Mr. Kabagambe Stephen emerged as the overall best farmer in Kikuube district during farmers’ competition for the year 2021. In recognition of exceptional performance, the District Production Department awarded him a water harvesting tank of 2,000 litres. Mr. Kabagambe has attributed this milestone to working closely with NARO.
Based in Kanyegaramire village, Kabwoya sub-county in Kikuube district, Mr. Kabagambe started rearing cattle in 2010. At that time, Mr. Kabagambe said that he was plagued by two key constraints namely local breeds combined with poor feed. “I was just taking cattle to graze in the bush. I was not selling milk because it was only sufficient for home consumption,” he recounts.
The tide turned in Mr. Kabagambe’s favour after he attended a training organised by BuZARDI in collaboration with National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) on improved breeding for enhanced milk and beef production. Shortly after the training, Mr. Kabagambe bought a Friesian bull to cross with his local cattle.
During the training, he also learnt about NARO Napier grasses, Chloris Gayana and Bracharia which are excellent livestock forage. Out of the 260 acres of land that Mr. Kabagambe owns, he has devoted 16 acres for pasture cultivation.
Napier grasses and Bracharia in the farm are harvested and processed using a motorised forage chopper as silage and hay for feeding goats and cows.
Mr. Kabagambe mixes hay with water, maize bran and molasses to enhance the palatability and nutritional composition.
He saw an untapped opportunity in producing maize on a large scale for feeding livestock (maize bran) while selling the flour. Last year, he obtained 47,000,000 UGX from the sale of maize flour. In September 2022 when the price of maize was skyrocketing, Mr. Kabagambe had 500 bags of NARO Maize-LONGE 10H which was harvested during season ‘’A’’ 2022. In the second planting season, Mr. Kabagambe has established 60 acres of the same maize variety because of its high yielding and early maturity attributes.
At the time of the visit (September 2022), his livestock section had 100 cattle, out of which 18 cows were milked. With each cow producing about 13 litres of milk daily, Mr. Kabagambe sells 230 litres of milk per day to Kyangwali Dairy Farmers’ Cooperative Society Limited. A litre of fresh unprocessed milk is sold at 600 UGX. This means that he fetches 138,000 UGX daily from milk alone. Mr. Kabagambe also sells cows to meat dealers.
Last year, he amassed 88,000,000 UGX from the sale of 40 cows, each at 2,200,000 UGX. He noted that this is a stark difference from 2012, when he was earning only about 600,000 UGX from the sale of each cow. Additionally, the cow dung is used to generate clean energy-biogas-for cooking. Whereas other farmers are spending colossal sums of money to buy inorganic fertilisers to boost crop yields, Mr. Kabagambe uses biogas waste as manure.
Apart from cattle keeping, Mr. Kabagambe is a renown goat farmer specifically Mubende goats crossed with Boer goats. Mubende goats are coveted due to their twining ability and quality meat (20 kilograms live weight). In February 2021, Mr. Kabagambe won a contract from BuZARDI to supply 37 goats under “Commercialisation of the goat value chain” project and took home 8,325,000 UGX. The farm had 55 goats at the time of visit.
With regards to crops, Mr. Kabagambe has established 3 acres of Coffee-Robusta and Nyasaland. He earned 18 million from last year’s harvest. From three acres of bananas, Mr. Kabagambe gets 2,200,000 UGX monthly. From these enterprises, Mr. Kabagambe pays school fees for 10 children, has built one commercial and two residential houses, bought two vehicles and 11 plots of land in Nyairongo and Kyarushesha trading centres in Kikuube district.