By Malachi Motano
Just like any other person would like to make an extra coin, Charles Owino Osiro, a teacher by profession opted for farming when out of the classroom to boost his earnings. In 1997, he was named farmer number one nationally by the ministry of Agriculture during Nairobi Agricultural Trade Fair.

Whereas Muhoroni is considered as a sugar belt, in the recent time, the practice has been in dilemma. According to Mr. Owino, even operations at the sugar production companies like Chemelil, Muhoroni and Miwani have ground to a halt due to cane shortage, management and financial problems.
The dilemma, has left farmers to consider other crops for cash. It has even prompted local leaders to advise farmers to try new avenues even as they continues to support efforts to revive the ailing cane sector.

Leading politicians in the region, are encouraging farmers to intercrop avocado with other crops to help in diversification and end over reliance on sugarcane. Mr. Edwin Ng’ong’a an avacado specialist in the area, revealed that there were one million avocado seedlings ready for planting.

Mr. Osiro who is heading to 60 years ventured into farming activities in 1994 as a side hustle and has never regretted. “I was already employed by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), I just wanted to get an extra coin to support my family,” Osiro said adding that he grows tomatoes, water melons and Sukuma wiki (Kales) on a 6 acre piece of family land.

Sukuma wiki are easy to grow and is the country’s mostly demanded vegetable. Can grow at different climatic conditions. Mr. Osiro who admits that sukuma wiki business is very vibrant both at the rural and in the urban areas, easy to sell and can earn someone a decent living.

According to Mr. Osiro, Sukuma wiki alone has the potential to transform economies and reduce poverty. A large percentage of small holder farmers grow kales hence create employment

For the onions, he appreciates that its farming in Kenya is seeing an upward growth since the country has right climatic conditions, but farmers need to consider best time to plant.

“Bulb onion does well during the short rains which usually last from October to December and harvests in January and February. At harvesting, onions are sold at relatively low prices but when the long rains begin in March, the prices start going up and this the time when the farmers make huge profits,” he says

The teacher also grow water melons “With a growing concern among Kenyans to stay healthy, watermelons are an instant favorite as they are mostly made of water, are plenty in nutrients and are low in calories. Growing watermelons is easy and one can reap a lot of profit from a mere acre of land. They need space to grow because of their vines, so make sure you space them well,” Osiro notes.

Mr. Osiro also grow tomatoes. “Tomato is an important commercial crop for farmers in Kenya. The market is strong, and the crop is relatively easy to grow. It does well in a deep, well-drained soil, should be properly starked especially the high producing and resistant varieties.” he says.

The teacher who considers himself as a small scale farmer, is indeed reaping big. “We started with our local markets like Achego, Chemelil and Songhor but today, even a number of schools around like Achego Girls, before Covid-19 pandemic started, were buying from me,also hospitals and other institutions.

Whereas he sells his produce in the local markets, the increased competition is generally driving Kenya’s vegetable export value down. “I don’t have latest figures but in 2017, the value of vegetables that were exported just in the first half of the year declined by 15 per cent due to increased competition in Kenya’s traditional markets,” Osiro noted.

The same statistics saw the value for fresh vegetables drop to Sh10.79 billion from Sh12.69 billion the same period last year according to the data at Agriculture and Food Authority. The teacher who is now heading to retirements admits that he has benefited a lot from the venture more so at personal level. ”I have benefited a lot. I am proud to have educated three children at the universities, currently there is still one at the campus and two in primary. To me education is the first priority. My family is not complaining,” he concludes.

Share This


Wordpress (0)
Disqus (0 )
× Whatsapp us