After the field study, he bought 15 beehives from World Vision Uganda at a subsidised price of Shs3000 each. As time went on, he bought 15 more beehives to double the number. “When I was positioning the beehives, I put them close to the banana, coffee and sweet potatoes that bear flowers so that the bees don’t have to move long distances looking for nector,” he explains.

After doing well at beekeeping, the organisation gave him 20 more beehives. When the honey harvesting seasons of March and September draw closer, I feed the bees on maize and cassava flour because they work as pollen grains during honey formation.

Honey and milk
Of the 50 beehives, 30 are colonised. In a season, I harvest two to three jerrycans of honey and sell each between Shs240,000 to Shs320,000. I also package the honey in 500ml bottles which go for Shs10,000 each, mainly the local market in Masaka and Lwengo Districts.

In addition to bee keeping, he grows coffee on one acre, sweet potatoes on half an acre, bananas on two and a half acres. He also has a dairy cow under zero grazing.

“When World Vision gave the cow in 2002, I didn’t have enough land to graze it. I opted for zero grazing and grew Napier grass on which it feeds. It consumes three to four servings of this grass a day and approximately 20 litres of water,” Mugumya says. From the dung, he gets manure for the plantations.

He adds, “It produces seven to 10 litres of milk a day and I sell each litre at Shs1,000. I milk it for approximately 10 months. When a calf is one year old, I sell it at between Shs400,000 to Shs500,000.” What he finds challenging with his cow is when it is on heat, it is hard to get a bull of the same breed.

Clonal coffee is yet another of what he grows on his farm. Mugumya says he generates between Shs1.5m to Shs2m from one season. “From the harvest, I get 10 to 12 bags of 50 kilogrammes each,” he says. “But because coffee has no fixed price, I sell a kilogramme between Shs2,000 to Shs2,500 depending on the market in a given season.”

Meet family needs
With sweet potatoes on half an acre and bananas on two and ahalf acres, he supplements his other income generating activities. A bunch of bananas at Shs8,000; in a month, he earns Shs100,000 on average.

Mugumya adds, “When I supplement this income with what I earn from coffee, honey and milk, I’m able to educate my children.” “My first born completed a nursing course at Mbarara School of Nursing and the second born is in third year at Muteesa I University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication. The third born is beginning university next year and the fourth is in Senior Two. The fifth born is in Primary Seven and the sixth is in Primary Three and the grandchild is in Primary One,” he explains.

Farming is an activity he does together with his wife, and with the proceeds Mugumya has been able to take care of his family.