Sunday, July 21, 2024
Home Change Makers Okirol Earning Big From Growing Chili 

Okirol Earning Big From Growing Chili 

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By Andrew Masinde                 

Alex Okirol is a resident of Mella ward, Mella sub-county in Tororo district. 

He is earning millions out of hot pepper and green chili.

Before, he says he was growing various food crops such as beans, maize, cassava, and potatoes among others.

He adds that he was not earning enough money from them, save for just running his home.

Alex Okirol and his wife harvesting chili. Photos by Andrew Masinde

However, in 2014, Okirol attended a training organized by the community development facilitators from Plan International Uganda, where youths were engaged to grow cash crops rather than depending on food crops only.

After the training, seeds of different crops were distributed but Okirol chose green chili and hot pepper chili.

“There was free clan land which I decided to start using. I planted on one acre and from my first and second harvests, I was able to harvest chili that I sold at sh3m. In the third harvest, I got sh5m. Today I earn more than sh9m,” he says.

In 2017, Okirol had save sh7m. He used it to buy another acre of land to expand his chili production. Today he has four acres of green and pepper chili and he earns more than sh9m after removing all the expenses every season.

Caring and harvest of chili

Okirol says after planting, he always ensures that he weeds the garden often. 

Okirol’s house he built from growing chili.

He reveals that chili is a delicate crop which can easily be destroyed by pests if not taken care of.

“I also spray with organic fertilizer and pesticides which I make using the same chili mixed with ash and other local products,” he says.

He has also bought trays which he uses during harvest time. 

“I harvest in clean containers and park it in clean plastic trays to maintain standards,” he says.

“Initially things were not good because it was a new venture so getting the market was very hard. However, with persistence, people started buying our chili and lately, we sell to Kenyan markets,” he says.

From growing chili, Okirol has constructed a permanent house and he pays school fees for his children. 

He supports other family members and also has bought three dairy cows. He also has a motorcycle which he uses to transport chili to the market.

Using his savings, he bought four acres from where he plans to increase production. 

He has also bought a plot in the trading centre where he wants to construct a commercial house.

Grace Okrol, his wife who is also a farmer, says working together with her husband has helped them to progress well. 

“From growing chili, I constructed a house for my parents,” she says.

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