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For a country like Uganda which enjoys good climate and fertile soils, there is every reason to cash in on the benefits that come with such good conditions, Mr Christopher Nsamba has built his name around Busukuma village in Wakiso district as a vegetable farmer.
Taping into the opportunities that the 20 kilometres urban centre offers, Nsamba grows a number of vegetables on his farm both exotic and indigenous African vegetables.
How he startedChristopher got tired of working on other peoples’ farms as a gardener in Busukuma village Wakiso district, he used to inject in a lot of energy, working hard every after other day and at the end getting peanut, one day he decided to quit from being a potter, he had saved some money and used it to buy two acres of land in Busukuma in 1997, he started small by growing tomatoes at a small scale. Being near the research institute, the National crops resources research institute, Mr Nsamba managed to be one of the beneficiaries on the NARO Horticulture program. One day, Nsamba got an opportunity of his life, this was a trip to Esipe in Kenya for training on how to do commercial farming by engaging in organic farming.“They trained us in integrated programs I got skills on how to run farming as a business”
A window of opportunity opened it selfIn 2000, while still in Kenya on training, he was advised to write a proposal to Food and Agriculture organization for support, when he came back to Uganda, he wrote a letter to FAO requesting for support to boost his business, In 2001, Nsamba was chosen to be one of the beneficiaries of Telefood program at FAO. which supports indigenous farmers through buying them machinaries, equipments, seeds, Irrigation machines, fertilizers and other technical tools used in farming all worth 7000 dollars.
Through this boost from FAO, Mr Nsamba has ventured into vegetables production and transformed himself and his family as well as fellow farmers in busukuma from smallscale to a medium vegetable businessman.“It was a one year project but it was a major stepping stone for me as far as my farming business is concerned “he explained.
Achievements from the Telefood programThanks to Telefood, Having been incognito in farming for close to 9 years around Busukuma, Nsamba has been able to receive respect and recognition for his work.“ before the telefood boost, I was such a small unknown farmer, I had no future in farmerming and I looked at farmerming for just food and subsistence, today, I testify, I have been able to attract various organisations, just because we used the FAO funds in the right way, we realized, opportunity strikes once.” Explains Nsamba.
Among other responsibilities that Nsamba has been able to achive was that of being elected the chairperson of farmers in Busukuma sub county under NAADs programme.he says, he has been a leader of farmers for many years and that comes with benefits because he was able to get seeds, and trainings from NAADs.
Nsamba says, he is now popular and he hosts a lot of farmers from different parts of the country and teaches them on joint production and marketing using the knowing he acquired from the telefood program.Through the support he got from Telefood, Nsamba managed to build a store where he keeps the harvests from his farm, and he has put up a big house from farming, and has managed to educate his children, he also set up a small office where farmers can meet and discuss more on the productivity, he believes that hard work and deliberate aim to be better and the love for what he does has earned him that prize, and as a result of the successes and experience he has acquired over the years.
Working through a farmer field model, Mr Nasamba says with his fellow farmers, they established a SACCO, targeted at improving well being through mobilization and collection of own resources for affordable and sustainable development, this group philosophy has emerged bankable as many farmers bulk with this teleffod champion to ensure quick sales and food supply.
Products traded and the marketNsamba has never regretted the decision he took, being a typical farmer, he has also ventured into strawberry and pawpaw.He has two acres of strawberry. Nsamba Earns four hundred thousand shillings in straw berry per week, he says, we sell over 40kg of strawberry every week and each kilogram cost ten thousand shillings at the farm, so if the season is good I can sell close to 50kg of strawberry,
He is a major supplier and deals in produce such as rep pepper, Chinese cabbages, lettus, leaf lettus, Convalvas and others. His major markets are government institutions, American embassy, supermarkets, international schools, and international hotels such as Serena. He exports some to the outside countries and also has a shop in Nakasero Market in the kampala city business centre and a small Agro-input shop in Namulonge.
ChallengesMr Nsamba says price fluctuations, Delayed payments after delivering the produce, High cost of doing business in the country remain cutting issues that has hindered his capacity to deliver at optimum level and also perishing speed of the vegatables.
FutureAfter telefood, he has had a stint with several organizations that have helped him eventually becoming the role model farmer in wakiso district. He is putting up a green house where he is doing trials for a number of vegetables. He is also looking for support that will help him expand to a bigger farmer.My aim is to also add value to what I produce, focus more on exports, and selling directly to farmers.
Advice to upcoming farmersNsamba believes in family farming as a business since it doesn’t need a lot of capital because labour is provided by family members, and he says Farmers should not only work hard but also should put their heart to what they do. He advised the farmers to take farming as a business not only for home consumption.
Vegetables Grown:among the exotic, he grows Kushisha(Water convolves)s,Lettus,leaf lettus, Chinese cabbages, and among the Indigenous African vegetables he grows African egg plant,redpaper. Green paper, Biringanya and other fruits like Straw berry. Over the past years he has been able to transform his family lives and been able to educate a number of his children from the farming.
ABOUT TELEFOOD:The purpose of the TeleFood Special Fund (TSF) is to finance concrete grassroots-level projects to assist poor families in developing countries and countries in transition. Its aim is to improve their means of production, thus enabling them to produce more food and to generate cash income, thereby allowing them better access to food. These projects may be implemented on a free-standing basis or in conjunction with other existing activities.Since its inception in 1997, the FAO TeleFood initiative has funded more than 3,100 projects in 130 countries around the world. Local NGOs, villagers’ associations, community based organizations, etc. can submit project proposals for an amount not exceeding US$ 10,000 and for a duration of 12 months
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