre of land that she is utilising for crop and livestock farming under the Naads progamme. She rears turkeys as her main activity.
At first sight, when one approaches the village, it does not give the impression about the hidden wealth in local turkey rearing.

Starting out
“I was a poor rural farmer, living in a grass thatched house having dropped out of school and married at young age. When I heard of the Naads programme from our Sub county coordinator, Humphrey Owori, I enrolled for it and secured 50 turkeys,” Owor says. “Today, I have 120 turkeys. Last Christmas, I sold 40.”

She sold the turkeys at between Shs35,000 to Shs40,000 depending on the size. The advantage is that she does not go out to look for market for the turkeys, but the customers and traders come straight to her home to buy them.
The turkeys are destined for markets within the district and beyond.

Owor says that she earns Shs300,000 on average per week from turkeys. This has enabled her transform from a poor rural farmer to a model for the other famers in the village.
From the proceeds, she was able to embark on the construction of a permanent house for her family, and enrol her children in primary boarding schools.

In addition to the trainings she got, Owor was eager to teach herself some of the things in turkey rearing and was able to learn quickly.

Besides the turkeys, she has diversified into growing groundnuts and grafted oranges and mangoes. The grafted fruits are more robust and mature faster than the common local variety.

“I have dedicated my entire time to managing the turkeys and fruits business, which continues to grow and profit the family and the entire village,” Owor says.
With hard work and the skills attained from the trainings, she is now in position to oversee and supervise the entire process.

It is thus not surprising that Owor has decided to make rearing turkeys the main business activity, which is providing her with high returns while fruits, groundnuts, bananas, and cassava are purposely grown for food security.
Owori, the Naads coordinator for Kisoko Sub county, says from Naads, each farmer got 300kg of maize bran, 30kg of fish meal, drugs and vaccines, and a chain link as a start up capital. They were imparted with the skills and knowledge in care and management of the fowls.

Robina Owor was one of the 24 farmers identified by the programme to take up turkey rearing after getting the idea from Okoth Angora, a turkey farmer, who started doing the business as far back as 1976.

“This was the only input we make besides the knowledge and now the farmers are able to meet all their costs on their own without getting back to Naads,” he adds.

“But, of course, we keep monitoring the projects, and also encouraging the other farmers to take on the business.”
He revealed that most of the model farmers identified for turkey rearing have been transformed from just subsistence farmers into relatively commercial farmers, who are now involved in educating their communities on the various income generating projects.