By Elema Robert
Yumbe. A 55 year-old farmers in Yumbe is reaping big from mixed farming of Sunflower, maize, beans and Cassava.
The farmer, Ismael Tibo, a resident of Alinga village in Kuru sub county, Yumbe district started selling tree seedling 30 years ago. He then started venturing into food crop business after saving money from the seedlings.
“I started selling teak seedlings to institutions and individuals in West Nile and outside since 1987. I earn not less than Shillings 3.5 million from the sale of the seedlings in a year. My dream of starting a big farm started after President Museveni visited Dragon Agro-forestry that has 1000acres of wood lot in Kemeru village in 2008 where the members were advised to take farming as a business,” he said.
Being a determined farmer who adapts to innovative ideas quickly, Tibo used Shillings 9.8million that he saved to open 20 acres of land. He has now planted Sunflower, teak trees, maize groundnut, beans and cassava.
“I got these inputs from operation wealth creation program and WENIPS through Poroporo farmers’ cooperative Ltd but for the teak seedlings, I raise them,” he added.
Mr Tibo with a fellow farmer in his garden. Photos by Elema Robert
From the business, I am able to pay school fees for my children and there is enough food for my family. I also live a decent life; I can get money to buy other basic needs for my family including medical care.
The major challenge that has affected me for the last two years is drought that made me to harvest very little. Another threat is the wild animals and army worms that destroy the crops. I also face transport problems and it is very expensive to hire tractors to plough the land.
Amidst the challenges, this year Tibo is expecting to get over Shillings 45 million but next year and he has planned to increase the acreage of land from the current 20 acres to about 40 because there is still a large piece available.
“My farm is now used as a research centre where I receive students for study purposes and I need more support from the government and the non-governmental organisations. I now want to apply to become a seed supplier even to other farmers from far,” he said.
“I advise the people in Yumbe to take farming as a business. There is a lot of land in Yumbe but people don’t utilise them as such there is hunger in the district. Let us stop idleness and laziness. We should cooperate to develop the area and fight poverty,” he advised.