It has been a five-year journey to relocate to Africa. There have been highs and lows, plenty of fears and sleepless nights. Alas the time has come and voila I am waking up in a strange bed but at least I am on the motherland Africa.
The motherland is amazing. After the relocation, orientation change as well as career change the whirlwind of change sweeps me off my feet. The mindset being different there is need for me to modify my expectations and learn to adapt.
I have modified my expectations by venturing into agribusiness. It is my first time and I am willing to learn through mistakes. The crop of choice is the plantain – green bananas called matooke that I have started to plant.
I have discovered that there are many advisors as per different type of matooke grown. Rather than mix and match, I will plant 100 sucklings from different suppliers. This is to enable me to learn which type of matooke is best suited to the type of soil at the property that I am using to plant the crop.
Green banana – matooke sucklings
I am excited because in the case of anything agricultural you can see it grow. I know when it needs to be sprayed. I know when I need to dig it slightly to do away with the weeds. What I have not reckoned with are the pests in the form of monkeys around the area. I have started to cut down the trees for two reasons. One is for the matooke to get light for their photosynthesis and the second is to reduce the damage the monkeys do to the growing matooke plant.
Yes, the time frame given to start seeing some real matooke crop is a year. I feel that this is a good time for research and development. Good time to learn and see if I can increase the acreage of the matooke plantation from an acre to two acres. It does involve proper attention as the matooke starts to grow and I am looking forward to that aspect of things.
This is what I want to achieve a lusuku (vernacular for matooke plantation) with cassava crops in the foreground
The idea of the agri-business comes in this way. Once the plantain has grown some will be used for home consumption and the rest for sale. I envisage using some of the matooke crushing it and creating a flour that can make home based cookies and biscuits.
In the matooke plantation there are some yellow small bananas that have been planted. These ones we are to try and see if we can make the local brew called mwenge bigere (banana wine). It is a sweet wine however, it is very potent and can be very deceptive because of its sweetness.
This is a totally new avenue to what I have been used to and a major career change. The advantage is that the matooke plantation is at home and all I need to do, is walk to the plantation, to tend too it.
The plantain we chose to plant is called mpologoma from Luwero and Ndizi from western Uganda. Mpologoma has bigger fingers which in turn brings in more money because of the size of the matooke bunch. It grows well in the wet season and this year of 2017 we are being blessed with plenty of rain.
Two week old germinating matooke plant(green banana)
One month old matooke plant(green banana)
In the plantation, we have also planted beans.
One week old bean plants
I am not sure why it is that in a lusuku (matooke plantation) it is advised to do mixed planting. In my naivety, I would think that all plants would compete for the soil nutrients, rain and sunlight. Nevertheless, because of the spacing done in between the matooke stems it lends to the planting of the bean seedlings. This is done prior to the mulching stage of the land around the matooke which starts in 6 month’s time.
A month after the matooke planting this is the current result together with two weeks old bean plants.
The project is getting very exciting because the rains have come this 2017 season in comparison to last years 2016 season. The results are encouraging. The beans take two months to mature hence harvest. Whereas the matooke take a year to fully grow and have the bunch to harvest.
So much to do so little done the plantation is growing in leaps and bounds
I am an African male, that has lived on three continents, a resident of the United Kingdom and a native from Uganda. I am an Alumna of Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu, Hawaii – USA and hold a Masters degree in Business Administration(MBA) concentration in Finance.
The reason I thought about writing this blog happens to be that doing my research to return home to Uganda, there wasn’t enough information in the cyberspace to help me prepare myself to the mine field I faced.
I found this improbable so decided to write a journal about various topics I witness and face because as a global nomad I realize my perception which is my reality is totally out of sync with those of my sisters and brothers from the motherland Uganda.
Enjoy the maze that I find myself in as I go around moving from one obstacle to a challenge and getting that aha moment with a solution.
Karibu (Welcome on board). Fasten your seat belts and join me on this journey.
The pitfalls and insights
My topic of reference being a returnee back to the motherland, the pitfalls, the insights of what one should do before returning and as we all know if you do not plan then it means you plan to fail. Too many managerial clichés. Right.