From University to Farm: I Am my own Employer
When he joined NAADS in 2009, he was given 500 layers”
WHILE many graduates prefer to stay in towns hunting for jobs, Benon Rutogogo returned to his village to set up a farm after completing his bachelor of commerce degree at Makerere University in 2006.
"I knew there were few jobs for us and a high demand for food. This was an opportunity for me to go into agriculture to tap the growing market for agricultural produce,” Rutogogo says.
He set up a farm on a five-acre piece of land in Mutanoga cell in Kikoni parish in Ntungamo district.
Five years later, Rutogogo is now a model farmer in his parish under the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) programme.
Rutogogo developed the passion for farming when he was still in secondary school. He started rearing 100 birds when he was in Senior One in 1995.
By 2009, the number of birds had grown to 1,500. When he joined NAADS in 2009, he was given 500 layers. In addition to the chicken, the 29-year-old also boasts of 21 Friesian cows, 28 exotic goats, a one-acre banana plantation and seven donkeys, with the Friesians and 20 of the goats given to him last year by NAADS.
In the same year, NAADS gave Rutogogo 50 bags of cement to construct a cattle shed.
How he manages
He has divided his land into parts. Four acres of his land has spear grass for the cows, while poultry, cows, goats and donkeys occupy one acre of the farm.
He employs four people. Two are in charge of the cattle, one in charge of poultry, while the other takes care of the goats.
Rutogogo uses the donkeys to fetch chicken feeds from town, which is over 10km from the farm. They also carry water and grass for the cows.
Rutogogo looks after the cows under the zero grazing method, where grass is cut and fed to them. He sometimes feeds the cows on milk.
The father of five says the cattle shed has helped him to improve the hygienic conditions on his farm and the quality of the cattle products. Rutogogo uses the tethering method for the goats. The layers are looked after under the intensive method.
He feeds the chicken on maize bran, growers and layers mash.
Rutogogo collects 45 trays of eggs everyday. A tray goes for sh6,500 in the
District. He gets between 200 and 290 litres of milk every day from the eight cows he is currently milking. A liter of milk goes for sh1,000 in the district, while a bunch of bananas goes for between sh10,000 and sh20,000. He has also built a permanent house and pays school fees for his five children.