Transforming lives through the amazing power of plants
Judith Bakirya’s business, Busaino Fruits & Trees, sits on 1,064 acres of land in eastern Uganda near the border with Kenya. Busaino is predominantly a fruit farm, set in a forested environment. Despite her commitment and clear business objectives, however, Bakirya’s business lacked an online presence. That changed after she attended the 1st Regional WIEF Web-Reach Internet Marketing Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya in 2012.
‘My business has registered sales growth of up to 45 percent since 2012!’ Bakirya’s mission in setting up Busaino Fruits & Trees was to transform lives through the amazing power of plants. Her business strategies are to produce high-quality and carefully selected grafted fruit seedlings (e.g. avocado, mangoes and jackfruit) for sale; to be the most popular agro-tourism destination; to be a centre of excellence in agro-education; and to provide sought-after herbal products for women.
In the two short years since attending the workshop, Bakirya’s business has grown tremendously. Having an online presence, through her website (www.busainofruits.com) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook. com/BusainoJackfruit), has generated plenty of business and media interest worldwide. She has been featured in New Vision, the leading newspaper in Uganda, on popular TV channel Bukedde – Agataliko Nfunfu, as well as in a farming magazine called Adike Patrike in India.
From an average of three visitors per month on her website, it has now grown to 30, with visitors from as far as Belgium, Germany, South Africa and Malaysia. Her online presence has brought varied opportunities.
In October, the Permaculture Practical Training Institute will be bringing 15 students to build a Permaculture Institute in Busaino Fruits & Trees. A development organisation has also indicated an interest in investing up to one million Euros in her business. In addition, the Netherlands Embassy, in conjunction with the Uganda Investment Authority, has selected her to be part of the Trade Mission to the Netherlands in October 2014.
During the Web-Reach Internet Marketing Workshop, Bakirya had also learned how to list her business on web directories. Through these directories, she found a partner from Netherlands to bring in agro-tourists to experience community life in an African farming setting. This year, the farm received 10 guests. She also established a partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Food Nutrition and Security in the University of Minnesota, US, to bring students every year for their internship – in June 2014, she had 2 PhD students and their professor visit the farm.
Bakirya is now working with an organisation called Triple A (Uganda Chapter) to introduce the Web-Reach Internet Marketing course to the members of Triple A. ‘We will be happy to work with our great teachers from the workshop in 2012 to design a course for Uganda agri-business association members,’ she said.