By Umar Nsubuga
Farmers in Kasawo village Mpologoma sub-county, Luwero district have started growing green peppers on a commercial scale. Most of the residents of Kiyunga, Kitata and Mityebiri villages have started the new crop with a lot of enthusiasm.
Godfrey Lugoba and David Ecude of Kiyunga village are some of the farmers who are earning from growing green pepper.
According to Lugoba, they have planted an acre of green peppers which are looking very healthy.
“We earned sh1m from last year’s harvest and we hope to double that this season because our green peppers look exceptionally good”, predicated Lugoba, when Harvest Money visited their farm.
According to Lugoba, green peppers are easy to grow, provided you regularly spray them against pests. They can be grown three times a year, giving a farmer a good income.
Green peppers require a lot of water that is why they are commonly grown in swampy areas. If spaced well, an acre can take as many as 100 bags.
“Last year we planted an acre and we harvested four pick-up trucks”, reveals Ecude. A 50kg goes for sh25,000 and sh30,000 in Gayaza and Kalerwe markets.
In Mpererewe and Kalerwe Markets, a kilogram of green papers is at sh5, 000 while 5-6 medium sized green peppers are at sh3, 000.
Along Nakasero Street, 5 to 6 green peppers are sold at sh2, 000.
“Our crops are regularly up rooted by thieves because there is no fence around the farm”, laments Ecude, adding that the green pepper, just like most vegetables need regular spraying to protect them from pests. This is expensive, especially during the rainy season.
“These green peppers need continuous spraying to keep them healthy. Pesticides are expensive and yet when we do not spray, especially in the wet season, they are attacked by pests”, Ecude, explains.
The farmers say they are sometimes cheated by traders who offer them very low prices. They prefer selling their green peppers directly to consumers in Luwero town and nearby trading centres because the price is better, selling at between sh100 and sh150 each. But when they sell at whole sale to traders, the price is ridiculously low.
“So every evening we load about a bag 50kg on our bicycles and take them to either Zirobwe town or Busiika markets”, Ecude says.
Transport is the other challenge facing the budding green pepper farmers. However, they have come up with a plan to solve it. “We plan to pool resources and buy a pick-up truck to transport our produce directly to the market”, reveals Lugoba.
They also plan to diversify into other activities like growing onions, tomatoes and sweet potatoes so that when green peppers are doing poorly on the market, they will still have something to sustain them.