Agribusiness Beekeeping: A Profitable Home Based Business Every Farmer Should Consider

Beekeeping is among the most profitable agribusinesses in Uganda.

As we continue to celebrate the World Bee Day, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal, Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) takes this opportunity to encourage all Ugandan farmers to take beekeeping as a serious alternative business.

 There could also be other things connected to beekeeping from which you can earn some good money. Below are some of the many ways you can earn money if you start bee keeping at your farm.


This is the most obvious yield from beekeeping and it is a highly marketable product because it has gained popularity among many consumers.

They often use it in the place of refined sugar which makes it a healthier option. You harvest up to five jerry cans of honey from 60 hives.

You just have to put enough water for the bees to make more hone as well as pineapple and yellow banana peels in your apiary so that the bees do not have to go far away looking for them and these help in the formation of sweeter honey.

 You can sell each kilogramme at Shs10,000 when on bulk purchases and Shs1,000 per spoonful.


Bees wax

After harvesting the honey there are combs that remain without honey called beeswax. It is used primarily as a building block for the bees’ honeycomb cells in which the young ones are raised and honey and pollen stored. The wax can be converted into many different products including candles, soap, and lip balm. Beeswax prices can vary widely depending on its quality and colour.

You can sell a kilogramme of bee wax at Shs500 or more. The wax can be used as wax sheets for hive baits, bees wax blocks for sale and making candles, floor polish and skin care products.


Propolis or bee glue is a sticky mixture that honey bees produce by mixing saliva and beeswax with exudate gathered from tree buds, sap flows and other botanical sources.

The propolis is said to have a variety of medical uses including treatment of sores, bone diseases, acting as an antioxidant used in the prevention of cancer, and boosting immunity.

Propolis can be used to treat warts and may help in the treatment of food poisoning. Because of the many advantages, propolis alone ensures a farmer earns more cash than honey. You can sell each litre of propolis at Shs30,000.

Because of its antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, propolis has an outstanding value for a wide variety of illnesses. It is also used as ointments for healing cuts and wounds.

Bee pollen

Bee pollen granules are a “super food” that can boost immunity and provide other health-related benefits such as minimising seasonal allergies, treating osteoporosis, and acting as an antioxidant.

Bee pollen is growing in popularity at natural food stores, health stores, and some drugstores. It can get royal jelly which is the queen bee’s extraordinary source of food.

Other advantages

Plays an excellent role in pollination. Honey bees are the best pollinating agents which help in increasing the yield of several crops like Coffee and many fruit trees.

According to the recent studies, the honey bees’ venom contains a mixture of proteins which can potentially be used as a prophylactic to destroying the HIV virus that causes AIDS in humans.


Agribusiness Gov’t Sets Harvest Dates For Lucrative Vanilla Crop

The Uganda Government has set dates for vanilla harvesting to conform to the international practice.

Addressing the press about Vanilla harvest dates at Uganda Media Centre today, Christopher Kibanzanga, the State Minister for Agriculture, who led a team from the Directorate of Crop Resources, said government is taking precautions on vanilla harvesting because it’s a high value crop especially for the international market.

“We are doing some of these activities together with Uganda Police and Operation Wealth Creation. We are also coming up with laws,” Kibazanga said.


Christopher Kibanzanga, the State Minister for Agriculture addressing the press

He added: “…I hereby declare that the appropriate vanilla Harvest Dates shall be the 15thof June onwards for the first season and the 15th of December for the second season.”

He noted that they have observed each time vanilla prices rise, there are cases of theft; loss of lives, wide spread premature vanilla harvesting which ultimately compromises the quality of Ugandan vanilla. “Worse of all, the vanilla farmer is the most affected party,” he revealed.

He added: We ask farmers to be vigilant as we get close to the vanilla harvesting period. There have been cases of theft the crop and murder of farmers already recorded in Kasese district and others. That’s why we are announcing the official harvest dates.”

He however said the harvest dates is short term measure.

“…we also have long term ones to eliminate those cases,” he said.

Global consumption of vanilla ranges between 2,100MT to 2,400 MT per year over the last 10 years. However, there is now increasing demand for all-natural and organic vanilla from major Global food companies

In 2018, Uganda produced about 300,000Kg of Vanilla and exported 23,000Kg of cured vanilla worth USD 6.40 million.

 “It is not surprising to hear that vanilla is now referred to as the “Green Gold”. This is because of the price fetched from cured vanilla which is higher than the value of one kilogram of silver,” Kibazanga said. In 2017 and 2018, the major importing countries for Ugandan vanilla included USA, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Israel, South Africa, Turkey and Hungary.

Kibanzanga explained that prices for vanilla have been rising over the last few years due to increased demand against very low supply of quality beans.

“In Uganda, prices reached as high as Shs250,000 (per kilogram) in July 2018 for green vanilla beans at the farm-gate,” he said.

 Vanilla is one of the high value crops grown in 25 districts of Uganda, mainly in Central, Eastern and Western parts of the country.

Tycoon  Aga Sekalala, one of the key players in the Vanilla business  thanked government for finally hearing their plea as vanilla farmers and setting dates for harvesting which is an international practice that comes with safety measures.


Agribusiness Top 10 Crops That Earned Farmers Millions In 2018 Named

The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) has released a list of ten crops where farmers last year earned a better price than others.

The list, contained in the new Producer Price Index (PPI) for agriculture released on Thursday, is first-time of its kind by UBOS and the twelfth in Africa. 

It captures the money paid to the farmer without taxes or middleman fee. It further shows that in 2018, farmers of rice, fibre crops like cotton flowers, tropical and subtropical fruits like bananas and plantains, avocado, mangoes, papayas, and pineapples and vanilla, earned more money because their prices went up.

Fibre crops (cotton) and non-perennial crops (flowers) had the biggest jump upwards in prices paid to farmers at 19.7 per cent and 37.2 per cent respectively. 

Cattle, pigs, forestry and fish saw their prices up by more than 3 per cent. Other animals like rabbits and honey were good business for farmers as well. 

Patrick Okello, the UBOS Director of agriculture and environment statistics, said using this index, farmers can get an idea of which crop can bring them business. He also said that depending on this index, farmers can also make a decision on what to and not to plant.

The crops where farmers earned little money last year include cereals like maize (except rice) and leguminous crops like beans and oil seeds like ground nuts. Other crops citrus fruits (oranges, lemons and tangerines). 

Vegetables, melons, and roots and tubers like cassava were also a poor investment last year as their prices dropped by 16.7 per cent. Maize prices dropped by 41 per cent last year.

Beverage crops like coffee, cocoa, and tea also saw their prices drop last year, which means farmers of their crops earned less money.

The prices for sugar cane did not change and due to the contractual agreements that farmers sign with factories that buy them which stipulate the price at which they would be bought.   

On the significance of the index, Ubos deputy executive director Imelda Atai Musana said farmers will be able to know selling crops and where to sell them.

Overall, however, farmers in the country generally earned less money last year. The index shows that the prices of their crops dropped by 9.2 per cent for the year ending December 2018, compared to an 8.6 per cent decrease in the year ending November 2018.

This, the statistics body said, was due to the drop in the prices for crop and animal production segment, and also prices of fishing and aquaculture segment.

The index will be released quarterly and the next release will be in June 2019.



Agribusiness Poultry Business: How To Earn Millions From Layers

Agribusiness has been touted as a sector that will produce the next generation of billionaires across the world given the increasing global population amidst fixed land and climate change menace.

In Uganda, a number of people are increasingly taking on commercial farming. However, some have jumped on this lucrative business out of bandwagon and sheer excitement driven from some exaggerated success stories. This has seen them lose their hard-earned money and abandon farming business.

It is therefore advisable for a new commercial farmer to carryout extensive research before zeroing on which agribusiness enterprise to invest in.

Poultry farming is one profitable enterprise that excited new farmers have made losses from.

However, those who have made research are making a killing from rearing chickens either for meat or eggs. For example, while you can earn as high as Shs17m and above net profit from 500 chicken layers, you can also earn less or make losses depending on how informed you’re about this enterprise.

In this article, we are going to focus on layers/eggs production. Are layers worth it? Can you make money from layers? How do you minimize expenditure and maximize profit?

Godfrey Kigoye, a Senior Trainer at Namugongo based Katende Harambe Rural & Urban Training Centre will analyze for us the business of keeping layers. He has been in this business for close to 20 years now. We are going to use a stock of 500 exotic birds.

Kigoye says a poultry farmer should ensure that the money to feed the 500 birds to the point when they start laying eggs is readily available.

“This is because when layers don’t eat for a day or eats less, egg production falls sharply. Others stop laying and it takes them time to recover from the stress,” Kigoye said in an interview with Business Focus.

One day old chicks (exotic) will cost about Shs1.8m considering that each goes for Shs3700 at current market prices.


Housing should be 15ft width and 45ft length; height doesn’t matter much.  According to Kigoye, this can cost about Shs5m when one uses local materials like timber, chain link, iron sheets and a few bricks,

 This can be deep litre system (you need coffee husks for this system) or cage system (you can have more chickens in the cage system). Coffee husks will cost about Shs200,000.

For cage system, you can have four cages each carrying 120 chickens.

After the poultry house, you need to buy water and feed troughs. You need 20 feeders and 20 drinkers for 500 birds. These will cost about Shs200,000.

Preparation of the brooder

Kigoye says site selection for the brooder is vital.

He advises farmers to disinfect the area and its surroundings, then apply saw dust and place brooding papers on top before introducing in the chicks.

“Curve all the corners. A good brooder should be in an oval form,” Kigoye says, adding that space for ventilation should be provided.

“Disinfect again and warm or heat the brooder, then bring in the chicks,” he advises.

He says they should be given water first before feeds.

“Some lose chicks on day one because they start with giving them feeds instead of water. Give them feeds 30 minutes after them taking water,” he says, noting that water has vitamins.


Kigoye says from day one up to the point the 500 birds are sold off as layers, they will have eaten a total of 30,600 kilograms of feeds. He emphasizes that it is cheaper to formulate/mix feeds at the farm than buying already made ones from the market. For example, when formulated at the farm, a kilogram currently costs Shs600 and when bought it will cost Shs900.  

This means when feeds are formulated at the farm, it will cost Shs18.36m.

When they are bought from the market, it will cost a farmer Shs27.54m.

It is worth noting that at 0-6 weeks, chicks are given chick mash while at 6-22 weeks, they are given Growers mash. At 22 and above, they are given layers mash.

Kigoye encourages farmers to learn how to mix their own feeds in order to cut on unnecessary expenditure.


Kigoye says on day one, chicks are vaccinated against malex. At seven days, they are vaccinated against Newcastle Disease (NCD). At 10 days, they are again given malex vaccine. At 14 days, they are vaccinated against Gomboro while at 21, they are given IBR vaccine.

At 30 days, they are vaccinated against Gomboro and NCD.

At 45 days, they are again given Gomboro vaccine while at 60 days, they are given Foul Typhoid vaccine. At 75 days, it is Foul pox and at 120 days it is NCD and IBR.

After this, farmers are advised to repeat New Castle Disease Vaccination every two to three months. Vaccination will cost about Shs300,000 while workers will cost you about Shs2.16m.

Diseases Control & Management

In poultry just like in livestock, bio-security is key in managing diseases. Bio-security is the management of diseases and pests on the farm.

“One should have water bath points at the entrance of a poultry house. The water should be mixed with a disinfectant,” Kigoye advises, adding that workers should wear overalls and gumboots at all times.

Besides vaccinations, a farmer should have a first aid kit consisting of antibiotics, de-wormers among other medicines to help on emergency situations before calling a Vet doctor.

When it comes to management, extra care should be given to your birds. Eggs should be collected 3-4 times a day not only to avoid breakages and them being eaten by the birds.

A farmer is also advised to carry out a de-breaking exercise when chicks are three months old to avoid pecking.

“It is also a good practice to change litre two times in a year. Coffee husks should be 3 inches deep,” he says adding that they should be turned whenever they get wet.

It is also advisable to provide enough feeds and water in the troughs.

“To avoid wastage of feeds, put one third of feeds in the troughs. If you fill it, some feeds will fall off,” he says.


A farmer is also advised to have a sickroom or an isolation room where sick birds are taken.

“Birds of the same size should be kept together; isolate and put small birds together to avoid competition for food,” Kigoye says.

Record Keeping

Any person in commercial layer business should record every coin spent.

“Record tools and equipment you use on the farm. Also record working capital; when you buy feeds and pay for water and electricity bills, record everything,” he says.

When birds die, record the number and possible reasons why they died. Under good management, Mortality rate is normally recorded at more than 6%.

It also important to record the eggs collected per day.


According to Kigoye, at 6-7 months, birds will have reached egg production peak. Under good management practices, a farmer is expected to collect 390-400 eggs per day.

This translates to about 13 trays per day. It is worth noting that birds can lay eggs for a period of one and a half years under good care. This means that in a year, a farmer will get 4,745 trays (13 trays x365 days).

From one and a half years, a farmer is advised to start selling the off layers because egg production starts to fall. This can go on up to two years.

“At one and a half years, start identifying non laying chickens and sell them for they will be eating without giving you eggs,” he says.


Kigoye says market for eggs is readily available. Locally, eggs can be sold to wholesale buyers in Owino (St. Balikuddembe market), Kafumbe-Mukasa Road, Kisenyi, Nakawa and Nakasero markets. Schools, hospitals and supermarkets can also offer market to poultry farmers.

“The immediate market for a farmer is the farmer himself and the neighbourhood,” Kigoye says.

Regionally, market is available in Nairobi (Kenya), Kigali (Rwanda) and Juba (South Sudan).

Making Business Sense Of Layers

Currently, a tray of eggs ranges between Shs8,000-9,000. Taking Shs8,000, a farmer will earn a gross profit of Shs37.96m from the 4,745 trays of eggs.

Additionally,  a farmer will earn a gross profit of Shs6.75m from selling 450 off layers at an average of Shs15,000 each (they can even be sold at Shs20,000 each).

Kigoye says a farmer can also earn about Shs600,000 from selling poultry litre that is used as manure.

This means that a farmer will earn an average of Shs45.31m from eggs, off layers and poultry litre.

According to Kigoye, for a period of two years, a farmer will invest in the 500 birds about Shs28.82m including Shs800,000 allocated to  miscellaneous expenditure.

This means that a farmer can earn as high as Shs16.49m net profit from the 500 birds for the period of two years (Shs45.31-Shs28.82m). This is when feeds are formulated at the farm.

Kigoye says the profit margin increases in the next restocking because the infrastructure (house) as well as tools and equipment remain unchanged. This means expenditure reduces, thus increasing profit margins.

“For new farmers, the experience gained in the first stock is priceless,” he says, advising farmers to start small and grow big regardless of the capital they have.


Agribusiness Silkworms Rearing Company Launched In Kisozi

The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja has launched Iran Agro-industrial Group in Kisozi-Gomba District.

The company which was established by an Iranian Investor, Seyed Muhammed is dealing in silkworm rearing which he {Seyed} says will fetch the country billions of money within few years to come.

The Minister was accompanied by officials from the Entomology department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry Fisheries, and he launched the company in presence of the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Uganda, Seyed morteza.

Agribusiness Gov’t Reveals New Measures To Increase Coffee Production

The Government of Uganda has revealed new measures and steps being taken to increase coffee production and consequently transform the economy.

The new measures were revealed by Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, the Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries while addressing the press at the Uganda Media Centre yesterday.

The Minister was accompanied by Apollo Kamugisha, the Director for Development Services at the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) which is the Coffee sub-sector Agency of the Ministry.

Ssempijja reminded Ugandans that in April of 2017, President Yoweri Museveni launched the coffee sub-sector roadmap with a national target of reaching 20 million bags of coffee exported per year by 2025.

He added that government has maintained coffee among the 12 Priority Commodities in the Agriculture Sector Strategic Plan and the National Development Plan that was designed to guide Uganda’s development to Middle Income Status.

Vincent Ssempijja Bamulangaki

He noted that by 2014, Coffee generated over $410.1 million which is 31.7% of the agricultural export revenues & maintained its position as the biggest agricultural export from Uganda with fish and fish products in second position, having generated over $134.8 million which is 10.4% of the total.

“Due this continued support and prioritisation of the sub-sector by Government through the Ministry and Agencies led by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority, Coffee fetched over $492 million in the last Financial Year alone,” he said.
This represents a 19.9% increase in value of exports between 2014 and now.

Collaborating With Vietnam

He added that his Ministry has been seeking official collaboration with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam which is known to have experienced an increase in coffee exports from less than 2 million bags in 1991 to 27.5 million bags per year, making the Coffee sub-sector in Vietnam worth US Dollars 3.2 Billion.

“The Ministry was represented in the bi-lateral engagements with Vietnam by Hon. Christopher Kibanzanga the State Minister for Agriculture who was accompanied by Board Chairman and Director for Development Services of the Uganda Coffee Development Authority which is the Coffee sub-sector Agency of the Ministry.  During the engagements that went on from the 18th to the 24th of March 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Uganda was signed,” he said.

The Memorandum of Understanding which was signed by the State Minister from MAAIF and Le Quoc Doanh the Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development covers 14 main areas in the broad categories of Coffee production, animal health and Plant Protection.

Water for production

Ssempijja explained that his Ministry is  stepping up efforts towards promoting increased availability and access to Water for Agricultural Production.

“This is being undertaken through the newly-instituted Department of Agricultural Infrastructure, Mechanisation and Water for Agricultural Production. This Department is nearing completion of new irrigation models for Coffee and the work done through the same Department will be supported by Senior Agricultural Engineers who are currently being recruited in every District,” he revealed.

He added that the Ministry will also reinforce promotion of appropriate use of fertilisers to increase productivity of Coffee.

“From experience in economies that are performing better, application of fertilisers can double the productivity per tree of Coffee. Fertiliser use in Uganda is currently estimated at about 4 kilograms per hectare per year, while in Vietnam it was reported to be about 1,200 kilograms per hectare per year,” he said.

The Ministry, he said, is also stepping up sensitisation of farmers through the Agricultural Extension System that now covers more sub-counties across the country.

“… the Ministry has so far recruited 3,811 out of the initial target of 5000 extension workers across the country. The current extension worker to farming household ratio is about 1:1800. This is an improvement from the initial ratio of 1:5000 in the 2014/15 at the time of reform. The internationally accepted ratio is 1:500,” Ssempijja said.

Government has also  stepped up training and agricultural education through institutions like Bukalasa Agricultural College, the National Farmers Leadership Centre (NFLC), the District Agricultural Training and Information Centres and our Agencies including UCDA and the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) through the National Coffee Research Institute.

“The Minister called upon farmers to work closely with the agricultural extension officers and to join registered farmer groups so as to benefit from bulk marketing, bulk selling and enhanced access to Government services and projects,” he said, adding: “This campaign for increasing coffee exports will continue through the above steps and more programmes being rolled out in partnership with the private sector, the media and development partners.”