By all measures, Nathan Mununuzi’s home passes for an affluent family. His big house at Namalemba village in Iganga district has a carefully-manicured compound. It is well-lit and has a huge water tank to tap rainwater. He drives himself and he is able to take his children to some of the best schools in the capital Kampala.
Mununuzi is a successful public servant who works with the ministry of Water and Environment. Until two years ago, his wife, Florence Mununuzi, worked as a banker in one of the top banks in Kampala. She resigned her job to work at and supervise the farm in the village.
Yet Mununuzi, 37, is not contented with the wait for a monthly salary that comes with being employed.
“It [being employed] does not fetch daily income. Farming does,” he says.
A visit to his home in Namalemba, it’s farming all throughout. He has set up a poultry farm with about 95 layers now. These produce between 70 and 80 eggs (or two and a half trays) a day. By next year, he says, they will target 400 layers, which can give 300 eggs a day. Then, they will sell each tray at Shs 7,500, and earn a net of Shs 900,000 per month. This is where daily income is, he says.
Metres away from the poultry house, a couple of casual workers are preparing land for vegetables – cabbages, dodo, and tomatoes. Carefully, the workers dig contours so that for one to pass through, they don’t have to step in the garden. A trait of any modern farmer, Mununuzi carefully records every detail – the type of seeds to be planted and in what quantity.
“I want to be a self-sustaining farmer. And recordkeeping is crucial. I know how many eggs were produced today, yesterday or even the other week,” Mununuzi says.
“Other farmers never know whether they are making a loss or a profit. I cost the labour, inputs and keep the receipts.”
Meanwhile, he has a raised modern structure to house the goats. Currently, it houses 17 goats, although it has a capacity for 50 goats, he says. His goats are local breeds. He dismisses the argument that they are not good enough and take long for one to sell.
“You only need to feed them well. And they will give you what you want in the shortest time possible.”
A goat gives birth twice a year and can produce three kids each time. This means if you are feeding them well, this can be a source of your monthly income. His target, he says, is to sell 10 goats per month at an average of Shs 200,000 each.
“That’s more than Shs 20m per year, which the president is preaching about.”
That’s not all. A kilometre from the home, he has five acres partitioned equally. He has pine trees on two and a half acres while the remaining land has oranges inter-cropped with passion fruits.
“Oranges and passion fruits give me seasonal income,” he says. “And the market is there,” he adds. “I position myself such that people know me. So when I have what to sell, they look for me”.
For now, Mununuzi says, he sells to his workmates his products such as eggs and oranges. Almost every weekend, he is always in the village at the farm, and when he is driving back to Kampala on Sunday evening, he carries harvest to sell to his workmates. The passion fruits have just started flowering.
“This is where the big deal is,” he says, smiling.
Yet it has not been a smooth ride all through. The start-up capital has been a lot, with the initial investment stretching into millions of shillings. He said he was lucky to have a job, which supplemented his investments. But also, he adds, there are diseases which are giving him problems. For instance, oranges often rot on the tree before they are ready for picking.
He has previously had a hard time with workers who sold the crops without his knowledge.
“But that was solved when my wife accepted to resign her job and stay at the farm in the village. This was the biggest gift I ever got,” he said.
“She doesn’t work for free. We cost her labour and I pay her a monthly salary. She needs money,” Mununuzi said. The couple has three children. Mrs Mununuzi told The Observer: “Farming gives me time to look after children there are no pressures to meet targets and deadlines that came with the banking job. I am more satisfied here.”
Going forward, Mununuzi can’t see a future in being employed. Two years ago, Mununuzi enrolled for an MBA at Uganda Management Institute. His target, he says, was that after finishing it, he would get promoted at work and start earning more money.
“I later realised I did not need an MBA I needed knowledge and I had it. Farming was a better option. People will never stop to eat”.
Mununuzi says he hopes to retreat to the village soon and concentrate on the farm.
Source : The Observer