'Tomato business brings smiles to my family'
In northern Uganda, a land of plenty, agriculture is the backbone of the district economy. 90% of the population are engaged in the industry, mostly in cereal crops and some in vegetables.
Dennis Komakech is one such person from the district. He lives in Kona Village and has a wife and seven children.
Despite having experience of more than 20 years in agriculture, mostly in cereal crops and selling to local markets and neighbors, Dennis was still struggling to support his family's financial needs.
“In 2019 I met the East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer team in our village," said Dennis, "They were sharing knowledge on good agronomic practices especially on how to grow tomatoes, and showed us the best tomato variety called Tandi F1. But I did not trust them and I thought it’s propaganda.”
As a self-described rigid farmer, Dennis did not change his practices and ultimately made financial losses. He decided to quit agriculture, believing it was not for him.
He then embarked on the poultry business. But diseases ended up killing his chickens as he could not foot the cost of veterinary medicines and most of the poultry feeds he bought in the market were not good enough.
Dennis was stranded. In 2020, he looked to East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer staff for help. He attended different training sessions and decided to grow the Tandi F1 tomato variety on his 1-acre farm, with supervision from the KT team. He harvested a lot of tomatoes and sold them at a remarkable price.
Dennis at his tomato farm
Dennis said, “East-West Seed Knowledge transfer brought back smiles for my family and respect for my village people. I give thanks to the skills they have imparted on me that has completely changed my life, making me a surprise millionaire. Thanks to Knowledge Transfer team for their support”.
Dennis has a huge influence on the youth in Kona Village, and the majority have started to follow his footstep in growing Tandi F1 from East-West Seed. The market also favors this variety due to its firmness and long shelf life. Dennis is now selling his products to Gulu City, Lira District, and Pader District with good margins on his produce.
Dennis' farm is now flourishing