Wednesday February 12 2014

The club inspired him to start farming

By Christine Katende.

My name is Fred Mutyaba, a trader in Park Yard market in Kampala and the vice chairman, Nyanama Dembe FM fans club.
I was inspired to join the club by the radio fans I met in 2011. I started attending the fan’s club meetings regularly, which earned me gifts during the end of year party, this interested me to stay.
Later, I and five other people came up with another group in Nyanama, Entebbe road, where we started with a “cash round”. Later, the number grew to 30.
I borrowed Shs1.5m from the group and invested it in planting maize on an acre of land in Lukaya-Kyagunda in Masaka that my father gave me. I used Shs200,000 to hire the labour used to cultivate the land before planting.

Set back
That time, things did not go well since it was dry season, all the maize dried up. So, I cut down all the dry stems and planted maize and beans This was in 2012. With this set back, I explained to the other members and asked for more time to pay back the money.
It was better this time round. I harvested over 1,000 kilos from beans around July. I managed to get Shs2m. Then, in November, I harvested 500 kilos of maize and got Shs1m, totalling to Shs3m. After deducting the costs incurred and paying the group loan, I used the rest to supplement the shoe business I had.
In early 2013, I invested in tomatoes and yellow sweet bananas, commonly known as sukali ndiizi. I have an acre of the latter.
Unfortunately, the tomato harvest was not as I had expected, I earned only Shs600,000. I started selling the yellow sweet banana bunches to traders.

Other investments
On average, I harvest 20 bunches or more. I sell mostly to Masaka traders between Shs5,000 and Shs10,000 depending on the size.
With the proceeds from the yellow bananas, I bought a cow at Shs400,000. After a year and a half, it produced a calf. Then, I purchased another cow, which brings the total to three cows.
In the banana plantation, I use the cow dung as fertiliser as I do not use the artifical fertilisers.

Although I have been able to make money from farming, I have faced a challenge of the seasons. Sometimes when I plant, the seasons and weather conditions are uncertain. I end up losing all that I invested when all the plants get destroyed by the dry conditions.
I have not only got money from the fan’s club to do farming as another business but I have bought a plot of land and built house, married a wife, taken care of my children.
I have been able to expand my business by setting up different branches away from Park Yard market.

Future plans
I am initially a trader; this has helped to enlarge my customer base. It is the fan’s club members and their friends that buy the shoes. I have got friends, supportive and caring people with good advice and developmental ideas.
My plan is to invest more in farming with the aim of saving for my children and setting up other developmental projects.