Village economics

I was recently in the village to attend a burial. My village is deep in the newly created Buyende district near the famous Kagulu rock hill. After burial I scouted the area for any money opportunities. In the local trading center I saw many small shops. These shops mainly sell basic household essentials like salt, food, cooking oil, toilet tissue, soap, soda, etc. I saw a couple of butchers trading meat. If you want to make money in villages sell basic commodities which people need.

My village now has power thanks to government rural electrification efforts. However many people are yet to be connected. I saw a welder who had set up shop. There were also three new maize millers in the center. And I also noticed a few local shops with new fridges to supply cold drinks.

The internet connection is wonderful and I could easily transact business on my phone. Mobile money services are also readily available. I also saw a few bank agents. There are no ATMs yet. So I made sure I went with cash.

The brands available in villages are usually different from town. For instance I could not find Rwenzori mineral water, Coca Cola or Fortune cooking oil at one shop. Instead I found Emeera mineral water, Riham Cola, and Star cooking oil. The alternatives are usually cheaper and packed in small affordable packs.

I saw a boda boda stage. The bicycles have slowly been replaced by motorcycles. A shop for spare parts had sprung up and a couple of mechanics were now in the bicycle repair business.

The road to the village is a 40km stretch from Kamuli district. It is a fairly well done murram road. A couple of taxis ply the route. For expendiency many people would rather use motor bikes. So the boda boda business is booming.

The rolex stands were busy churning out cheap street food to the bypassers. A few makeshift restaurants were also offering cooked meals.

Water is still an issue. So a lot of man hours are lost queuing at the only borehole in the trading center.

Food has since been commercialised. Many homesteads are nolonger growing their own food. So they have to buy posho, beans, rice, etc. from the local shops. This has added more pressure on the meagre incomes of the community. Trade in food commodities is now very profitable.

Next I headed to the village market. This a flea market which is set up once every two weeks. Traders from the region descend on this market bringing all sorts of goods for sell. The locals in turn bring to the market goods for sell. They also buy some of the goods on offer. The market day is a special day and the whole village seems to show up. The main trade is livestock (cows, goats and sheep). Trucks from as far as Kampala come all this way to buy cheap livestock which they take back to town and trade at a higher price. So if a household has a few cows and goats they can easily escape the poverty trap. I also saw some second hand clothes competiting with cheap chinese products.

I saw people holding large bundles of cash after a good day of trading. It then dawned on me that there is money to be made at the bottom of the pyramid.

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