By Joseph Kawooya
JK Agri-enterprise farm is a rural agro-based farm located in Kyotera District in Uganda. I started this farm with the aim of training smallholder farmers to improve their skills in modern agriculture and equip the youth with entrepreneurial and agricultural skills. I hoped that this would also help reduce unemployment in the community.
I came up with this idea after attending numerous training organized by the RUFORUM.
I used my savings from our students’ savings group, which we started to be able to save part of our monthly scholarship stipend.
With that money, I bought the land on which I have set up the farm. As a farm project, I started with growing passion fruits because of the ready market in my community. However, I have now expanded the project to include bananas, coffee, tomatoes, and vanilla.
I have also been able to train farmers in my community on various improved farming methods. I have also been able to provide employment opportunities to a few people who work on my farm and this has enabled them to support their respective families. I am also happy that some of the youth have used the skills acquired from my farm to set up their own ventures in their homes from where they get income thus enabling them to earn a living.
I have already harvested tomatoes and passion fruits, and expect my first banana harvest soon. On the other hand, I also expect to harvest vanilla and coffee by July 2021.
I would say the lockdown has been a blessing in disguise to me because it has given me the opportunity to concentrate in farm work.
I have particularly become more focused on contributing to the enhancement of the social and economic empowerment of the people through agriculture and I have a plan of setting up the bigger model farm in my community.
With this model farm, I hope to train farmers and students taking agriculture subjects from the nearby schools in the community.
I am greatly indebted to RUFORUM and the Mastercard Foundation for their continuous support that has helped change my life and that of people in my community.