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Save To Expand Business, Vegetable Farmers Tipped

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By Prossy Nandudu

Vegetables farmers in Mityana district have been asked to save part of their earnings in order to reinvest and grow their businesses.

The call was made by Debora Kiwanuka, a trainer with the Korean Federation of Community Credit Co-operatives (KFCC), during a financial literacy training for women’s groups engaged in vegetable growing.

Kiwanuka said in the past, vegetable growing was treated as a hobby, but it has become a major economic activity, which, if nurtured, could increase their earnings.

“Many of you do not save what you earn from the sale of nakati, cabbage or sukumawiki, how will you expand and become big entrepreneurs?” Kiwanuka asked during the training held at Kyankowe Primary School on Mityana road on Tuesday.

For one to save effectively, one should take records of all production costs and sales, to gauge their progress.

“You should record the number of cabbages harvested and how many have been sold, then subtract expenses, such as transport, among others, and what remains should be saved,” he said.

The training was organised by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). Under KOICA, the vegetable farming unit is being handled by the Korea Environmental Agriculture Development Cooperation Agency.

According to Sowedi Lwanga, the field project co-ordinator, the training was organised for 100 women, including four groups that are running pilot vegetable gardens.

Each of the four groups has been given targets of quantities to produce using the demonstration gardens in order to meet demands of the market which was secured. Each group has to produce 400kg of Nakati, 3,700 heads of cabbage, 1,200kg of onions and 1,700kg of carrots.

The farmers have access to water, solar-powered irrigation and a greenhouse in order to produce the required quantities, according to Lwanga.

“At the time of harvest, produce is bulked together and taken by an off-taker or buyer at once, then the money is shared among the women in their groups. Savings are prioritised before actual distribution of funds among members,” explained Lwanga.

Beneficiaries speak out Rhoda Nakanwagi from Kagavu village, a member of Youth of God Saving group, said they have learnt good agricultural practices.

“They taught us how to grow vegetables in small spaces, making use of old plastic basins, sacks, broken containers and wire mesh. Before the training, we had some vegetables that would grow on their own. We have learnt how to grow them all year round,” Nakanwagi added.

Beatrice Nkata, who attended the training in May last year, said: “Through the training, I learnt that when you plant, for example, 1,000 cabbages and 700 survive to harvest time, each cabbage head would fetch about sh1,000, making sh700,000. Minus the expenses, I will still have enough to buy seeds for the next planting, save and provide for myself,” she said.

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