Anthea Ndyamuhaki

Kayonza (Uganda)

In a period of less than two years, my country has been through two lockdowns, each lasting more than two and a half months. Because of this, many families, careers and businesses really suffered.

Because of the covid-19 pandemic, I had to go on unpaid leave for two months. Life was difficult – the hotels that we supplied our agricultural produce to closed down, so we did not have a market for our products. I had to find a way to pay my bills. I have people depending on me, so I had to find a way for all of us to survive.

My family and friends were supportive, but I knew I couldn’t fully depend on them to take care of all my needs. I first began by cutting back on expenses. For example, we stopped hiring labour for activities that we could do in our garden, and we found alternative markets for our produce just within our neighbourhood. I also learned to make liquid soap from a colleague of mine, and we sold the soap, which was on demand, to customers.

I enrolled at a colleague’s for homemade liquid soap making during that time. We started making, we branded and started selling and this surely has since yielded well because the demand was good. I appreciate every little thing that we did then to keep us going through the difficult times, because what we did then still counts today.
As a youth agent and farmer at Kayonza Growers Tea Factory, I have been working to ensure that farmers are always updated on any new and relevant information that will help them grow their agribusinesses especially during the pandemic. For example, we reach farmers in their homes and in the tea collection centres, by sharing posters containing information on how they can still manage their tea farms and grow their businesses despite the pandemic. And we plan to continue to work together with the tea farmers in Kayonza throughout the pandemic.