Over the years, agriculture as a sector has improved the lives of many people who engage in it. This is what largely motivated me to venture into it. But I also wanted to undertake it on a commercial scale that benefits me and the community. Because most of the farmers in my community are engaged in growing maize, rice and beans, I also decided to start with these crops.
I planted maize on 3.5 acres of land. From experience, I learnt that maize production requires a lot of monitoring and proper management in order to reap good benefits from it. This is what is lacking among many growers. So as a student of agriculture, I had to follow the right steps of production. That means I had to buy good quality seeds to begin with. Over a period of two days, my family and I were engaged in the planting of the seeds.
I achieved a high percentage of germination. I also ensured to weed the garden in a timely way, which helped to reduce completion for food between the weeds and the crops, and increase the speed of growth. However, a long spell of sunshine negatively affected the crops, which forced me to spray the garden using a fertilizer, as a way of boosting growth. Unfortunately, this did not help much. I was able to harvest only seven sacks of maize grain. I shared this experience with some of the farmers in my community, and the lessons learnt have helped them do better in terms of the way they handle their production process.
I also decided to experiment with growing other crops, so I ventured into rice growing. Although I haven’t harvested it yet, I believe the variety of seeds I’ve planted is good enough to reap the returns I anticipate. I also wanted to use to demonstrate to farmers in my community that rice growing can be done even without planting it in wetlands. Because I don’t have enough labour to undertake manual weeding, I spray the garden to keep weeds away. I am hopeful that the results at harvest time will be positive.
Beans is another crop that I have been growing, largely as a source of food for my family. Since beans are leguminous crops, I decided to add some nitrogen into the soil because the land had been previously overused and was not producing as much yields. The beans are now doing well, and have reached the flowering stage. Another good thing is that taking care of beans is not a hectic undertaking as long as they are planted at the right time and weeding is undertaken regularly.
In addition to all those projects, I have set up a small banana plantation to provide food for the family. The plantation was set up immediately after I got the scholarship. I’m glad to report that we are already reaping the benefits. Thanks to RUFORUM for the opportunity of the scholarship at Gulu University. It has been a life changing opportunity not only for me but my entire community.
By Ignatius Kyeyune