@TheEastAfrican

Go back to the land, plant your money and watch it wither

1 weeks ago, 16:41

By: Fredrick Golooba- ...

A while ago, I wrote about the growing popularity of farming among Uganda’s social elite, and how, contrary to popular urban myth, investing in agriculture is not always as lucrative as some people would have you believe.

There are many reasons well-heeled urbanites are returning to the land. One is that some have money to spare and so they decide to buy some land as an investment. In the tradition of one thing leading to another, they may decide to “do something” with their acquisition.

There is a whole range of activities to invest in. Some plant trees, hoping to sell them for a lot of money one day. Pine and eucalyptus are particularly popular. Others go into animal husbandry. They take to rearing pigs, rabbits, goats, chickens and cattle. Others invest in growing maize, bananas, coffee, beans, avocado, passion fruit, mangos and other “marketable crops.”

Some are “forced” into farming by the need to supplement their incomes, which are not sufficient to maintain the lifestyle they have chosen and would like to continue enjoying.

It is difficult being a member of the middle class and keeping up with the standards expected of anyone aspiring to its membership if one does not earn “enough.”

Also often forced into farming are the unemployed who decide to not sit around waiting for a job to turn up, and those who have retired from public service and feel they can’t make ends meet using only their pensions.

Another good reason people are flocking to farming is the publicity the media accord successful farmers who are “minting millions” out of agriculture. And in recent years these successful farmers have been appearing in newspapers and on television and also been the subjects of discussions on radio.

Their stories are intended to inspire other members of the public to take farming seriously.

The publicity focuses on success stories and rarely looks into the challenges of working the land. And so it leads many with money to spare, those looking to make some extra cash, those who have failed to find work or are going into retirement and are on the lookout for something to do, to think “there is money in farming.”

In reality, however, farming is anything but easy. Nor is it necessarily lucrative, even for those who have lots of money and are able and willing to pump vast amounts of it into farming ventures.

Personal experience, stories from friends and acquaintances and observations one makes when one encounters farmers, prove that whoever wants to go into farming as a money-making venture must approach it with a sense of proportion and keep their expectations realistic.

So what makes farming so challenging and hardly the easy option some people imagine it is? There is the cost and quality of labour.

Contrary to what many of us townies imagine, while the countryside gives the impression of being full of unemployed people we could hire easily as manual labourers, the reality can be quite different.

There are many unemployed people out there. Relatively few, however, are ...
Read More


Category: oped opinion news topnews

Suggested

1 days ago, 22:35
@DailyNation - By: Jane Wynyard
Women embrace elephant task of protecting wildlife

They patrol the corridors twice a day sometimes walking up to 10 kilometres a day. ...

Category: oped opinion news
1 days ago, 22:26
@DailyNation - By: Eric Wamanji
Debt weapon of choice for China to penetrate developing countries

Tonga raised alarm and begged China to write off her debt. ...

Category: topnews news oped opinion
1 days ago, 22:19
@DailyNation - By: Edwin Okoth
Sugar has always been bitter for farmers

While traders of the commodity live large, farmers are steeped in debt and debilitating poverty. ...

Category: topnews news oped opinion
2 days ago, 16:19
@TheEastAfrican - By: Tee Ngugi
When six agencies fail, it’s a conspiracy: The tragicomedy of the Mau evictions

Who gives a damn if the population is poisoned in the process? ...

Category: oped opinion news topnews
2 days ago, 16:13
@TheEastAfrican - By: Richard Sezibera
Bullets vs vaccines: Africa has a blindingly clear choice

The progress that Africa has made on immunisation is nothing short of remarkable. ...

Category: oped opinion news
2 days ago, 13:05
@TheEastAfrican - By: Fredrick Golooba- ...
Critics of China in Africa are recycling Yellow-Peril myths

The fear implied in complaints by Africans simply confirms that we have learnt nothing. ...

Category: topnews news oped opinion

@TheEastAfrican

Go back to the land, plant your money and watch it wither

1 weeks ago, 16:41

By: Fredrick Golooba- ...

A while ago, I wrote about the growing popularity of farming among Uganda’s social elite, and how, contrary to popular urban myth, investing in agriculture is not always as lucrative as some people would have you believe.

There are many reasons well-heeled urbanites are returning to the land. One is that some have money to spare and so they decide to buy some land as an investment. In the tradition of one thing leading to another, they may decide to “do something” with their acquisition.

There is a whole range of activities to invest in. Some plant trees, hoping to sell them for a lot of money one day. Pine and eucalyptus are particularly popular. Others go into animal husbandry. They take to rearing pigs, rabbits, goats, chickens and cattle. Others invest in growing maize, bananas, coffee, beans, avocado, passion fruit, mangos and other “marketable crops.”

Some are “forced” into farming by the need to supplement their incomes, which are not sufficient to maintain the lifestyle they have chosen and would like to continue enjoying.

It is difficult being a member of the middle class and keeping up with the standards expected of anyone aspiring to its membership if one does not earn “enough.”

Also often forced into farming are the unemployed who decide to not sit around waiting for a job to turn up, and those who have retired from public service and feel they can’t make ends meet using only their pensions.

Another good reason people are flocking to farming is the publicity the media accord successful farmers who are “minting millions” out of agriculture. And in recent years these successful farmers have been appearing in newspapers and on television and also been the subjects of discussions on radio.

Their stories are intended to inspire other members of the public to take farming seriously.

The publicity focuses on success stories and rarely looks into the challenges of working the land. And so it leads many with money to spare, those looking to make some extra cash, those who have failed to find work or are going into retirement and are on the lookout for something to do, to think “there is money in farming.”

In reality, however, farming is anything but easy. Nor is it necessarily lucrative, even for those who have lots of money and are able and willing to pump vast amounts of it into farming ventures.

Personal experience, stories from friends and acquaintances and observations one makes when one encounters farmers, prove that whoever wants to go into farming as a money-making venture must approach it with a sense of proportion and keep their expectations realistic.

So what makes farming so challenging and hardly the easy option some people imagine it is? There is the cost and quality of labour.

Contrary to what many of us townies imagine, while the countryside gives the impression of being full of unemployed people we could hire easily as manual labourers, the reality can be quite different.

There are many unemployed people out there. Relatively few, however, are ...
Read More

Category: oped opinion news topnews

Suggested

1 days ago, 22:35
@DailyNation - By: Jane Wynyard
Women embrace elephant task of protecting wildlife

They patrol the corridors twice a day sometimes walking up to 10 kilometres a day. ...

Category: oped opinion news
1 days ago, 22:26
@DailyNation - By: Eric Wamanji
Debt weapon of choice for China to penetrate developing countries

Tonga raised alarm and begged China to write off her debt. ...

Category: topnews news oped opinion
1 days ago, 22:19
@DailyNation - By: Edwin Okoth
Sugar has always been bitter for farmers

While traders of the commodity live large, farmers are steeped in debt and debilitating poverty. ...

Category: topnews news oped opinion
2 days ago, 16:19
@TheEastAfrican - By: Tee Ngugi
When six agencies fail, it’s a conspiracy: The tragicomedy of the Mau evictions

Who gives a damn if the population is poisoned in the process? ...

Category: oped opinion news topnews
2 days ago, 16:13
@TheEastAfrican - By: Richard Sezibera
Bullets vs vaccines: Africa has a blindingly clear choice

The progress that Africa has made on immunisation is nothing short of remarkable. ...

Category: oped opinion news
2 days ago, 13:05
@TheEastAfrican - By: Fredrick Golooba- ...
Critics of China in Africa are recycling Yellow-Peril myths

The fear implied in complaints by Africans simply confirms that we have learnt nothing. ...

Category: topnews news oped opinion
Our App