I have observed that one of the trendiest things in today’s economy is corporate farming.
Several white-collar professionals that have earned enough savings are shifting to farming as part of their retirement planning.
In fact, it is fashionable nowadays to meet an old friend and the first thing he brags about are the acres of farmland he owns and how lucrative farming is.
Amidst all this showiness, it is imperative to understand that when you have earned enough to live through a happy retirement, the most important aspect is not how much profit you earn from farming, but how well you are doing it to sustain your health as well as the environment and generations to come.
Have you ever paused to think about growing plants or fruits whose most essential role is to improve your health? Incidentally, our forefathers foresaw this and surrounded their homesteads with all kinds of flora that possess medicinal ingredients to fight diseases.
That was before cancer became a big threat to our lives. It is for that reason I set out to tackle cancer head-on through strategic farming.
As of last week, I cleared two acres of land in Masaka purposely for foods and fruits with cancer-fighting properties. It is in memory of my late sister who recently succumbed to cancer. Here, I am not looking at success through profits but through growing plants with the power to fight cancers and other diseases.
You may very well be aware of the fruit nutrients that detoxicate the body or the power of the soursop fruit, popularly known as ekitafeeri, to produce immunity to cancers.
Last week, I found time to pass by the CBS-Pewosa trade fair at Wankulukuku grounds. The exhibition is renowned for showcasing farming products and techniques, among other things. There was, indeed, a variety of plants and fruit seedlings to take away, including those renowned for fighting cancer such as broccoli, strawberries, carrots and, of course, mangoes.
In this internet era where everything is on the fingertips, you don’t need to be a medical professional to know these cancer basics as long as you are not going to self-medicate.
So, I was taken aback when only one person from the dozens of exhibitors was informed enough to explain the various health benefits of these plants and their resistance to cancer.
To most of the exhibitors and showgoers, the biggest selling points were good yields and profits. Health was a by-the-way. As I pondered my next step after taking away more plant varieties, I also wondered whether my fellow Ugandans really take wellness seriously.
I have seen quite many people with expansive compounds designed with pavers throughout. The same people, however educated, know the best restaurants around town but have no single plant in their home. Easy-to-grow plants such as the lemons or mangoes are ignored in preference for ‘designer’ plants that create shade or beautify the compound.
Upon getting unexplainable ailments, they will be forced to buy drugs whose properties are material that can be easily grown at home.
They may also be consuming ‘ultra-processed’ foods that contain complex ingredients. In fact, a recent study by the Guardian, titled Ultra-processed foods may be linked to cancer, showed that stuff such as noodles, ready-meals and cakes were tied to rising cases of cancer due to their high levels of sugar additives, preservatives and flavourings.
That’s why I believe we are living on a time bomb, and the earlier we utilise the natural gift of fertile soils to grow virtually everything, the better.
A leading exporter of fruits to Europe recently told me of how he miserably made losses while trying to market soursop fruit in Kampala supermarkets. But on the contrary, he got a fortune exporting tonnes every month to Europe.
As Ugandans, we should prioritise knowledge and health before anything else. Meanwhile, I’m hoping my farming efforts will set up a model farm for others to pick a leaf from. I don’t plan to look back.
The author is SC Villa president and a concerned Ugandan.