One day in 1992, a professional teacher Evas Kamasaka returned home to try farming. She left her teaching job to concentrate on farming after realizing that it was the only way she would attain riches.
Kamasaka says that she started growing, trees, matooke, ground nuts, greens, cassava, beans, sweet potatoes and millet for home consumption.
But her biggest and main enterprise was tree planting which she proudly says has made her go to the bank smiling.
Kamasaka who has planted 40 acres of eucalyptus trees, says that she used to sell each tree at shs 50,000 but later realized that she was being cheated and making loses and decided to be cutting her own timbers.
She says that trees are one of the most profitable enterprises Ugandans should engage in, urging that it’s not labour intensive and besides money earning they also contribute to rain making.
She explains that when she cuts her timber, she gets 120 timber from one tree and sells each at sh 3600. Kamasaka earned millions of shillings from the actual sale of timber and is also earning millions money from the fire wood she sells to people burning bricks and schools.
“Once your forest has grown, you relax as you count money. For instance whenever I cut trees for timber, I get 20 tippers of fire wood which I sell at sh 70,000, I get sh 1.4m and I am able to earn sh 432,000 from one tree,” she says.
Helping other farmers
Kamasaka started Ruki women farmers group with aim of uplifting and promote women to attain financial independence.
The group with 25 members started saving sh 2000 per month, and borrowing it to each other. She also procured coffee seedling for the group, to increase the production of coffee in area.
She has won herself a reputation in the entire neighbourhood as a hardworking and trustworthy farmer.
The mother of nine who also looks after 50 orphans urges parents to teach their children when they are still young to nurture them with a business and job creation mind.
“Teach children how to work when they are still young, they will grow up knowing that they can make money anywhere and they will never suffer hunting for jobs,” she counsels.
She says that farming needs a lot of patience, love, care and high level of interest. “Love it, live it and take time to grow the love in farming, you will never regret,” she says.
“I am telling you I have never earned such millions of money am earning from the harvest of the timbers and coffee before in my life,” he said.
Kamasaka’s first coffee harvest got her sh 3m and the second season she got sh 6m. She’s optimistic that the coming season will be better because now a kilo of coffee is sh 6000.
“When I planted coffee, I did not know that the harvest would be so good. I had to give up one of my bed rooms to be able to store coffee. In fact we had to keep some of the coffee outside and had to worry about the rain damaging it,” she says.
Kamasaka was digging and preparing the ground for planting more coffee this rain season.
The family also has 50 cows that give them milk worth sh 1.2m per month, poultry project with 200 birds that gives the family a daily income of sh 30,000 from eggs and also earns sh 6m from cassava per year.
Kamasaka consistently keep 200 local chicken for meat and sells 50 per month at sh 20,000 each getting sh 1m, she sells 20 bunches of matooke every week that earns her sh 200,000 as well getting sh 2m from beans per season.
Started up a tailoring workshop with only one sowing machine, Kamasaka was determined to train women and girls who dropped out of school in order to give those skills to sustain themselves.
Over 200 women and girls have passed through her hand, which gives her total satisfaction of seeing others excel.
However, besides using the workshop to train women and girls, it brings sh 2m per year.
“Christmas, Easter and beginning of the first term, is a peak time and the workshop gives sh 2m,” she adds.
The 50 year old lady is already an opinion and influential leader in her community and luck has been following her farming activities, which has seen her get great achievements and is not afraid of mentioning a number of her achievements.
She reluctantly says that: “I have made money in farming that I would die dreaming of in teaching”.
She has built rental houses and is expanding her coffee project. “My well maintained coffee plantation three forests keep bringing in money all the time and helps me the occasional disappointments when annual crops such as beans and maize don't do well perhaps due to drought or any other calamity,” she says.
However, seeing her children attaining education in good schools and exceling is one of the things that put a smile on her face.
Lack of labor is the main challenge the progressive farmer which she says that gets from Kasese district at high price.