A young farmer makes a fortune in growing vegetables

A young farmer makes a fortune in growing vegetables

In the semi- arid lands of Kajiado County, is a young man Amos Mwangi who has found greener pastures in growing different kinds of vegetables to satisfy the insatiable demand in the market. Before venturing into vegetable farming, he had a short stint in poultry before the enterprise collapsed. He opines that he has always had a passion for farming as it has been his family’s mainstay

Mwangi has specialized in production of capsicums, kales and spinach and is making a tidy sum from growing these succulent crops. He ventured into vegetable farming after learning of the high demand of the crops in Kajiado and beyond. He joyfully narrated that he makes slightly above Ksh 10,000 on weekly basis which on month basis translates to quite a good amount which is able to sustain him and the farm all together.

“Armed with a seed capital from my savings, I prepared the seed bed, purchased the requisite farm inputs and installed a 5,000 liters’ tank which acts as storage for water I use for irrigation,” he explained.

The first step to producing vegetables is to choose the varieties you want to grow as per the market demand and proper preparation of the seed beds. One has to meticulously follow the laid down procedures of planting the crop which is quite demanding. For a start he had to contract an agronomist who advised him to carry out a soil test of the farm before embarking on the actual planting.

The farm location is near Isinya town in the pastoral lands of Maasai herders. He gets manure which he uses to plant his crops from the herders. His farm is majorly organic but he incorporates fertilizers to boost nutrient levels of the soil for better development of his plants.

He advises that for the crop to generate well, the crop should be well spaced. The seeds are first planted in a seed bed for a period of 30 days before they are transplanted.

Despite some challenges in his first harvest, Mwangi fetched a profitable amount from the crop he had planted on a small portion of his land. This, he says, motivated him to invest more in farming.

Determined to scale up production, he has sort help by employing 10 workers who assist him in planting, weeding and harvesting. He asserts that the location of his land is among flower farms and if one doesn’t take good care of laborers, they move to where they are taken care of.

“We draw water for irrigation from a neighbor’s borehole which we pump to this place but we are at advanced stage of drilling our own borehole which will be very helpful to us during dry spell which is a norm in this area,” he said.

There are challenges the farmer is grappling with such as fungal diseases and pests especially leaf miners which are very destructive. “Leaf miners suck sap and feed on the leaves causing white tunnels or trails on the crop, they are usually a menace if not controlled early. White flies, aphids, cutworms also give me headache, I do routine spraying to control them and also i have erected traps.,’’ he asserted.

“I usually sell my produce at Kitengela and Nairobi, currently the price is low as a leaf of spinach and kale is fetching 1 to 2 shillings, “he said. His advice to young people is to follow their passion, be committed to their work and exercise patience as it takes some time to recoup investment as farming is business like any other. “If you are interested in farming and your parents have land at home, do something on the farm and it will earn you some cash as you wait for your dream job.” he adds that since people need to eat every day, farmers are unlikely to lack customers.

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