The Kaduru’s grow passion fruits in Fort Portal as a business and as means to boost women and girls incomes
Rebecca Kaduru and her husband grows passion fruits on their farm in Fort Portal as a business and as means to boost women and girls incomes.
Rebecca Kaduru thought she had found success in the white collar job market. After studying Masters of Arts in Political Science on fellowship at the American University in Cairo, she moved to Uganda in 2010 to work for a non-governmental organisation climbing her way up the corporate ladder to become the director of public affairs at Ipsos Uganda.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, and now married to Eric Kaduru, she never imagined that at one point will wear gumboots and stroll along the farm in an overall.
“Farming is such a risky venture but I chose to take the risk with the support of my husband and business partner who owned dormant land and pushed me to give it a try,” Rebecca says.
Her turning point into farming was after carrying out a study on Uganda’s agriculture sector that showed that majority of the population grew foods mainly for home consumption.
“We were informed that more than 70% of households in Uganda grow food on a subsistence basis only which means little or no income,” she said. “Because of this, farming is not seen as a business, but rather a chore delegated to women and girls.”
Armed with passion to also help women and girls become economic drivers of their communities, Kaduru says her husband interested her into farming with the establishment of a commercial farm, KadAfrica, in 2011 using a business loan obtained from Mango Fund.
The farm is located in Fort Portal, nearly 300km west of Kampala. While the couple owned over 22 acres of land growing mainly onions, tomatoes and green pepper they decided to venture into passion fruit growing as a result of price fluctuations of the former commodities.
Also, the passion fruit vines grows above ground on poles, leaving land open for ground dwelling crops that farmers can feed their families while generating income through a surplus of passion fruit.
In 2013, the duo chose to fulfill their dream of helping women and girls that nearly drove them out of farming.
“We had a hard time finding people to work on the farm as many would disappear after being paid which led to a high turnover,” she says.
“Women started approaching us with a model that required them to work on the farm and be paid in terms of pay school fees for their children or shopping for basic needs claiming they would have no control over their money.”