All-year round vegetable production proves to be a vital strategy in mitigating the alarming unemployment rates in Uganda, majorly among the youth. although many tend to get involved in vegetable growing, they end up making losses something that makes them lose interest.
However, to realise profits, farmers can engage in vegetable production during the off-season. This is the period when everyone is seated waiting for the rainy seasons.
David Baguma, an agronomist and vegetable expert from East West Seed Knowledge Transfer, says it is during the off-season period that farmers have to give their all to exploit the best market prices.
He explains that in such periods, the demand for vegetables is high and supply is low and it is this time that the farmers dictate the market prices unlike during the rainy season when supply is higher than demand and the markets are flooded with plenty of vegetables at very low prices.
“The advantage of off-season vegetable production is that the crop protection costs are reduced compared to rainy season. The risks of crop diseases are low due to the environmental conditions which do not favour the spread of plant disease causing pathogens,” Baguma explains.
He, however, says farmers need more investments in watering their fields to achieve higher yields.
Alex Ondoma, a vegetable farmer from Omugo sub-county in Terego district, says previously, he was also into a bandwagon vegetable growing during the rainy seasons, something that greatly affected him.
He says he would invest a lot but due to the competition from other farmers he would end up making losses.
“I would grow cabbages and you would find everyone in the area has planted them. So I would end up selling at a give away prices which was not making economic sense,” he says.
However, after discovering the best time is off-season, today Ondoma is all full of smiles. He says he now ventures in tomato growing and he has been making a lot of money.
“Before I was growing on just small plots, but now I have expanded to half-an-acre. And this season I do not expect less than a million from this garden,” he says.
Ondoma urges other farmers to practise all-year round vegetable production at reasonable and manageable portions to ensure continuity in production throughout the year which guarantees them continuous income flow.