How a Ugandan Woman Became a Millionairess from Piggery
RACHAEL Mubiru was tired of being a jobless housewife with no income. The trials of lacking an income are what drove her to venture into commercial farming.
Today, she is practicing piggery and poultry farming, ventures that have turned her into a millionaire.
Mubiru, a resident of Nateete in Rubaga division, started poultry farming in 1995 with 100 broilers.
Although she faced a lot of challenges, she grew the stock up to 800 in two years before turning to piggery.
“My biggest dream was in poultry, but I later found out that piggery was more lucrative,” she says.
Mubiru says she started piggery with local breeds but acquired exotic breeds after she watched President Yoweri Museveni on television encouraging farmers to turn to modern farming.
The President argued that it made more sense to keep two exotic cows that can produce 40 litres of milk per day than keeping 40 local cows which produce only one litre per day.
“I knew the President’s example also applied to piggery, so I started looking for exotic breeds,” Mubiru says.
She adds that she contacted Tom Kayongo, the former Rubaga North MP, who introduced her to the Government Livestock Centre in Entebbe where she acquired exotic pigs.
Since then, Mubiru says, she has been rearing improved breeds like the Landrace, Cambrough and Largewhite, all originating from South Africa.
Mubiru also breeds exotic pigs and sells piglets to other farmers all year round.
“I have maintained a parent stock of 10 pigs,” she says, adding that each pig can produce 24 to 30 piglets every year.
“I sell each piglet at sh100,000. I used to sell mature local breeds between sh100,000 and sh150,000 after feeding them for over seven months. It is unbelievable that I can earn the same amount from a piglet. This is indicative of how high modern farming can uplift society.”
Mubiru adds that although exotic pigs consume about 20% more food than local breeds, the heaviest can weigh up to 300kg compared to 100kg, the maximum weight for local breeds.
A kilogram of pork costs between sh6,000 and sh8500, depending on the point of sale.
Mubiru says she has been able to use the proceeds from her venture to educate her children, some of whom are already graduates.
“Whereas many people, including cabinet ministers, have never had a chance of hosting President Museveni in their homes, the President toured my farm last year while promoting the Prosperity-for-All programme,” she says.
According to the 2008 national livestock population census, there are only three million pigs in the country, compared to 11 million cows and 12 million goats. However, the number of pigs reared by Ugandans has been rising gradually.
The report says about 20% of households in Uganda owned pigs as of 2008.
This constitutes 18% of the entire national population.
Mubiru says although looking after exotic breeds is more labour intensive and needs a lot of attention in terms of feeding and medical care, the challenges are offset by the huge financial benefits.
She says the pigs are mainly fed on maize brand, but can also be fed on potato and cassava leaves and matooke (banana) peelings.
The current scarcity of poultry feeds as a result of the expensive maize has not spared Mubiru.
She says her five-month-old 300 layers should be producing eggs by now but have not because of poor feeding.
She said the price of a 100kg bag of maize brand had increased from sh50,000 to sh130,000 in the last five months.
However, Mubiru says she is still optimistic that she will continue developing through modern livestock farming.
She says her dream is to become a consultant in modern farming and community development.
Supplementing livestock farming with a business in outside catering, Mubiru has assisted many people out of poverty.
The main beneficiaries are the members of Finca Women Group in Nateete, a community development organisation.
“I attribute my success to our Lungujja-Wakaliga Kwagalana Women Group, a community-based development organisation that has nurtured the spirit of working together, and Rubaga division council for organising farmers’ training programmes,” she says.
By David Ssempijja: The New Vision Newspaper