By Alex Gahima
Every year, the world comes together on 16th October 2021, to celebrate World Food Day. The objective is to create awareness in tackling global hunger.
This year, under the theme, Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, we profile a farmer from Kisoro district who believes that before world hunger can be solved, individual homes need to embrace farming systems, where nothing goes to waste.
Bafaso Mixed Farm takes Shape
Back in 2017, Mrs. Winnie Bavuga decided to quit her lucrative and highly paying job to return home in Mutolere, Kisoro district to carry on the mantle her parents, especially her late father John Nyamugira Bavuga had started many years ago, the spirit of farming and unity.
“In the Kifumbira dialect, a local saying goes, “Impfura Ingananase, which means the first born is equivalent to the father, and rightly so, out of the 11 children my parents had, I chose to return home to carry on the family business, Bavuga Winnie explains
My father, the late John Bavuga, an educationist and businessman was a great influence to Winnie while growing up and inspired her to take up agriculture full time.
According to Winnie, the family farm then, was simply producing food for home consumption and whatever remained was sold off however when she took over, she had three goals in mind.
“It became clear to me that we had to have enough food for home, Secondly, sell food items commercially but third and most importantly, add value to them, so that the price is right and the consumer has a range of options, Bavuga reveals
Bavuga recalls, on the onset of taking over the farm that she would supply all the supermarkets in town but in less than a week, the food stuffs would rot on the shelves.
“Bafaso mixed farm is the leading supplier of all things green, from Broccoli, beetroot, cabbage, tomatoes, Mushrooms, greens and all kinds of fruits which is great however it was so heartbreaking to supply supermarkets and before you can go back to collect your money, you receive a phone call, that the items have expired”, Bavuga lamented
According to Winnie, she had to think long and hard about her future in farming and decided to do something different.
She says her determination to succeed and her willingness to learn something new inspired the three step model.
“We have a lot of Banana trees on our farm, some is sold on Market days (Monday and Thursday) but we still have a lot more left behind so we decided to create our own brand of Bafaso wine including Banana and Beetroot which is a hit among the local communities.
She further explains that other food items that have seen diversification on her farm include Pepper and Strawberries among others.
“We have over 2000 Pepper trees that act as an excellent pesticide but also we are now produce powdered and liquid pepper. We only recently started making Strawberry jam from our strawberries and my grandchildren simply love it, Bavuga added
On the animal side of the farm, Bavuga says the animals including Pigs, Cows and Chicken provide manure for the crop side while extra manure is carefully packaged and sold to other interested parties at a profit.
“The cows give us milk for home use and for sale. The milk from home is also used in part, to make cow ghee which is packaged and sold too. We also have fresh mushrooms and dried ones too. All these items are for sale”, Bavuga explains
She notes that her farm is interlinked and everything works in support of another therefore nothing ever goes to waste.
Advice to other Farmers
Bavuga, who was recognized by President Yoweri Museveni as one of the model farmers in Kisoro says, it is important for individual households to adopt urban farming methods despite being in a rural settling because Kisoro does not have enough land.
“The first step towards wealth accumulation is food security and this means that you must have a balanced diet and have plenty of vegetables because a healthy body is a health mind, Bavuga notes
She calls on all farmers to keep learning new farming methods and ensure that everything adds value to the final consumer.