An army General in Uganda has turned a twelve acre piece of land into a money minting venture hosting over 7000 layers, 3000 Kuroilers, a piggery and fish ponds, in a classic example of how diversification in farming pays off.
Set up on a twelve acre piece of land, Buyigi Estate Farm located in Mukono district along Katosi road is one of the cherished investment that General Katumba Wamala. The general who is the Commander of the land forces of Uganda People Defence Forces is passionate about agriculture and knows that it holds the key to Uganda’s fortune hence his heightened efforts of inspiring more farmers into the practice.
Charles Mulwana the Buyigi Estate farm manager explained that although many Ugandans know General Wamala as a distinguished man in uniform, he has a special attention to agriculture. “Despite his busy schedule when contacted by anyone as regards agriculture, he will always spare sometime and listen. In addition unlike many elite farmers, the general personally supervises the farm almost on a weekly basis and when on the ground he is involved physically in the activities on the farm,” explained Mulwana. Such is the dedication and passion the general has for agriculture.
The farm which was set up as a private one has transformed over time to position itself as a model farm for inspiration and training of other farmers. The general is a trained agriculturalist and at first set up the farm in order to supplement on his investments as well as keep practicing the knowledge gained during the school days. However the, success of the farm has and demand from farmers necessitated it to change status into a model farm.
The farm a modern day depiction of an ideal farm management and set up where one embraces mixed farming and both the crops and animals rely on each other for survival. Currently the farm has a poultry section that houses over 7000 layers and about 3000 Kuroilers.
The layers produce over 100 trays of eggs daily and given the market price of a tray at 8000, the layers alone give a monthly gross of over Ush24 million. The Kuroilers are sold both at day old and when mature with price of Ush2500 and Ush35000. In addition the farm has a piggery project that has over 100 Camborough that are mainly for breeding and distribution among small holder farmers in the area who pay a small fee. The pig sty is a modern one installed with modern feeding trough that regulates the quantity of feeds per animal and cut on wastage. “We have a special attention to farmers and therefore do not have any fixed price for any of our animals or plants that are they interested in. We negotiate and always willing to help because that is the main dream of General Wamala.”
The farm has also embraced fish farming using bucket ponds that are ideal for back yard urban farmers with no access to main water sources like rivers or lake. Towards the extreme end of the farm are mushroom houses which also house the hydroponic system that is now popular among dairy and piggery farmers. The hydroponic fodder according to Mulwana supplements all the animals on the farm including pigs, poultry and dairy cows which are under zero grazing.
The fortunes and success of the farm has helped spear head agriculture in Uganda through its’ continue support to agricultural projects in the country like National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS). This is a one stop center for almost anything in agriculture tackling both animal and crop farming and therefore assist NAADS through their demonstration and practical training sessions, supply them with both animal and plant breeds for distribution to farmers because of the superior parent stock as well as high management standard observed on the farm.
General Wamala’s efforts to deepen agriculture in the country can be attributed to the fact that Uganda’s economy widely depends on the agricultural sector with over 85 percent of the estimated 32 million inhabitants of the country living in rural areas and relying mainly on agriculture for their livelihood.