Though the islands in Kalangala District are known for fishing as the main economic activity and recently, for production of palm oil, in Kulugulu village, Bujumba Sub County, is a 12-acre pineapple plantation. It belongs to Patrick Mukwaya, 28, who lives there with his two wives and four children.
“I was a pineapple farmer at Busi Island in Busi Sub County Wakiso District. Together with my elder brother and mother, we decided to come to Kalangala and make use of our land that was redundant,” he says.
He bought 10,000 pineapple seedlings at about Shs Shs300,000 with each costing Shs300 each and also got a boost from Kalangala Naads officials, who also gave him 5,000 more seedlings, which he added to the ones he had.
Mukwaya now is able to harvest from about 500 to 1,000 pineapples each season. Depending on the season, the price at which he sell each pineapples varies from Shs1,500 to Shs3,000. That means he earns anywhere from Shs750,000 to Shs3m. Each year has three to four seasons.
After deducting several expenses including family obligations and payment of school fees, he is able to save what is left. “I manage to save more than Shs500,000,” he says.
The pineapple farmer has used his savings to purchase a plot of land to construct a house. He is also planning to acquire more land to expand the farm.
How he deals with challenges
“However, I find using hoes a big challenge because I spend a lot of time tilling the land. Transport costs in taking the pineapples to the city where the market is also affects me. Weather changes, as in long dry spells and heavy rains, are another problem,” Mukwaya explains.
Since he established pineapple growing on the island, he says that his life has been transformed and is sharing the skills with other farmers. “I don’t apply any manure but use the leaves after pruning to mulch and to act as manure,” he says adding that these are some of the techniques the farmers learn in the training conducted through an organisation he started called Twekembe Kulugulu Pineapple Growers.