Feb 22, 2018 Last Updated 2:37 PM, Apr 10, 2017

Indigenous farmers reaping big from African Indigenous vegetables

  • Dec 19, 2014
Published in Printing
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African indigenous vegetables such as African egg plant, (Enttula), Nakati,Red amarathus(Ebuuga), Sukuma wiki, pigeon peas, Amarathus, Ensugga, cabbages and spider plant (ejjobyo), have been time memorial grown wildly for home consumption and very few farmers have taken interest in growing the African indigenous vegetables, some who have done it are doing it on a small scale accompanying them with other cash crops.

However the few African indigenous vegetables that manage to reach the market are of recent being demanded highly by the consumers. Despite being perishable, market vendors in Nakasero have talked to Farmers Media about the challenges and benefits that they are facing in dealing with the African indigenous vegetables.

Nalongo Kyomugisha Bonny is a vegetable Wholesaler at Nakasero Market selling Nakati, Cabbages and amarathus(Ebuuga).
Venturing into African Indigenous vegetables opened my Eyes to see where money is, at first I used to be a hawker, moving from a place to place selling women’s bras, but each homestead I visited did not have a cheap source to accompany their food, so I saw un opportunity and I diverted into selling the traditional vegetables, I remember injecting thirty thousand shillings as my capital, I used to move across villages selling a small pack of Nakat at Ugx 500, and the business grew, later on my capital multiplied and I came to Nakesero Market. The business is booming, that is all what I can say i work for a short time and I earn big, my day starts at 3am in the Morning up to 8am and at that time if the day is good, I can make three Hundred thousand shillings, Customers are demanding the African Indigenous Vegetables highly because of their freshness and they contain a lot of nutrients However, due to taxes involved, road blocks, we are forced to hike prices at a certain stage, we do not have stable prices that we are supposed to sell the Vegetables and this is highly caused by Climate change, at times heavy rains wash away vegetables, sometimes farmers experience prolonged drought, so they end up with nothing and you may find that we the Wholesalers have to fight for the small produce at the firm hence getting them at a higher prices, and to get our money back we are forced to hike the prices, but also its full of ups and down, especially our customers(Vendors)are always on Run because KCCA doesn’t want them to operate in the city centre which is quite a big challenge that we are facing, but despite all the above, the business is good, and these days people are getting to understand the importance of these Vegetables and with time it will be a household cash crops. Lastly me I prefer indigenous vegetables than the exotic ones, basically because of the untapped Gold in them and if people really understand what they can offer to our health, I guess no one will ever buy the Exotic vegetables.

JOYCE NALUBOWA is a retailer and a resident of Gayaza
I think we serve a lot of customers, and African indigenous Vegetables is away to go if you want to make money, the business is good, I have managed to pay school for my children and built a small house for myself just in selling these Vegetables, the business does not put me on pressure, I can go home any time I want, its now 5 years since I started this business, and I chose selling African indigenous Vegetables because iam a vegetarian, I don’t eat Meat, and ofcouse it was cheap, it doesn’t need a lot of money to start, and at the end its Profitable. Like any other business, even dealing in vegetables also comes with a risk, firstly they are perishable, if you cant finish up what you purchased on that day, it can turn out to be aloss,because you cant keep Nakati for two days without getting rotten, at times fuel prices go up and that means that the produce will reaching the market at a high cost and wholesalers tend to charge us so highly, so challenges are there, lets say prices tend to change time and time again, and we(retailers) don’t determine the prices rather it’s the wholesalers who determine what we will charge the final consumers, and our customers are poor, they want cheap things and if you happen to hike the prices they will not buy, but we try to maintain the prices and cut the on volume we sell. so me I like the business and I will do it up to the day that Jenifer Musisi will chase us away from Kampala just because there is a lot of opportunities, you just need small capital and get a lot of profits.

SSUUBI RONALD, Is a farmer and retailer of African Indigenous Vegetables.
I chose dealing in the African Indigenous Vegetables just because I grew up with my Grand parents and they used to love African Vegetables a lot, so we used to eat a lot of vegetables like amarathus(Ebuuga),Sukuma wiki,pigeon peas, Amarathus,Ensugga, cabbages and spider plant(ejjobyo),around our house, so I followed their footstep and took it to the next level because me I grow them for both home consumption and business, I transport my produce right away from the Garden to Nakasero market on the daily basis, and I have achieved much from this business, at my early age, I have managed to buy a plot of Land from selling these indigenous vegetables, iam able to pay school fees fro my younger brother, and so many things. But benefits comes along with challenges, let say, there is a time when customers are not coming as I expect them to, poor seasons also is a major concern for me, lack of seeds since no seed company is dealing in the kind of business that we do, so all that affect us (Farmer) who are taking up the indigenous Vegetables Enterprise, also we are experiencing a Climate change so we don’t know when to plant, and this causes prices to shoot up when the produce reaches the Market. But these days prices have been stable for quite some time. So me I will not switch to any other enterprise just because all my life I have known only the Africa Indigenous Vegetables since my child hood.

Nantamba Aston,is a wholesaler of African Indigenous Vegetables
I started as a retailer, dealing in African Vegetables but later my capital multiplied and I became a wholesaler, I have spent 5 years in this business, its profitable due to the daily income that I am getting from it, I get my produce from Kakiri transport them to Nakasero market every day, basically I can say there is a good life in selling these Vegetables, because I can make one million shilling in just two days, usually my customers are the retailers around Kampala Markets, I serve a lot of retailers, so its quite a good business. We face a lot of challenges that are threatening us to think twice, whether to leave of carryon with the business and the biggest challenge is taxes, we pay a lot of taxes right from the firm to the market. And the introduction of taxes on agricultural inputs is also going to affect us strongly and some may be forced to look for other business, another thing is Prices tend to change. I opt to stay in African Vegetables just because they contain no chemical and they are good to people’s health, later on people will pickup.

Ariyo Amon, is a retailer of African Vegetables
This is my first year in this business but so far its good, I saw it was the easiest business for me to do, since I can get a daily income out of it, though at times I don’t get as much as I want to, because customers tend not to come, but it is a lucrative business and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to start small, I have managed to take care of me through this business. I have managed to buy two cows and goat from African Vegetables. What I will ask from the government is to help us and protect us from robbers, since our business starts in the wee hours of the morning, thieves tend to utilize that chance and steal our vegetables, so KCCA should help us on that, another thing is to help us and give us tax holidays, apart from that we are really doing well. I intend to continue with African vegetables than the Exotic ones just because scientist are advocating for the African vegetables saying that they cause no arm to people so in future the option will only remain in dealing with only African Vegetables since they will be demanded in large volume.

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