Making farming trendy and reaping big

Daily nation

Posted  Wednesday, February 29  2012 at  17:11

His insatiable passion for agriculture led him to farming as a part-time income-boosting activity last year. On his three-quarter acre piece of land, Mr Ngugi built a 20-by-21 square metre greenhouse by last December and sowed the Anna F1 tomato variety, known for high productivity.

He spent about Sh550,000 on the greenhouse structure, agro-chemicals and the set up of a 70,000-litre capacity rain water harvesting system as his farm does not have piped water.

After planting in December, the crop will be harvested in March and will go on for the next eight months. He expects to earn a gross income of about Sh1.5 million in the first season.

Ngugi also plans to plant 1,000 seedlings of water melon in August, which he projects will earn him Sh100,000 in three months. By then, he hopes to have expanded his water storage capacity by another 40,000 litres.

He is also in the process of acquiring a five-acre piece of land to put up more greenhouses to grow vegetables and fruits.

For him, it is a passion for farming that moves him, adding: “My construction job will change to become part-time so that I concentrate on doing what I love most.”

MARTIN KINYUA, 35, Accountant

Long before he joined Vision Institute of Professionals to pursue a diploma in accounting, Mr Kinyua was already growing vegetables on his father’s farm as an hobby.

He later resigned from his managerial job at a logistics firm and set up his own logistics company — Samara Movers. Inspired by the urge to make extra cash, he ventured into agriculture in 2010.

It is the yawning mis-match between demand and supply in the fruits market that made him major in passion fruits as the subject of his farming endeavour on a three-acre piece of land that he bought with proceeds from his logistics firm. From an acre, he earns Sh500,000 for each of the three harvest seasons in a year.

The 35-year-old raises about Sh4.5 million annually and provides employment to five people, with the least earning a salary of Sh6,000 a month.

According to him, the only way to make it in agriculture is by maintaining a hands-on workforce and management; but more importantly, assessing the availability of markets for your products before starting out.

“The biggest challenges in passion fruit farming are pests and diseases, which we overcome through the help of agronomists,” he says.

A few months into her job as a purchasing officer in a modern hardware retail-chain, Ms Nyaga’s passion for farming lured her into agriculture… and this is where she has eked her living since then.

A few months into her job as a purchasing officer in a modern hardware retail-chain, Ms Nyaga’s passion for farming lured her into agriculture… and this is where she has eked her living since then.

The graduate of Biomedical Science and Technology from Egerton University in 2007 says, “there is no venture that can give as good returns as agriculture. I am ready to remain a farmer for the rest of my life.”

On her father’s 20-acre piece of land, she dedicates three acres to watermelon farming through irrigation.

In a year, she manages two major seasons, which are well planned so that they peak at a time when the rain-reliant growers are out of season — a move that earns her optimum prices.

In a good season, each acre produces over 20 tonnes of watermelons. Usually, a kilogramme of the produce goes for between Sh20 and Sh25.

This translates to about Sh1 million in earnings — an impressive accomplishment in just three months.

On her future plans, Ms Nyaga intends to develop a cattle ranch to rear an estimated 100 beef cattle for fattening.

She is also warming up to the idea of opening a fresh produce business centre in Nairobi by August.

Her business prowess doesn’t start and end with farming. Ms Nyaga runs an event-planning and recruitment business — Iko Kazi Ltd — with a partner.

At just 27 years, Ms Ann Nyaga is a budding millionaire whose success story is worth emulating, thanks to agriculture.

DOUGLAS KANJA, 27, IT Professional

A trained Information Technology expert, who is a manager at an IT firm in Nairobi, Mr Kanja mints millions of shillings annually from his two-acre Eden diary farms in Kimende, Limuru — as part-time business.

Currently, he owns a herd of 150 cattle and supplies milk to Brookside Limited, a local milk processor, earning himself a fortune.

In his herd, about 80 cows are milked each day, producing 25 litres of milk each.

Currently, a litre of milk is going for Sh30. This earns him a gross monthly income of about Sh1.8 million.
Hard work, consistency, dedication and patience have been key to his success.

“It has also been very helpful keeping in touch with those who have succeeded in this nature of business,” he says.

He plans to boost his herd to 1,000 in the next two years, whereby each cow will produce 40 litres of milk daily.

He is already working with a consultant from the US to start doing embryo transfers.



12 thoughts on “Making farming trendy and reaping big”

  1. These are quite moving anecdotes. Bravo to the creators of this site. My name is Mwandiki and I work with CIC INSURANCE. Is it possible to get contacts to Mr. Ngugi and Mr. Kanja. I would like to make product awareness about our products that can help them secure their worthy investments. Thank you.

    1. Am interested in daily farming. Can I get list of daily farmers in and around Nairobi, there location and contacts. I would like to start visiting them as early as today. Starting with Mr. Kanja of Aden farm, Kimende and the husband and wife at Ruiru? Kindly assist. I don’t want to start ignorantly.

  2. I am very much encouraged after reading this, i am 38 years old and i have a 24metres by 6 metres green house and i would like to try growing melons. Water is not a problem for i do have a well with enough water . Please advice me on how to go about it and get good returns.
    I have also started pig farming but still in small way due to capital challenges.
    I have been very encouraged by the 3 young farmers who are making a lot of money out of farming.
    My plot is 1/4 acre.

  3. An interesting forum. For those aspiring to grow tomatoes, am an advocate and practicing soilless grower though small scale. I use saw dust due to its easy availability. Should soil priblems be a prohibiting factor, this is the way to go. Contact me at OR 0712008795

  4. brave to my fellow young guys who have taken the courage to develop through farming, have been moved by all of them, in there any way we can get in touch all of them of watermelon and tomatoes.

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