Sell dried cabbages, earn more, peanuts, farmers
Cabbages are sliced using a cabbage slicer. The slices are then placed on a clean tray in a shelter to dry. The drying takes between six and seven days.
Many farmers who grow cabbages face challenges in prolonging their shelf life given their high perishability.
Because of this, mostly at the peak of the season, farmers sell them at low prices as they are in a hurry to sell them off before they perish.
However, drying the cabbage and selling it dried can in a way save farmers from being paid peanuts for their produce.
Ms Deborah Namulindwa, a resident of Nakaseeta Village in Kayunga Sub-county in Kayunga District who used to sell fresh cabbages has since began drying them. She says since she started adding value to her vegetables she no longer wants to sell them fresh since she earns more by selling dried cabbage.
She sells two cabbage products namely, the dried cabbage and cabbage powder. From one big cabbage which goes for Shs1,000 when sold fresh, Namulindwa says she gets two big packs of dried ones which sell at Shs10,000 each.
This means she gets a profit of about Shs18,000 from one cabbage. She buys plastic containers at Shs850 each, a big one and small ones at Shs450 each.
Ms Namulindwa is also the councillor representing Nakaseeta parish at Kayunga Sub-county council.
Ms Namulindwa says the process starts with harvesting mature cabbage.
The cabbages are washed with lukewarm water mixed with little table salt. The salt helps in ensuring that all bacteria or germs are killed.
The cabbages are then sliced using a cabbage slicer. The slices are then placed on a clean tray in a shelter to dry. The drying takes between six and seven days.
However, when a solar drier is used, it takes only three days.
The dry slices are then packed or pounded in a mortar using a pestle to get cabbage powder, which is also packaged. The product is sold under the trade name, Dried Cabbage.
A big pack of dried cabbages goes for Shs5,000 while cabbage powder goes for Shs10,000 for a big pack and Shs5,000 for a 600-gramme pack.
Her produce is sold to super markets and shops. The dried vegetables have a shelf life of seven months.
The biggest challenge, Namulindwa says, is lack of solar driers which she says causes some of the produce to rot especially, when the weather is bad.
Also, some customers don’t know how to eat dry cabbages which restricts the market for the produce.
The dried cabbages can be cooked and eaten without adding any other sauce but can also be mixed with other sauce such as groundnut sauce, meat and others. When cooked, the dried cabbage appears fresh.