Salim is a resident of Booma village, Kikuube District in Western Uganda. At 31, he has an array of income streams which make him stand out from his peers. He manages several vegetable gardens, a small chicken farm and a shop where he sells his produce. Salim is also the head of the local Booma Youth Group.
Booma Youth Group is one of the biggest horticulture groups in the area. The group is located just a few kilometres from the shores of Lake Albert, Uganda’s second largest lake. They engage young adults in the Kyangwali refugee camp and the host community in Booma under the Young Africa Works: Markets for Youth programme. The youth group’s main activity is the large scale growth and sale of cabbage and tomatoes.
Through the programme, the group bought subsidised, high-quality seeds worth UGX65,000 (€15) from national agri-business and programme partner, Agrifarm, in 2022. The group then started a test farm in a small local garden, initially making nursery beds and later transplanting seedlings into the ground. They earned UGX 600,000 (€150) from their first harvest, which they used to plant more seeds and make improvements to the farm.
Salim says the group’s great harvest can be credited to the three-month agronomy training they received through GOAL’s programme.
“The training taught us how to hit our growth targets and how to maximise profit. We learned how to provide adequate irrigation to our garden to produce the best vegetables,” says Salim.
Increased earnings for the Salim and his community
The group anticipates to earn UGX1,500,000 (€375) from their produce at the end of the next harvest. While improving their own prospects, the group are also inspiring young people in their community to start tomato and cabbage gardens of their own.
The training has been transformational according to Salim. As part of the programme, participants like Salim enhance vital skills in farm management such as crop spacing, irrigation, post-harvest handling, and marketing. He also says that the training has improved farmers’ ability to position crops to better withstand flooding – a regular occurrence in the area.
Salim’s success ensures he can put food on the table for his family. And with the additional funds raised, he’s chosen to reinvest and expand his business. In the last harvest, Salim planted 500 heads of cabbage in his personal garden. This harvest earned him UGX1,500,000 (€375). From this profit, he started a retail shop in which he sells his produce, groceries and farm tools. Salim earns an average profit of UGX25,000 (€6) daily from the shop, whose current net worth he averages at UGX2,600,000 (€650).
He has also ventured into chicken farming, having purchased 35 chicks to raise. He is yet to earn from his poultry but is optimistic about bringing in a profit within the next four months.
Looking to the Future
Salim hopes to use the knowledge and skills obtained from his training to build his horticultural enterprise. He not only pays school fees for his three children, but also financially supports his brother to go to university.
“I don’t want him to suffer in the future out of ignorance. I’ve suffered in the past because I did not go far in academics – I left school when I was 10. I wouldn’t have suffered if I had had a degree,” he says.
With his newfound skills and knowledge, Salim looks forward to the future with optimism. He aims to expand his garden to three acres soon and hopes to go even further in the future.