I started laying bricks during my stay at home

Returning home after the university was closed to limit the spread of COVID-19 gave me an opportunity to engage in a number of activities. I took part in laying bricks, I planted sugarcane, maize, cassava, beans, soybeans and sweet potatoes.

As a family, sugar cane growing has been a major activity we have engaged in for a long time. And during my stay at home, I joined in growing cane. The process usually starts with buying seedlings and then replanting them on our farm. Once the seedlings are planted, it takes several months for the cane to reach maturity, and therefore be ready for sale.

We have also planted maize and cassava. We decided to intercrop these two crops as a way of maximizing the available farm land and labour. We also planted beans and heaped sweet potatoes. After two weeks of planting, we carried out weeding of all crops so as to reduce competition for nutrients, water and oxygen for the crops in the garden.

Balyesiima making bricks

Community engagement.

In the community, I have mostly been involved in brick laying. We do this in groups of 4 to 8 youth. Our clients have mostly been from within the community too. Close to Gulu University where I study, I was also able to acquire land which I intend to utilize for a poultry project, starting February 2021. The plan is to put up a structure that can hold up to 4,000 layer birds. To prepare for this project, I have started laying the bricks myself. In the meantime, I have also planted soy beans and maize that I will use to feed the birds—which in turn will reduce the feeding costs.

During my time back home in Masindi, I visited several poultry farmers to understand how to manage the birds. I believe the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired is adequate enough for me to rollout my own poultry project.

Harvesting Sugarcane

These skills include, how to feed the birds, vaccination, water management and generally taking care of them.  Once the project takes off, I plan to sell the eggs at a relatively cheaper price compared to the market average. This is because on top of making money, my plan is also to fight malnutrition in the community.

RUFORUM has played a key role in helping me realize all these goals.

By Christopher Balyesiima

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