Mawimbi Geoffrey is a 33 year old and a resident of Okol Village, Kal Parish, Mucwini Sub-county in Kitgum District and a father of four. Geoffrey joined Gulu Agricultural Development Company (GADC ) in June 2015 as a lead farmer and later was promoted to Field Officer, a position he serves to date .
Geoffrey used to be a subsistence farmer dealing mainly in millet , cotton , cassava and sorghum. He moved from being traditional farmer after undergoing trainings on organic and commercial farming offered by GADC.
I used to grow these crops on very small scale mainly for home consumption with very relaxed intention for increasing sales, which was done by my wife in the village markets .
At the end, the income was so meager that it could not cover for many house hold needs such as medical bills and school fees.
This alone caused a lot of unhappiness in the family which embedded frustration and poverty.
“This turned me to “ binge ” drinking, hence [an] irresponsible father,” says Geofrey.
Geoffrey joined GADC in partnership with Mercy Corps in June 2015. He received several trainings in production
techniques, business skills and marketing . He introduced other income generating crops like sesame (simsim),
chili, soybean and sunflower under the Transforming Agriculture for Improved Livelihood ( TRAIL) project.
Geoffrey never looked back . He impressed the company by working hard and eventually he was entrusted to become a buying agent . Within the same year, he was pre-financed wit 4.7 million UGX, approximately 1342 USD, earning a commission of 1,610,000 UGX, about 460 USD, and was able to buy 1.630 tons of simsim for the company for a period of 4 months. He later decided to opened an account with Post Bank Uganda Limited- (Kitgum branch). His source of income has widened from growing other introduced commercial crops, “I currently have 1.8 million shillings in my bank account,” he happily mentioned.
Through my increased sales, I have been able to buy a pair of oxen which has in turn increased on the number of acres opened to grow on large Scale from 0.5 to now upto 4-6 acres I used to grow 0.5 acres for most of the crops I was involved in.
My wife, Margret, uses some part for vegetable production. I have also been able to buy one plot of land within the trading center which I plan to put a commercial building for rentals by surrounding people!”
“My 3 children out of 4 are able to go to school Now with the eldest boy being in primary five, the follower goes to primary three and the second last girl in nursery.
My pair of oxen earns me some good money when I hire out for tillage Service. For each acre, I get between 70,000 to 80,000/= on hire. Originally I thought farming was only for providing food for my family because I only viewed sorghum and cassava as food security and cotton as cash crop.”
“With GADC under the TRAIL program introducing the idea of organic and group farming, I have been able to sell simsim as much as 4000/= per kg and chili at 5000/= per kg through GADC. Something I have never imagined before I joined GADC -bravo to TRAIL program , ” Geoffrey said while clapping his hands!“
Most importantly, I and my wife, Margret, live a happy life, no more fighting, children are happy too! Right now she belongs to a VSLA called “Ryemo Can” (chasing poverty).
She even helps look after the animals when [I] am busy in the garden. [It is] the kind of peace and happiness I never dreamt of, especially from heavy drinking, wife battering and no future for my children,” Geoffrey concludes