Charles Tebaijukira former security officer rears livestock and grows coffee, banana, trees and pasture of the Rhodes grass (Chloris Guyana), Lablab and Napier grass varieties, writes Lominda Afedraru.
Mubende District is famous for maize and tea farming, but for Charles Tebaijukira, rearing animals offer the best bet.
Dressed in a black shirt and matching trousers, Tebaijukira, 36, welcomes Seeds of Gold to his farm in Lukaaya village.
Tebaijukira, who worked as a security officer in Iraqi also grows coffee, banana and pasture. More money comes from a fruit seedlings nursery.
“I grow pasture, coffee and banana. I have more than 10 acres of animal pasture of various varieties,” he says, adding that he sells each tonne at Shs1.5m. He started farming in 2012.
Livestock is the main enterprise on his 60-acre farm, with the farmer having 30 exotic dairy cows.
Apart from keeping cattle, he also rears goats and at the moment has 10 Mubende goat breed.
The farmer whistles a popular Luganda song as he milks one of his cows.
The look on his face shows the farmer is enjoying the task.
After he completes milking the first cow, he empties the milk in a can before moving to the next animal.
The exercise takes him more than an hour that evening, and when he is done, he has 40 litres, having milked a similar amount in the morning.
He delivers the milk to a collection centre in the town. He sells what remains to his neighbours.
The about 70 litres are more than six times what he used to get two years ago from the cows.
Over the years, Tebaijukira who started the farm upon return from Iraq, has worked hard to boost their production.
He also got some sensitisation from Community Care for Development Uganda (C-Care) which was implementing innovative agricultural practices in the village.
When he started the indigenous and exotic crossbreeds, were producing a total of 11 litres of milk a day, earning him an average of Shs2m a month.
Today, he is able to obtain 40 litres of milk from the cows on daily basis and he sells 20 litres at Shs20,000.
He is also growing highbred pasture varieties namely, Rhodes grass (Chloris Guyana), Lablab and Napier grass for commercialisation.
He is processing hay which he sells to farmers during dry spells. Hay packed in a full Fuso Diana truck costs Shs1.5m. Farmers who wish to purchase pasture fresh are privileged to do so at the same cost. He is also selling pasture for those who wish to plant the same on their farms.
Tebaijukira is also trying to embrace mixed farming. He has apportioned part of the land for growing coffee and he has planted eucalyptus trees on two and a half acres of land. He is now a model dairy farmer in the village. During a sensitisation exercise, C- care team mobilises the rest of the farmers to learn from his farm and see how he is implementing innovative farm practices. Tebaijukira says he does not regret engaging in farming at a young age because it has led him to success.
Tips on feeding
Cows require quality feeding to sustain increased milk production. Adequate quantity of high quality forage with supplementary concentrates is necessary for cows producing more than 10 litres each time of milking. A good feeding strategy guarantees maximum use of available forage by allowing the cows to graze it or harvesting and conserving it at the prime stage of growth.