In 2014, Paul Omara the Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O) of Ngetta Tropical Holdings retired from the banking sector after an excellent service for over twenty years.
From April 2014 to November 2014, Omara served as the acting Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic Bank Tanzania after growing through the rank.
He also served as the Executive Head personal and business banking Stanbic Bank Malawi.
A year later in 2015, Omara then acquired the defunct Ngetta Cotton Ginnery and established Ngetta Tropical Holdings (NTH) which is an agro processing company engaged in vegetable oil milling and now a fast growing center for excellence in processing pure sunflower cooking oil (Virgin Gold) in East Africa.
Omara’s initiative to establish oil milling plant was to set up a business whose major objective is to bring many peasant farmers into the money economy through providing them with a guaranteed market for the commodity (sunflower) produced.
Revitalizing farmer’s cooperative society
Ngetta Tropical Holdings now has thirty four cooperatives which it helped to form, organize and strengthen their organizational capabilities; with farmers especially the young people getting engaged in the production of sunflower.
The chairperson of Okwang Farmer’s Cooperative Society Limited, Joel Obua, 32, whose cooperative society got over shs.700 million in 2017 from sunflower farming says many people’s lives have greatly improved because of the increase of incomes in their households- thanks to the generous intervention by Ngetta Tropical Holdings Limited.
He argued that in the past many people were devastated and were spending many hours doing unproductive things like drinking alcohol, youth engaged in roaming entire trading centers and gambling, something Obua says is now the reverse.
Youth joins bandwagon sunflower production
Through the cooperative societies, many youth especially in Lango and Acholi Sub regions got inspired to engage in sunflower production and farming after realizing people were earning a lot of money from it.
Benson Ogwang, 32, a resident of Amunga parish Olilim Sub County in Otuke district has planted so far 45 acres of sunflower cultivar Agsun 8251 in the first rainy season.
Okello plans to plant 75 acres by the end of season two. “I have done trials with many cash crops but only realized that sunflower is the only one with assured market and good priced which can increase my income levels,” narrates Ogwang.
“I’m expecting over thirty million shillings this year from my sunflower gardens. I urged my fellow youth to change their mindset and start thinking positively towards farming because it’s a big income earner and self employment,” he urged.
Phillip Okello, 16, a resident of Aloi Sub County in Alebtong district who recently dropped out of school due to financial challenges said he was inspired to grow sunflower after seeing pictures of President Museveni’s demonstration farm in Otuke district which the latter planted sunflower and other crops.
“After the sale of my sunflower grains mid this year, I plan to establish a business and give my brother to run as I go back to school and continue with my studies. With business and more farming next year, it will be my source of school fees,” Okello plans his future.
The NTH Chief Executive Officer Paul Omara believes that with the current trend in production of sunflower, he sees most farmers destined for better livelihood.
Omara says he plans to increase the crushing capacity of his milling plant to enable many farmers produce as much as possible because all their grains would be bought.
“This year alone, we have prepared seven billions to buy all the sunflower grains produced by farmers,” Omara revealed.