How pumpkins have stabilized Nalongo’s household income
Ms. Nakiwala Saniya Nalongo, 60, from Bubanzi village,Nsambya Parish, Kakindu sub-county, Mityana district, has been widowed for 13-years. She got interested in pumpkin farming as a business when she learnt that Mr. Magezi, the chairperson of an organised group, St. Joseph’s farmers group, had registered some successes in pumpkin farming.
The only cash crop that Nalongo had earlier planted on her five-acre farm was coffee, which kept her income levels at bare minimum. This meant that she struggled to pay school fees for her children who were joining university. “I realized that I could intercrop coffee with pumpkin and sell through the farmers group for extra income as I waited for coffee to mature,” she says. “I can now meet my basic needs.
Besides, I wanted to be an inspiration to my daughters by demonstrating to them that a woman can earn income and meet her needs.” Nalongo is one of the members of St. Joseph farmers group, who received training on GAP in 2022. Uganda Christian University (UCU) provided the farmers with initial pumpkin seeds after taking them through training on best agronomic practices such as dormancy breaking by soaking seeds in milk overnight, appropriate spacing, and de-budding of vines.
Based on ths advice, Nalongo harvested 1,000 pumpkins, which she sold at UGX 3,000 (USD 0.8) each, earning her UGX 3 million (about USD 800). Nalongo subsequently bought a smart phone that she now uses to take photos and market pumpkins via social media and to send photos to experts at UCU to seek crop health advice. “The training has enabled me to find a way of paying tuition fees for my two daughters at university and their siblings in secondary schools,” says Nalongo.