As farmer, whatever little land you have should be put to the best use because it does not require one to have a huge piece of land to use it to make money, but rather do things smart.
Pison Busingye, the director Itungo Farm at Naluvule-Wakiso, with his wife, Jolly Asiimwe, says if every person can use their land profitably to grow an income-generating business rather than selling off their parents’ land they inherit.
Busingye says all one needs is to be focused, and not try to do everything.
“For example, one can specialise in growing pasture so that livestock farmers can then buy from you and feed their animals. This is a viable business even to the weekend and telephone farmers because there are not many thieves who will steal your pasture and does not require much care like spraying,” he says.
Busingye says he went for pasture growing because he has a comparative advantage over other farmers since many did not know where to find the pastures or how to grow them. On the farm, he grows pastures, adds value by making silage and hay, sells fodder making machinery and pasture seed.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic set in, we were forced to take back the cows we had stocked to free range grazing in Mbarara, but remained with the pasture in the garden, as well as the hay and silage that we had already processed. This made as think of how we can benefit from this pasture, given the fact that we had no animals to feed,” Busingye recalls.
Then a thought struck them that since they had been struggling with feeding their cows, so must have been their neighbours. This was the beginning of the pasture business.
“I started this farm in 2017, but it was last year that I made some money from the pasture growing business as many farmers rushed to us to purchase for their animals,” he says.
Busingye grows over 20 pasture varieties such as chloris gayana, yellow and Bazooka high breed maize, giant setaria, Pakchong 1 super napier, supergrasses forage sorghum, alphalpha (queen of forage), stylo, siratro and glycine.
He also grows three varieties of sweet potato vines, namely; New Kawogo and NAS pot 11 from Uganda and Wagabolige from Kenya.
Busingye says pasture growing is a profitable business since it matures in three months only and the harvest is high.
“For sweet potato vines, for example, New Kawogo and NAS pot 11, one can harvest 5-6 tonnes and for Wagabolige up to 7 tonnes of forage, where each tonne goes for shs500,000. If you make silage, each kilogramme goes for sh500,” he explains.
Busingye advises that if you want to make pasture a viable business, you need to have more than four acres because if farmers get to know you have pastures, the demand will be overwhelming.
Unfortunately, people do not know that pasture is a real business and that we exist, yet many are also out there looking for pastures for their animals.
Busingye wants to establish a one-stop centre for pasture and dairy farming, where all pasture-related issues, including seeds and planting materials, silage, hay and all-farming related information can be got.
He also wants to be able to cater for all the dairy farming requirements, right from heifers, milk production and machinery, among others, at his centre.