By Andrew Masinde
Deep in Butende village, Kitayunwa sub-county Kamuli district is a youth who have embraced green chilli production to improve their livelihoods.
17 years old Olivia Nabirye is a member of the group who says that through chilli production, she is now able to provide the basic needs.
She says that before they started chilli production, she was just home roaming around villages with friends. This was because her parents had failed to pay school fees for her.
However, in 2021, she was convinced by a friend to join a group that had started in the village dubbed A Working Future programme started by Plan International Uganda whose aim was to provide viable employment to youth in Uganda, with a unique model for driving change in partnership with business.
“Since it was free, I decided to join. They trained us in various business modules one of which was growing chilli. She decided to start growing chilli on her parents’ land. She started with quoter an acre but now she had half an acre of land. In a month get 80kgs of chilli and I harvest for three months. A kilogram of chilli is Sh3, 000. In a month I earn Sh720, 000,” she says.
She explains that this money sometimes increases depending on the season and she plans to increase the production to one acre in 2023. She sells her chilli to KK Fresh Produce Exporters Limited.
Nabirye explains that this money supports her as a girl not to engage in risky behaviours but also to look after her parents and siblings. She has also bought three goats which she expects to increase the farm. She also wants to open up a garment business.
Abubakari Mugaya 19 years also grows chilli, he says that before he started, he would wake up early morning, and go to the trading centre.
However, with growing chilli, is always busy and has no time to louse around the village.
She grows chilli on half an acre from where she harvests 146kgs of chilli which he sells in the community.
He says that his plan is to increase chilli production to 5 acres.
He also wants to open a big business in Kamuli town from where he will also get money to supplement the chilli funds.
The youths have also opened a savings group and the aim is to save the money they have gotten from the sale of chilli. The saving helps them to have money to add to their business.