Ian Kabali, is a 27 year old apple farmer and computer programmer. He is passionate about growing apples and has ventured into changing young peoples minds about farming. He told suburb2suburb.com s’ Janet Olumbe about his passion and dreams for his new career.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Ian Kabali, am 27 years old and a farmer, am also a technology guy. That pretty much sums up everything about me.
When did you start this journey?
I started this journey I think 2 years ago, I met with someone who was talking about apple growing. I had researched about farming in Uganda and I realized farming in Uganda was taking a negative troll. People were, yes, very much hardworking while doing farming but were involved in farming techniques that were not taking them forward so I was looking for that something that I could do that could really change people’s lives and also improve their livelihoods. Then I met some guy who taught me about apple growing so I decided to go and train in tropical apple growing since I had researched and found out that it is possible to grow apples in Uganda and yes apples are very valuable.
What inspired you to venture into this (farming?)
I believe farming is the way forward for Africa and I believe farming can really change people’s lives if done in the right way. That is why I really want to also do part of that. Am also passionate about seeing people’s lives change.
Most people find hardships in such journeys, what challenges have you faced?
Challenges… in Uganda here people think farming is for the old. And also think people like us who have gone to school do not know much about farming so we find problems with society when we go out to do our work. They tend to underestimate us, they do not know that we have learnt what we do. We also practised and we are very good at what we do. So that is one big challenge, stereotype, and people stereotype. They wrongly stereotype and think we cannot deliver yet we have the solutions to most of their problems when it comes to farming.
Besides (farming) what do you do?
Am a web programmer, I develop websites, as well as technology work.
Where do you see yourself in the near future (5 years?)
In the next five years, in the farming line, according to our business planning, we are planning on setting up a winery and installation plant where our farmers produce apples and we provide market for them by buying them back and processing them, adding value to them to make money. So in five years, we look to have a winery and also have very many farmers in Uganda to grow apples.
Currently, what are you working on?
We are working on setting up our base in Buwaya off Lake Victoria which we want to be up by at least the end of the year, we want to have a base where someone can come and get to know about apple growing because people do not believe because they have not seen so much apple growing around. So we want to have a base where people can come and see the possibility of apple growing in Uganda.
We are also working on a website which should be up in a few months’ time as well. So those are the two things that we are currently working on. And of course looking for more customers, reaching out to more people, giving them this knowledge, telling them that it is possible.
Any words to the people.
I would say, if you believe in something, it doesn’t matter whether your neighbour does not. It is you who does believe, it is your belief that can take you places. So if you have something, wake up go chase your dreams and trust me you will make it.