Youth in Masindi district have been advised to embrace cash crop growing as a faster and more efficient way of improving their household incomes.
The youth were on Saturday touring Sunrise Inspirational Farm – an over 20-acre enterprise of bananas, rice, poultry goat-rearing and horticulture belonging to a one Ramadhan Atuhura located in Kijumbura village, Pakanyi sub-county, about 20kms from Masindi town.
Atuhura is a member of Farmers Talk Uganda(FTU) – a loose association of over 140 farmers across the country formed two years ago. The farmers routinely visit each other’s farms to share knowledge and best practices on how to improve production, become better farmers and reach for bigger markets.
Speaking at Atuhura’s farm on Saturday, Charles Rwebembera, the chairperson of FTU, advised the visiting youths to interest themselves in crops and enterprises whose value has limited depreciation.
“If you decide to venture in crops like bananas for commercial production, make research and invest in improved varieties that will give you value for the money invested. Make sure your piece of land is optimally utilized because land is scarce,” Rwebembera said.
Frederick Isingoma, another FTU member dealing in coffee and banana farming called upon the youth to resist the allure of quick gains in farming, noting that the more sustainable returns lie in consistency. “Some youth opt for crops with quick yields such as maize but they also suffer from very low prices in return. A kilogram of coffee, on the other hand, is always above Shs.4000. And most of our parents supported us in school using proceeds from coffee,” he argued.
Isingoma advised farmers to apply modern farming methods such as applying manure to cash crops, so as to get better yields.
Stanley Wandera, a farmer and chairperson of Gukwatamanzi cooperative society one of the SACCOs in the district cautioned the youth against the undermining farming, and to get beyond the stereotypes associated with the trade:
“Some graduates have ancestral land which is lying idle in their villages but do not think of investing in agriculture, preferring instead to beg from their parents. You should avoid that mentality,” Wandera said.
Ronald Tumuhaise, one of the visiting youth, said most times many youths are discouraged because of the intensive time needed to invest in agriculture and some opt for enterprises that require less attention.
Meanwhile, Atuhura told his visitors that he was now turning to value addition: “I have mobilized and created a cluster of farmers who are now growing bananas. I sell to them suckers at a reduced price of Shs.1500 instead of Shs.2000 and also train them in good agronomic practices. I’m sure that those farmers will contribute towards my wine production with supplies as they also uplift themselves,” Atuhura said.