Berakha Vegetable Enterprises (Maku Martin, Alumnus, MSc. Agri-entreprises development, Gulu University)

I am so grateful to Gulu University Faculty of Agriculture and Environment for the support they have given me through the student enterprise scheme. I received financial support and mentorship from the faculty to implement my business plan on off-season vegetable production. I am involved in the production of tomatoes, cow peas leaves (boo) and cabbages. Upon receiving the  funding in November 2019, I rented a 2-hacre piece of land and immediately started with the cultivation of cowpeas and preparing the nursery bed for tomatoes. Boo production in December and January was very profitable and gave the business a good kickstart. For instance, I invested Shs.300,000=(US$ 83) in the production of boo and got a gross revenue of Shs.800,000=( US$ 220) by mid-February 2020. It was after this time that there was a lot of boo in the market and so the profit margins reduced as prices came down. In mid-January 2020, I put the first phase of tomatoes on the nursery bed and by early February, I was transplanting. These tomatoes matured in late April and I harvested for 1.5 months. Through growing of the tomatoes in phases, I was able to get both profit and loss. In the first phase, I spent Shs. 2,500,000 (US$ 690) and I got a gross revenue of Shs. 4,500,000(US$1,233). In the second phase, I spent Shs.2,000,000 and got Shs.3,100,000=(US$548). In the 3rd phase, I spent Shs.1,000,000(US$274) and got Shs.130,000(US$36). While the business was able to make profits at the beginning of the year, prices of vegetables dropped towards June as many people resorted to vegetable production during the COVID-19 lockdown. COVID-19 did not only affect the supply of vegetables but also reduced the purchasing power of most consumers, hence a drop-in price. Through the revenues I received through this business,  I was able to buy a piece of land in Gulu city.  I am very grateful to the support and mentorship as it has helped me to establish myself and take off having finished my master’s degree in agrientreprises development.

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