Feature

Ugandan social worker juggles urban tomato farming reaping big


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Matildah Nakanwagi farms tomatoes inside greenhouses as a side hustle that is not only giving her good income but is also complementing her social work job
Mkulima Young correspondent
 
Rows of tomato plants heavy with fruits and grown in plastic bags line up Matildah Nakanwagi’s greenhouses in Masanafu, some six kilometres from Kampala City Centre in Uganda. 
Some of the fruits are bright red, an indication that they are ready for harvest, while others are still green.
Matildah holds one of the fruits and checks how ripe it is before smiling knowing that her clients would be happy with her produce.
An urban dweller constrained with space for farm production, Matilda took the greenhouse route that has enabled her earn handsomely from agribusiness despite her small land.
Her thriving farm that sits on 27 decimals downplays the notion that having a big chunk of land is what one needs to get bigger harvest.
The social work and administration graduate of Kyambogo University said her passion is in greenhouse and urban farming. 
“I completed my degree and knew this is what I wanted to do in my life and here I am,” she says.
Matildah was trained as a trainer of farmers by ISSD Uganda in partnership with Netherlands Wageningen University. 
In the past four years, she has pioneered and trained several farmers in setting up and managing greenhouses, as well as maximising on backyard gardening. 
“Every homestead should have a garden, however small it could be for food sufficiency,” she says.
According to her, urban farming connects people with their roots because they can farm just as they can do in rural areas. 
“It’s an education for children at home as they grow up learning key skills in agriculture,” she offers. 
She notes that it takes a lot of skills to be able to grow food sustainably. “Farming is an art. We need to push up agriculture so that it reaches a level where it is a profession like in the developed world where farmers are respected just as engineers and doctors because the food that we eat is the most important thing in our lives.”
Matildah, a social worker at MCAFs, where she also integrates agribusiness and trains youths, is a consistent user of Mkulima Young platform to market her cherry tomatoes and green and sweet peppers from her greenhouses, as well as training services. 
She believes digital platforms like Mkulima Young provide many opportunities beyond markets, like learning from other farmers’ practices and connecting with extension workers. 
She has received a couple of purchases for her products through the platform as well getting inquiries on her farming practices particularly, on urban farming.
She sells her produce at UGX 8,000 per kilogram of cherry tomatoes, sweet pepper and lettuce. 
“I currently farm on my parents land at our home but I am hopeful that I would soon get my place,” says Matildah, who also engages in backyard gardening.

Click here to buy to buy Matilda's farm produce  here or to chat with her regarding her enterprise.


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Being  a member enables you to sell and/or accessing contacts for buyers seeking products. Also soon you will get regional market trends and prices projection for various agricultural commodities. 




 


... Mkulima Young Team

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Uganda, youth, farming