Invetta Model Farm is a fresh look at poverty alleviation in rural Uganda. It puts forward a case for turning rural farmers into entrepreneurs as a way out of poverty.
Invetta Model Farm (IMF), is an integrated community farm that teaches good farming practices. Located in South West Uganda about 150 KM from the capital city Kampala, in Kalungu District in a vibrant green village of Kyamusoke. Kalungu District has an area of 811.6km2 and a population of about 180,000 people. Invetta Model Farm is a demonstration plot, where farmers receive hands-on experience in preparing the land, planting fruit trees, controlling pests and diseases, managing the soil and harvesting the fruits. The model farm is on 6 acres of land, been planted with 160 commercial varieties of mangoes, 45 guava trees, 15 orange trees, vanilla vines,10 macadamia trees and intercropped in different seasons with various crops including birds eye chilies, African white egg plants and tamarillos (tree tomatoes).
Rural farmers grow crops on land between ½ acre and 3 acres for own consumption and sell a little for family needs; have low skills in farming; yields are very low leading to low income. IMF is changing all that through enterprising in integrated fruit farming. As an integrated farm we have fruit trees, grow crops and also carry out piggery farming.
Our mission once fully established is to increase household income of 50 selected families from £300 per year to a minimum of £3000 per year through fruit farming and animal husbandry within the next 3 years. IMF will provide start up subsidized products and services in form of seedlings, fertilizers, training, labour and farm machinery. IMF will purchase all their fruits at a higher than average market price. IMF is going to be processing all its fruits into high value fruit concentrates for export. And also add value on pork. Most of the fruits in Uganda are sold in local markets, but processors and export markets represent key opportunities for growth. Our current project is to make Invetta Model Farm a fully functional model farm with resources to spread fruit farming and piggery husbandly in Kalungu District.
My name is Peter Senfuka, the Founder of Invetta Model Farm. I left Uganda and migrated to the UK in the 1990s. I am an Accounting & Finance graduate from South Bank University, Business School London. Agribusiness is my passion. I managed to return to Uganda in 2006. Situation had marked improvements in the urban areas of the country. But not so the case with the rural areas.
On my second visit to Uganda in 2008, is when I had a chance to visit my ancestral home of Kyamusoke in Kalungu District (formerly part of Masaka District). That’s the most familiar village I know in Uganda. I was born there. It is no exception from the rest of the villages in Uganda. I found life was far worse than I last saw it 15 years before. In fact it was desolate! Banana gardens which were the main stay of livelihoods were destroyed by banana wilt; coffee, another commercial crop had also been attacked by disease. Not to mention members of the community who had succumbed to illnesses. Other members had left for the towns. However, the population is now mainly composed of the youth and the very old.
By chance some land my late dad had left for me had been reserved all that time! About 4 acres of land. That’s when the idea of Invetta Model Farm came along. I realized I could do something on this land to breathe life in this community! My conclusion being establishing a nucleus model farm. Transforming rural farmers into agricultural entrepreneurs.
From then I realized my mission is to confront and offer solutions to rural poverty by initiating sustainable commercial agriculture in the community via education and outreach. The Invetta Model Farm is now acting as a nucleus project to inspire, instruct and illustrate what a successful agribusiness in a local African setting should look like. I work as Founding Director of Invetta Limited, incorporated in the Republic of Uganda in August 2007.
After extensive research and consultations and interaction with major agricultural research institutes in Uganda, including Kawanda research institute, Makerere University and various agribusiness practitioners and major fruit processors like Britannia, I felt I was ready to start the project. First phase of my farm activities on the model farm was between 2011 and 2013. Over that stay in Uganda, of almost two years I mastered whatever personal resources I had and with the help of friends and family launched the integrated model farm with fruit tree planting. Second phase of my contribution has been between 2014 and 2016. Invetta Model Farm is still work in progress; I would like you to be part of this exciting journey.