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How primary school teacher earned over shs20m from growing tomatoes

Serere, (UG): The majority of Primary school teachers across the country are fighting hard to solve their problems with the meagre monthly salary of around Shs480,000 for a grade three teacher.

However, this seems not to be the case for Madam Jacinta Agoe of Alos Primary School in Kateta Sub-county, Serere district whose venture of growing tomatoes and onions within the school-land under the help of the Ministry of Water and Environment has started to yield sums of money.

Speaking to this publication, Ms Agoe revealed that she was recruited as a grade three teacher in March 2022 but she spent nine months without any single salary and the only thing that helped her was growing tomatoes while teaching.

Ms. Agoe with five other teachers formed their group named ‘Teachers at Work’ and benefited from the solar-pumped irrigation system which the Ministry of Water and Environment constructed in the area, and the system has since changed the lives of many farmers making use of it.

She said the Ministry advanced to them three million shillings that helped them to clear their land, and buy seeds for tomatoes, onions and chemicals.

On their first harvest, Ms Agoe says the tomatoes and onions earned them Shs22 million.

“My dear when we got that money the sky was the limit for me who had spent nine months without salaries, we distributed that money among ourselves and, as for me, I rushed to the cattle market and bought two bulls that am now using for ploughing at my home,” Ms Agoe explained.

She adds that the other part of the money was saved in her personal account and they have also put aside some money in the group account for other emergencies like buying chemicals and so on.

Ms Agoe in her tomato garden

Ms Agoe couldn’t hold her excitement and so far they have again planted tomatoes, onions and eggplants which are expecting to get shs 30million.

The irrigation system which cost the government nearly shs1bn has so far benefited about 50 farmers others are growing citrus oranges, mangoes, and pawpaws.

Mr. Amos Ocola the LC3 chairperson of Kateta Sub County has advocated for more farmers to be connected to the system for the community to develop.

“This is the only irrigation system that we are proud of as people of Kateta and am appealing to the ministry and government to help us with more of such systems so that we can continue producing food,” Mr Ocola said.

Serere district remains one of the food basket districts in the entire Teso region and Mr Ocola says that as long as such systems are in place it will help to boost the farming.

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