Many people like tea spiced with ginger, and this has seen the crop increasingly become an income generating activity for many Ugandans.
The crop which popular in Mpigi, Butambala and Mukono is changing lives of many.
Edward Kisubika is one of the farmers making a killing from growing ginger. Kisubika, who is also the Director of Ginger Growers Association located in Nsanja, Ntegeru Sub County in Mukono was born in 1971, but didn’t go far with education due to lack of school fees.
This was after his father died when he was still young.
“I started working while still very young because I lived near a landing site. I took on fishing as my source of income in order to look after my family,” he says, adding that it wasn’t so easy for him and decided to resort to coffee business.
He says he was in coffee business for many years but he wasn’t earning enough money to sustain his family, so he decided to save some little money that he used to buy half an acre of land where he planted coffee alongside vanilla.
He explains that he started earning some good money in this farming business which prompted him to expand his garden, but in 2004 and 2005, vanilla’s prices fell tremendously, causing him untold big losses.
Venturing Into Ginger
It is at this time that he heard about ginger farming from a friend. He started farming ginger and he has never looked back since ginger has a ready market and at a very good price.
He says he started with ginger seeds (planting materials) of Shs100, 000 which he bought from a friend in Butambala district. He planted it with the purpose of getting more seeds since he didn’t have enough money to buy enough seeds which took him another nine months before he could embark on the real planting.
“In a period of a year, I had gathered enough seeds to plant half an acre which did very well due to good soil and conditions,” he says, adding that the harvest was so rich so much that he got enough seeds and sold the extra and made some good profits.
He reveals that he used the profit to buy five acres of land in order to expand his garden. Today, he has built a farm that comprises ginger, cows and a huge plantation of 500 banana plants. He says he sells a bunch of banana at Shs10, 000.
“In a good season, I harvest over 35 bags of ginger of which a bag contains over 100kgs. A kilogram of ginger costs between Shs3, 000 and Shs4, 000; a single bag costs between Shs300, 000 and Shs400, 000,” he says. This means he earns over Shs14m in gross profit per season.
Unlike other crops, Kisubika says ginger is a good crop because it’s not usually attacked by diseases which make it cheap to maintain. It however requires regular rains.
Kisubika says that he was the first person in Ntengeru Sub County to venture into ginger farming, but many people have also joined him, the reason he started an association comprising of over 30 members. This he says will help them get bigger markets and attractive prices both within Uganda and internationally.
“Our unity has helped us develop as well as improve on our standards of living in a way that we are usually called for international conferences in other countries. It has also helped us get market from different European countries,” he says.