Joseph Lwevuze, 65, is among the few elderly persons who have defied the begging and handout syndrome.
He earns handsomely from his farming projects at Ntangala village, Katikamu sub-county in Luweero district.
When Lwevuze (in featured photo above), a catechist attached to Kasana –Luweero Diocese, ventured into orange growing as a commercial farm crop, the future for the market seemed very limited since many people were not in the orange growing business in Luweero.
He took advantage of the earliest opportunity to plant more orange seedlings when the district Production Office in Luweero flagged off the opportunity under the NAADS/OWC programme.
“My initial plan was to have some two acres to act as a demonstration and income-generating venture. Being a trained and practicing agriculturalist, my ability to add to the 300 orange trees extended to me under the NAADS projects has greatly paid off,” Lwevuze says.
He adds: “I now own about 2,200 orange trees on two different plots of land. The Oranges are on a four-acre piece of land where we often do some spot irrigation during the long dry spell between the months of December and February.”
Unlike other farmers who concentrate on a single farming enterprise, Lwevuze has embraced multiple enterprises including poultry, bananas, and coffee-growing to diversify his income.
It is now nine years since he ventured into the Orange farming as a business and the rewards so far are enormously evidenced from the number of visitors who visit his garden for knowledge sharing from within the district and beyond.
According to Lwevuze, it is unfortunate that farmers often shy away from facts regarding the farming business. Many farmers do not want to take risks.
During the dry season of January to March, Lwevuze is able to earn more than Shs400,000 per week from the sale of oranges
“As a catechist attached to Kasana –Luweero Diocese, I have always craved to serve as an example to the flock. We are called to be hardworking and not beggars. I have been able to educate my children through the farming projects where they have actively been participating to ensure that they get skills and be part of the success story,” he explained.
At Lwevuze’s orange farm, he promotes three orange varieties including Valencia, Washington Naval and Hamlin, and his future plans is to have separate plots for each of the variety to ensure better monitoring.
The catechist’s customers are mainly in the local markets of Wobulenzi and Luweero towns including supermarkets and local fruit processors.
On top of growing oranges, Lwevuze boasts of rearing 1,500 poultry birds, cultivates Robusta coffee on about10 acres and four acres of a nice looking banana plantation.