Uganda’s Green Gold, Fostering Sustainability and Prosperity through Agrotourism
A green revolution is taking place in the center of Hoima City, amidst the beautiful surroundings of the Bunyoro subregion. The 400-acre Bwendero Hass Avocado Orchard serves as a symbol of Uganda's foray into agro-tourism, a promising endeavor that not only links farmers with global markets but also makes a significant contribution to economic development.
Under the direction of Director John Magara, Bwendero Farm was founded in 2022 and began growing avocados with the goal of entering the global market. Because of the farm's commitment to growing high-quality avocados and Magara's understanding that volume is essential for luring foreign customers, Uganda is now seen as a prospective player in the world avocado market.
Bwendero Farm encountered difficulties while learning from Kenya's prosperous experience with avocado exports, with irrigation being a particular roadblock. Although Magara is aware of the underappreciated complexity and cost of irrigation, she is confident that once dams are in place, avocado tree watering will become more effective, providing a steady supply.
The farm's dedication to innovation extends to the grafting procedure, which marries Ugandan seeds with Kenyan Hass to produce a special blend of avocados. The farm forecasts outstanding yields with 110 trees per acre, ranging from 300 to 400 kg after 3 years to a significant 800 to 1000 kg after 5 years. This not only increases the demand on a global scale but also opens the door for a growing agro-tourism industry.
Martin Mugara Bahinduka, Uganda's State Minister for Tourism, emphasized the importance of agro-tourism in diversifying experiences as the country works to increase domestic travel. The Discover Bunyoro program goes beyond avocado farming and includes cattle grazing in Mbarara, in keeping with the area's long-standing dairy farming traditions.
Minister Bahinduka emphasizes the interdependence of agriculture and tourism by saying, "Agriculture, as a separate component, is part of tourism." The entire process, from planting to harvesting, is visible to visitors at agrotourism locations, providing an immersive experience that goes beyond traditional tourism.
It is more than just a farm; the Bwendero Hass Avocado Orchard is a tourist attraction. The orchard encourages visitors to enjoy the thrill of agriculture amidst the calm beauty of Bunyoro with well-maintained roads appealing to motor vehicle racing fans.
Beyond its visual appeal and experience value, agrotourism has a significant economic influence. The price of 1 kg of avocados on the international market, which averages Shs3000, has the potential to greatly increase local farmers' earnings. This highlights the economic potential of agro-tourism together with the avocado industry's rise from just over four tons in 2013 to a stunning 469 metric tons in 2020.
As the world considers the issue of tourism and green investments as highlighted on World Tourism Day, Uganda's agro-tourism shines a light on how sustainable agriculture methods may spur economic growth while protecting the natural beauty of the land. In addition to providing revenue, avocados serve as a representation of Uganda's transition to a greener, more sustainable future.