Agribusiness – Matooke planting

source: http://www.chicamod.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/images_Cuisine_matooke%205.jpg

Green banana called matooke in East 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.

Matooke sucklings

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.

Matooke plant germinating

Matooke germinating

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

This is what I want to achieve a lusuku (vernacular for matooke plantation) with cassava crops in the foreground

 

ready-to-eat
Smoked chicken with cooked matooke (yellow looking paste on the plate), rice, gizzard and greens

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.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/47/4f/b4/474fb4c799c2b6db751b540fb4b020c2--exotic-fruit-tropical-fruits.jpg
The yellow bananas locally known as Ndizi

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.

Mpologoma.

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.

Germinating matooke plant(green banana)

Two week old germinating matooke plant(green banana)

Green Banana(matooke) one month old

One month old matooke plant(green banana)

 

Mixed crops

In the plantation, we have also planted beans.

one week bean plant

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.

 

Bean planting

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

 

Keep at it! Ug is an experience!

Coming from abroad for many of us, returnees, we look like everyone else however, our thought process is totally different from the host citizens. This is understandable because as a Global Nomad, ours is to make sure that we adapt to each situation we find ourselves. We face various uncertainties and also have imaginary fears that we think about constantly.

I made mention of the fears. Some are real and some are far-fetched very real in the mind dynamics. For instance, the fears stem from not having enough funds to make the dreams on the motherland happen to the aspect that as I have no tangible assets I am a failure.

Success in my part of the world, Uganda, varies from which tribe you hail from, as in the pastoralists they will want to see me with a herd of cows and the agriculturalists a modest house with a shamba (farm).

Others is in the number of children and wife or wives.

Either way success is different from place to place within Uganda. As for me success is the ability to follow on a progressive ideal and seeing it through. Having that dream and making it happen now that I am on the motherland that is success in and of itself.

My life journey has been interesting indeed and my youth very colourful. Having been born two years after independence, the country has gone through upheavals from one generation to the next. The one thing that has remained steadfast has been faith in the forms of the various religions and beliefs.

What I have never understood is the aspect of citing God in everything. For instance, when someone is faced with an issue you will hear something like ‘this is how the things of the good Lord move and work.’ What does that really mean? To me it smirks of someone absolving themselves of responsibilities of making things happen. Go out there and hustle if need be however, do not give excuses.

The other is the road or rather driving ethics.  The impunity of the road driving culture and mindset is sapping. It is extremely stressful driving and one gets home with an actual headache.

Mindset

One of the wonders of driving in the city of Kampala is the roundabout. My understanding has always been that when a vehicle is in the roundabout you always wait for the cars that are coming from your right hand side. In Uganda we drive on the left hand side of the road and most of our vehicles have the steering wheel on the right hand side. Anyways the right hand side rule doesn’t count on the city roundabouts. It all depends on the maze and dexterity in how you manoeuvre in and out of that roundabout. For many like me that wait for the cars on the right hand side to pass, the taunts, the hooting and abuse one gets is amazing.

The motorcycles, commonly known as Boda Bodas, are an enigma. It is an amazing way to move in the traffic congestion, however, one wonders if they have any rules that they follow. They ride towards oncoming cars, the ride on road islands, they ride on pavements, on stop lights they keep on riding through the red lights. They are the law onto themselves and they are a cause of many road accidents. Yes, they are convenient, the trouble is that they compete for the same space of road, with bigger vehicles that sometimes do not see the Boda Bodas and fatalities do happen. The referral hospital, Mulago hospital, has created an entire wing just to deal with the accident victims of Boda Bodas accidents.

The anxiety in driving a vehicle in Kampala, comes from the aspect that the Boda Bodas overtake you from the left and right as you are on the road. This can be bewildering because you have to make sure that you do not crash into them.

The other issue is the taxi minibuses(matatu). They too create their own lane either on the left hand side of the road or on the right hand side of the road of the vehicle that you are driving or being driven. They overtake cars even when oncoming cars are driving towards them. The road accidents that we witness in the country are because of such reckless, daredevil drivers, with little or no regard to the lives of the passengers they carry in their taxi minibuses(matatu).

boda-bodas-matatu

Boda Bodas & Matutu in Kampala City, Uganda
Source: https://www-kiva-org.global.ssl.fastly.net/cms//import/fellows_blog_sp_import/boda21.jpg?w=455&h=326

If one is to use the driving culture of the city to gauge the mindset of the drivers, it is chaotic, dare-devil tactics, no regard to human life until it is too late and there is no regard to the rules and regulations of the traffic code. The battles one faces on a daily basis because of Boda Bodas is immense this is because of their strategic force on the political landscape and later regulating them becomes an issue. For the reason that of high unemployment the use of Boda Bodas reduces the statistics of the unemployed hence their political clout. Their organizations are a force to be reckoned with. Woe betide any politician that wishes to do away with them because of traffic congestion. They are here to stay on the political landscape as well as being part of the traffic disorder.