From maize to petrol

Gerald Bigirwa recently achieved a lifelong dream: he bought his first car.

The white Toyota is parked on the streets of Imara Village, in Uganda’s Mugarama sub-county — a place where you don’t usually see vehicles.

So how did Gerald reach his dream? By growing maize.

He’s an avid listener of Kagadi Kibaali Community Radio (KKCR), and one agricultural program in particular. Each week, KKCR broadcasts a new episode in a series discussing quality protein maize (QPM), with support from Farm Radio International. This maize variety is rich in protein, making it healthier than traditional varieties.

This series encouraged Gerald to begin growing quality protein maize. “[I] heard people share experiences about how QPM is good, how it is helping to share its economic values,” Gerald said of the early episodes. One farmers’ success can encourage others to try a new technique.

It was hard work to begin growing quality protein maize, but Gerald benefited from weekly lessons learned on the radio program. He learned where to get the new variety of maize, how to plant it, techniques for preventing weeds or pests and when to harvest. The radio program followed the agricultural season.  In the end, Gerald earned enough money from his harvest to buy  his first car.

Needless to say, Gerald doesn’t plan to stop cultivating QPM any time soon. From maize to petrol, it’s a dream come true.

(Story by Megan Stacey)

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