Politics is not a job, Farming is – Badda
By Hope Mafaranga
Most people when they get into elective positions, they do not look at developing their farms to have a fallback position.
For Fredrick Badda the MP for Bujumba County in Kalangala district is a politician with a difference. He is in politics to unity and sensitizes communities on how to make through farming.
As a young boy, Badda grew up in a fishing community like any other child raised in the islands of Kalangala and he also had a mentality that farming was impossible in Kalangala given its sandy soil.
How he started
However, Badda a resident of Bumagi village, Kayunga Parish, in Bugoye sub-county, Kalangala district changed his mentality after getting a diploma in agricultural from Bukalasa Agriculture College in Masaka district and a diploma in agricultural extension from Nordic Agriculture Academy in Denmark.
He decided to put to practice what he learnt from school and started farming. After that Badda went to Nkumba University and studied Community Development studies and later did his master’s degree in Development studies from the same university.
“I did not want to keep my theory in my head, I had put it to practice and perfect it. I combined my agricultural skills and my understanding of developing communities into practice to transform my community and myself,’ he says.
Harvesting money farming
Badda fought all the odds and started growing coffee, Matooke and keeping cattle in Kalangala which many saw as a joke and told him off that he is wasting his time and money.
He is shocked that some of the people who told him he will not manage coffee are the ones buying seedlings from him.
The legislator sells seedlings worth sh90m per year, but he was quick to add that, he spends about sh150 on each seed and sells it at sh sh500, after all expenses, atleast he is able to smile with a balance of about sh 70m per year.
Badda like any other farmer in Kalangala, he also owns 30 acres of palm garden. He sells his palm to BIDCO.
He explains, he makes money from his palm on a monthly basis and he is not regretting to have engaged in farming.
He harvests seven tons of palms every month and a ton is sold at sh400, 000. In a month he makes a cool sh2.8m and in a year he earns sh33.6m. “After all expenses, I don’t fail to save sh20m from this project,” he said.
He says, all his farming activities are aimed at sensisiting the communities about farming and showing them the right thing to do to manage farming in Kalangala.
He also wants his electorates to know that there is money and stable income in farming and he leads as an example.
Because he wanted farmers to have a common voice to market their produce, Badda formed Kalangala District Farmers Association and Ssese Efforts for Economic Development.
“I do not want to get rich alone. I am a trained agriculturist with a lot of knowledge on community moblisation and empowerment and I have to share my knowledge with the community so that we all get rich as one community,” he said.
Whatsoever he does on his farm, he involves the community so that they learn from him. “If you want to develop the community in farming, you have to stay with them, work with them, show them where you buy your agricultural inputs and face all the challenges that come with farming with them,” he said.
Badda has over 40 crossed cows, two nursery beds of coffee, five acres of banana plantation, 30 acres of palm garden and is now planning to start a piggery project.
The 50 year old politicians and a father of four have trained a group of 22 women to making yoghurt and they buy milk from him and make yoghurt.
“A litter of milk is sh700 here and this means a jerrican of 20 liters is sh14, 000 but these women I trained they make yoghurt and makes sh 80,000 from 20 liters. This is really value addition and we should all embrace,” he said.
Badda is growing matooke at his farm and fruits for his family as one way of ensuring that his people have enough food.
“Growing my own food has saved me from spending on food stuff and I use that money for other constructive things. People should get to know that a family without food will never have stability and peace,” he said.
He also appealed to farmers in areas that grow crops like sugar canes, tobacco, palm and sorghum to leave some land for food production.
He said in such areas you find people having a lot of money but their children are malnourished due to lack of food.
“I understand we need money from companies that give us contracts to grow crops they want in their factories but it’s useless to get money from them and spend it on food. Do not cultivate all your land with crops you will not feed your families on, spare a piece of land to grow your food,” he added.
Badda is so proud that people are following him and he has been able to change the mindset of the fishermen into farmers.
“People were looking at getting money from the lake every day and they never saved. It was hand to month business. Seeing them growing food like cassava for food, get extra money for educating their children gives me a lot of joy and satisfaction,” he said.
One of the things, I have as a best practice is to involve my family into my farming business. Sometime I am in parliament but my children and wife do take care of the farm and they supervise in my absence, he says.
Badda says Kalangala’s soil is not so fertile; one has to plan well for his land in order to benefits from it.
He gazettes one area for cultivation after three years; he leaves the land for grazing so that it can get fertility again. He also uses fertilizers, harvest and conserves water for future use during the dry session.
Badda is very strict when it comes on record keeping. He says it’s the only way he can know how his farm is progressing.
“When we started palm growing we were given loans from BIDCO to maintain our gardens, I keep records to know how far I have gone with my loan, and how much I spend on my workers and other farming related expenditures. If I don’t do that, then I am not in business,” he says.
He says one of the biggest challenge in Kalangala is quality of soil, it sandy and not that good, there is need to use a lot and quality fertilisers in order to get better yields.
Norbert Byaruhanga: the palm growing in Kalangala has created jobs for the youth and has also taught us hard work.
Ben Atibo: We use to get money from fishing but now the fish is not there and I am now earning a living from farming. Farming provided an alternative source of income.
Abdul Munyango: Farming is a new thing in Kalangala some of us who have embraced it we are getting money out of it. I earn sh 15,000 every day and I am better off than many youths in the area.
Tonny Ssali: When Badda told us about farming I thought it was a joke in Kalangala. But when I started it, it became a reality that crops like matooke can grow here as well.