Bishop Samwel Kitula continues to inspire young people to venture into farming as time and again it has proven to be a lucrative venture. The Bishop, considered by many as a great leader, is revered as he always seeks to empower those around him and thus is often surrounded by a lot of young people keen on learning from him. These young people nevertheless don’t own the factors of production- land- despite them being active and keen on participating in food and nutrition security campaign.
It is on this backdrop that the Bishop decided to share some portions of his land with several members of his congregation and moreso the young people who were struggling to lead meaningful lives in order for them to engage in productive farming. His expertise on issues agriculture as well as his entrepreneurial abilities have enabled him to empower his congregants and community at large.
“It is important to build capacity of people around you. I have given some members of my congregation some land so that they can lead meaningful lives. Whence they farm well and get bountiful harvests, they understand the importance of tithe and many remember to tithe after the harvest.”
James Japheth is one of the beneficiaries of Kitula’s kindness. He was given some land which he has been able to plant some cucumbers that have brought him fortunes. James who had gone to the city to look for employment was unable to gain any meaningful employment as he is a standard 7 drop out and was convinced by Bishop Kitula to come back to the village to farm which he says he doesn’t regret. “Farming satisfies me and I am grateful to the Bishop. I am able to support my family and my parents too,” he notes.
“I have planted cucumbers in ¼ acre of land given to me by Bishop Kitula and the crop has done well and enabled me to get some good money. In the 1/ 4 acre piece of land, I planted cucumbers and I was able to get Tshs: 800,000, approximately USD 400. My expenses are about Tshs 200,000 USD 100.”
Cucumbers take 2 ½ months to mature before one can start to harvest. Once harvesting has commenced, one continues to harvest after every 3 days and this is done for a month. James notes that the market is readily available as the local one known as Buhongwa has many traders willing to buy from him. He notes that with the profits made from his cucumber venture, he would like to expand his farming and even start another business which he is still strategizing on.
Bishop Kitula’s farm which is used for demonstration purposes for communities and congregations has variety of food crops planted as part of the OAICs food and nutrition campaign. He has 8 mango trees which have yielded well. His neighbours too have mangoes and the Bishop notes that they are strategizing to see how they can ensure value addition for the fruit which often goes to waste when in plentiful.
Bee keeping is also part of the farming activities in the Bishop’s farm. He has about 6 bee hives. “I harvest honey after 6 months. Once I’ve started harvesting, I continue to harvest for the next 3 months. We harvest twice per year. We lower the hives from the tree as night and wear protective cover before harvesting. I get about 25- 30 of the 1 litre bottles in one harvest. One litre goes for approximately Tshs 10,000, USD 5” he notes. From his last harvest he got approximately Tshs 700,000. In that year he got Tshs 1,400,000 USD 700. Kitula notes there’s sufficient market for the honey in Tanzania.
The Bishop farm also has 7 fish ponds. He is currently researching on a technology that allows growing of rice in fish ponds.