Sunflower Farming: How Farmers are minting money.

In 2014, Paul Omara the Chief Executive Officer of Ngetta Tropical Holdings retired from the banking sector after an excellent service of over twenty years, at the time of his retirement he was the acting Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic Bank Tanzania after growing through the ranks.He also served as Executive head personal and Business Banking Stanbic Bank Malawi and head of sales Standard Bank group Africa.

Omara AND Jakaya KikwetePaul Omara(Left) and Former Tanzanian President Jaka Kikwete 2nd Right pose for a photo with other Stanbic Bank Staff in 2014.

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 arguably the 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 would be to bring many peasant farmers into the money economy through providing them a guaranteed market for the commodity (sunflower) produced.


Ngetta Tropical Holdings now boasts of 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  got over 700 million shillings 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 intervention by Ngetta Tropical Holdings. He argued that in the past many people were devastated and could spend many hours in doing unproductive things like drinking alcohol meanwhile the youth engaged in roaming trading centers and gambling which is now the reverse.


Through the cooperative societies, many youth especially in Lango and Acholi Sub regions got inspired to engage in sunflower production after realizing people were earning a lot of money from sunflower.

IMG_20180531_111616.jpg    Youth of Okwang Farmers Cooperative Society at one of their demonstration plots.

Benson Ogwang (32) years, a resident of Amunga parish Olilim Sub county Otuke district has planted so far 45 acres of  sunflower cultivar Agsun 8251 in the first rainy season and says he 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 has good price which can increase my income levels” narrated Ogwang.

IMG_20180612_133023.jpg                                                        Benson Ogwang at his farm.

Ogwang said he is expecting over thirty million shillings this year from his sunflower gardens .He urged his fellow youth to change their mindset and start thinking positively towards farming because it’s a big income earner of creates self employment.

IMG_20180612_131455.jpg  Richardson Oyol left cooperative leader of Olilil Acan Kwete with Benson Ogwang.

Phillip Okello (16) years a resident of Aloi sub county 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.

Okello says after the sale of his sunflower grains mid this year he plans to establish a business and make his brother run and he would move back to school as the business and more production next year would be his source of fees.

The Chief Executive Officer of Ngetta Tropical Holdings Paul Omara believes that with the current trend and production of sunflower he sees most farmers are 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 will would be bought.

He says this year alone he has prepared seven billions to buy all the sunflower grains produced by farmers.

Ngetta Tropical Holdings is currently working with thirty three cooperatives with a network of 24000 farmers in Lango and Acholi sub regions.