Afgelopen maart is John teruggekeerd naar Oeganda. In een eerdere nieuwsbrief (September 2015) heeft u al kunnen lezen over zijn voorbereiding op terugkeer. Vanwege met name zijn diabetes was het voor John een moeilijke beslissing om terug te gaan. In onderstaand interview vragen wij hem hoe hij terugkijkt op zijn beslissing om terug te keren. Hij zegt hierover het volgende: “I remember how I struggled to make up my mind. Fear of the unknown, especially when it came to my diabetes management, made it hard for me to decide. But when I decided, everything became clear and all the stress disappeared.”
De rest van het interview kunt u hieronder lezen.

Farming in Uganda
My farm in Uganda

You returned to Uganda in March 2017. How are you doing now?
“I feel fine and gradually settling in Uganda.”

You have sent us some pictures of your first harvest. How did you manage to set up your farm? Which steps did you take after returning?
“First, I consulted farmers who are already growing passion fruits and watermelons, to seek for advice. Secondly, I got a short training in passion fruit farming. I did this with an experienced farmer. I acquired a piece of land which I used to set up the farm. I had to drill up water which has helped me for irrigation especially during the dry periods.”

What struggles did you face? How did you solve these?
“Drought. The drought has hit our area so hard. We haven’t had rain for months. I’ve to keep irrigating day in day out. And even though I managed to set up a shadoof, it’s very difficult and very tiresome to get the water manually from the shadoof. It’d be easier if a water pump is used. I’m still looking for money to buy a pump.
Fake products on the market. There are lots of fake seeds, pesticides, fungicides name it, sold in shops. This at first made me lose a lot of my money. I’ve managed to identify one shop which sells genuine stuff.
Price fluctuations. Prices of farm inputs are never stable in Uganda. This makes it hard for me to budget. Prices for our products also keep changing every day. You’ve no idea of what to expect in the market. I’m still looking for a way of buying farm inputs from and selling my products to other countries.”

How do you look back on the assistance of Solid Road during your time in the Netherlands?
“It helped me in preparing for my return to Uganda. I was connected to various farmers in the Netherlands who shared their advice and experiences. The partner organization in Uganda helped me in buying the land.”

What would you advice to refugees who are thinking of returning to their home-country and starting their own farm?
“My advice is simple. Don’t hesitate, if you’re thinking of it, then do it. Follow your heart. Go into farming only if you’re passionate about it but not for any other reason.
And secondly, consult farmers in your home countries who’re already doing what you’d like to do.”