Saturday, 7 April 2012

Working class should go back to farming during weekend- Namwese

Most people stay in the urban centers and enslave themselves in jobs even when they have land where they can cultivate food for their families and for sell. This increases on their burden of buying food every day and also affects their income as well.
You wonder someone works for 40 years but when you look back she/ he has nothing to show for all the years spent in formal employment because all the salary was spend in food, school fees and others.
There are the words of Brenda Namwese a resident of Bukomero trading center in Bukomero town council in Kiboga district.
 Namwese stays in an urban center but refused to buy food which she can cultivate for herself, urging  that,   staying in urban center does not mean that one should not engage in farming because at the end of the day you will have to buy food.
“We spend a lot of money in urban centers buying food which we are able to dig for ourselves. When I sat down and calculated the money I was spending in food, I got annoyed, this anger urged me to start my own gardens,” she says.
 She noted that one does not require hectares of land to start farming but needs a right and positive attitude towards farming to have food and income.
 “We are in the modern world, using modern technology, the excuse of having small land does not matter but what matters is someone’s attitude towards farming. It also is high time people in towns start visiting villages during weekends and dig. It is the way Uganda will win the war of poverty and famine,” Namwese says.
In 2003, Namwese left her job at World Vision where she worked as Correspondent Analyzer   to start farming.
 Namwese used her last salary and purchased 10 pigs, this marked the beginning of her journey of farming. She later sold the pigs and brought one acre of land where she wanted to farm food for her family because she hated buying food all the time.
 Namwese planted a banana plantation, cassava, beans, ground nut, maize and started keeping chicken in her small piece of land,  all in a bid to have food and an income for her family.

She later formed Balima Women’s group and they started saving sh 50,000 per month with an aim of engaging in business in order to increase on their household income.
The 20 member group is engaged in catering services, decorations and digging in groups.
Namwese started getting contracts at the district to construct pit latrines at schools and  sold her beans , maize, groundnuts  and added up to get a capital which she used to  start up a stationary shop.
 She widened her network and connected her group to start cooking food for the workers who were working on Kampla- Kibgo- Hoima road.
She however says that she realized that the stationary shop was not bringing in a daily income especially during holidays, she sold more of her produce and started a hardware shop so that she can earn money even when its holiday period.                                                                                                                             
Namwese always admired farmers and whenever she went to the market to buy food, she kept on telling herself that one day , she will also bring food to the market to sell to others.
She even says that she would get annoyed giving her money to farmers yet she had hands to dig and have her own gardens.
 It was from this background that Namwese got the motivation to start farming and storing food for future consumption.

 She says that most people think that farming is hectic and expensive before they give it a try but urges people interested in farming activities to seek advice from the already existing farmers and read The New Vision on Tuesdays (harvest money) to get farming tips.
She for example gets matooke and sweet potatoes peals, dries, pounds and mixes it with little chicken feeds for her chicken instead of spending lots of money on feeds. “This boosts the capacity of chicken to lay more eggs,” she says.
 She has bought more 6 acres to expand on her farming activities. She says that her hardware shop brings her an income of sh 12m per month while her stationary shop earns shs 1.5m per term.
Namwese has constructed rental houses which brings in sh 300,000 per month, sells eggs which gives her sh 160,000 per week and sells matooke sh 600,000 per month.
 She is excited on her decision of leaving formal employment for farming. “I was going to die a poor woman if I did not opt for farming,” the 39 years old and a mother of four.  
 Namwese’s biggest challenge is the unpredicted weather that affects farmers these days and cattle keepers who stubbornly leave theirs animals to destroy people’s crops.

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