What else can be expected from Lord`s Resistance Army-LRA commander, Joseph Kony motherland apart from violence and hostility? Here is Kilama the Odek Sub County Chief who has changed the narrative through farming.
OMORO-UGANDA: Way back in 2012 now approximately close to a decade, Patrick Kilama, a 46 years old civil servant and father of five has found treasure in farming.
He is the Sub County Chief of Odek in Omoro district formerly in Gulu district until 2015.
Ten years ago Kilama started investing in tree planting and apiculture. He has so far plated ten acres of Pine Trees and several acres of eucalyptus. As well he has planted 100 bee hives next to Odek Irrigation scheme.
Oyeng Yeng Publication visited the bee farm and discovered worker bees’ busy manufacturing honey.
To fight aridity that threatens his farming projects, Kilama started practicing overhead also known as overhead sprinkler which cost him about UGX 50 Million to establish.
The irrigation project allowed him to extend his farming projects from trees and bees but to tomatoes as well.
He expects to harvest at least 18 boxes of tomatoes from his one acre garden and will supply to vendors at Gulu main market by mid-February this year.
Each tomato box can be sold between UGX 300,000 and 400,000 at the market. The proud farmer also expects huge harvest from his 8 acres of cabbage soon to be mature in late February this year.
‘’ I will get over UGX 400 million from my tomatoes and the cabbages give me at least UGX 300 million. I also expect UGX 100 million from my onions meanwhile the water melons can realize at least UGX 200 million.’’ He revealed.
Kilama has planted several vegetables including four acres of onions, four acres of cabbages, tomatoes one acre and intercropped with water melon on his ten acres plot of land.
He boastfully says he plans to buy a lorry truck after the sale and construct a three bed roomed house next to his irrigation scheme site which is 4 kilometers north of Odek Sub County Trading Centre.
The area is just a stone throw away from the home of leaders of Lord`s Resistance Rebel leader, Joseph Kony.
The irrigation machine composes of six water pump machines, 240 meters water pipes stretching from River Odek to his farm to water crops. The pipes have 18 junctions separated within the plots of crops.
‘’I began opening my farm by slashing and ploughed with oxen three times. This was to let soil get more humus and moisture and clear weeds.’’ Kilama narrated.
Twenty four composed of twelve men and women respectively have been employed at Kilama`s farm as casual workers. They help to transplant, weed, and water and harvest the plants.
Experts like Agricultural specialist are well part of the employees to undertake the irrigation works and advisories.
‘’Bosco Oryem also known as Abapi works as a supervisor in my farm. He helped to disinfect the soil pesticides such as silicon.’’ Kilama revealed.
Oryem told Oyeng Yeng that most workers do not follow instruction and are less acquainted with the machines because they are first timers of agricultural mechanization.
“Look here, this nursery bed by this time at 11.00 a.m you should be watering it, because even if you water the nursery, the soil will get warmer, this people need to take their work seriously. Otherwise Onions seedlings are going to dry up.” Oryem complained.
However the sky looks bright for Kilama, he is still faced by unfertile soil which is attributed to low crop yields.
“If I had known, I would have not planted tomatoes in the garden where tobacco was grown.” Kilama cried.
Ojok P’ Mala one of the worker in a nursery seed bed was formerly an alcohol addict who spent his entire days in drinking joints. He is now working at Kilama`s farm and determined to establish his own.
He says he has learnt how basic farming techniques such as spraying, apart from the weekly stipends he earns from his work.
Ojok who is already in 40`s now plans to marry find a wife.
Another causal worker, Boy Kennedy who is a pump attendant but says work on the farm is hectic because they carry several liters of water daily for watering plants.
Patrick Kilama has planted several acres of trees and invested in vegetable farming. He aims beyond the sky as well as averting harsh climate through which resulted from poor practices such as deforestation.