Allan Karemani, the Albertine Regional Manager at Pure-Grow, says it is important that every farmer who wants to supply the oil and gas market registers with the incubator program or any other certified program so that they are monitored and helped from the beginning.
As the commercialization of the oil and gas industry in Uganda takes off, there are concerns about the local content and how Ugandans will benefit from the industry. Many have invested in transport, material supply, mechanical works, civil works, and others.
Some firms are already won contracts. The local content policy also targets to bring opportunities to farmers. These have, however, found it difficult to penetrate the market, allegedly because of the standards of the products required by the industry.
The industry also demands a little diversification from the traditional food crops that Uganda have grown in large qualities for centuries, to other crops, especially fruits and vegetable that are common in other regions. These include vegetables like cucumber, eggplants, long purple eggplants, lettuce, cabbages, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower among others.
Musiime Martin, an agronomist working with the Entebbe Animal Firm has found a new full-time job of teaching small-scale farmers in Bunyoro modern farming and, according to him, more profitable firming.
According to Musiime, 690 farmers in Bunyoro region, mostly from Hoima and Kikuube have enrolled to benefit from the programs, which are supported by the Stanbic Business incubator. He says that top on their agenda is to promote purely organic farming, including manufacturing organic fertilizers, pesticides, and chicken feed like maggots.
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On the farm, no waste is waste, according to Musiime, with every part of a plant or product of an animal, like urine, dung, and others, being used to make other products. Musiime says their programs also include animal husbandry, with projects like poultry, piggery, and fish farming in homesteads.
This kind of fish –farming does not require a swamp, river, lake, or any other natural water system. A farmer is helped to build a makeshift or movable fish pond and how to maintain it whether in the dry or rainy season.
Musiime is a bit disappointed that the farmers have not embraced fish farming well because of the labor intensity and care the practice demands. He, however, says that with the practice they have developed, for example, the farmer may not need to buy feed, which is otherwise the biggest overhead cost for a poultry farmer.
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He says half an acre of land earns the farmer at least Shillings 1.9 million in one full round of harvest but estimates that they can get Shillings 1 million in a month when they have utilized the land as taught.
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On Market access, the Chief Executive Officer of the Incubator, Tonny Otoa, says they have facilitated the business community in Bunyoro with space where ideas on how to access the market and grow their businesses, can be done. The incubator has partnered with Pure-Grow, a food exporting company to help the farmers in meeting the standards, and also connect them to the oil and gas food market.
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Allan Karemani, the Albertine Regional Manager at Pure-Grow, says it is important that every farmer who wants to supply the oil and gas market registers with the incubator program or any other certified program so that they are monitored and helped from the beginning. Karemani says, for example, there are many quality seeds on the market, but that the consumers in the oil and gas industry require certain species of the crops.
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Pure-grow also supplies fresh foods to supermarkets, including Carrefour. The practice, according to Karemani, is that the farmer is not allowed to do anything without advice or approval from them, to ensure that even when the crop has matured, it is not contaminated during harvest or after.