Kajajate Livingstone is a commercial farmer in Mityana district, central Uganda. His father, a subsistence farmer taught him the basics of agriculture in a rather traditional way. His fathers’ informal teachings were on how to use the land and maximize output even when the piece of land was small. All they farmed while he was young were consumed domestically. Unfortunately, his father passed away when Kajajate was barely in his twenties. It was then that Kajajate’s ability as head of the family was put to test.
Immediately, he began to increase work on the available cultivable areas of the land, with an intention to grow more bananas [matooke], sell the surplus to realize an income. Fortunately, it worked for him, during the harvest, he managed to make big sales beyond what he had imagined! On his way home from the markets after selling the matooke, Kajajate would make calculations in his head which would encourage him to even yearn for more. The following season, he covered the whole of their family land with matooke plantations! Again, his efforts were rewarded with a bumper harvest, hence, big returns. After farming and dealing in matooke for several years, Kajajate decided to diversify his trade. He redesigned his matooke plantations by intercropping with vegetables and tomatoes, which equally fetched large returns. After about five years of vigorous tilling, the family land became too small for an ambitious Kajajate. He was forced to buy more land to achieve his ambitions.
Over the years, Kajajate has been expanding and currently, his farm sits on a massive sixty acres of land. Matooke still dominates as the major income earner, although, he also grows other banana varieties. Other cash crops like; coffee, Irish potatoes, watermelon, pineapples, green pepper and onions have also been introduced. All these are farmed in a system of intercropping to ensure maximum use of the land. On one corner of the farm is an orchard producing a variety of fruits like; mangoes, oranges, lemons and passion fruits.
Kajajate points out that during the matooke harvest, he produces about two thousand bunches monthly [a bunch of matooke is about ten thousand shillings on average]. He was reluctant to give the exact figures especially from the other crops, which seem to fetch three times more in value than the matooke when combined.
Kajajate also practices animal husbandry, and on his farm are mixed breed cattle, which produce large quantities of milk. There is also piggery and poultry on his farm. Kajajate’s ambitious ways got him venturing into the growing of beans on a large scale to supply a seeds processing company. Through incentives from the company [Pearl seeds], and FACTS [Financial Access Commerce and Trade Services] a Non-Bank financial institution, which helps to facilitate farmers through finance and market, Kajajate managed to get funding and started growing the beans. Currently, he heads a group of sixty-five farmers who work directly under him, thirty of whom are women. The beans, which have a ready market are purchased in bulk from his farm when they ripen and he does not have to worry about price fluctuations because the price is fixed.
A tour around Kajajate’s farm is proof that he is surely an ambitious man. There is evidence of constant activity, young men and women running about their businesses, bicycles, motorcycles, pick up trucks and people either making deliveries of farm essentials or buying ready products from the farm. There are two massive structures simultaneously under construction.
One looks like a larger residential farmhouse much bigger with modern design compared to the one he and his family currently live in. The other, even much larger has numerous extensions on either side. Pointing to the structure, Kajajate explains that he plans to set up a recreational facility for members of his community to find a conducive place to relax after a hard day’s work, instead of going all the way to the town center.
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