Excelling  in fresh produce after being retrenched

Excelling in fresh produce after being retrenched


Wangare Kuria, is a multi-skilled ex- corporate graduate who left her heels and desk to recreate her identity in farming. She had a promising career in the corporate world after attaining a master’s degree in Business Administration at United State International University (USIU), but her dreams were shuttered when she found herself jobless after being retrenched.
With mouths to feed, she tapped into her childhood memories and experiences of farming in her upcountry home; Nyandarua County.

“I am an urban farmer since I do my farming in town, Kitengela to be precise. I cultivate tomatoes, onions, leafy greens, cucumbers and spices. I started by cultivating leafy vegetables for my own consumption but later went commercial after discovering that there is high demand for the crops. Being in a town set-up, I have made sure when clients visit my farm, they are able to get all the basic components that entails cooking a Kenyan meal. I have also ventured into commercial farming of strawberry, mushrooms, onions and garlic.
Fresh produce crops are the easiest in-terms of capital, crop management and the demand for the produce is high thus assuring any farmer venturing that there is a readily available market as many households require them for sustenance,” she says.

Of late, there has been a surge in people embracing cultivation of fresh produce crops to mitigate the effects brought about by the Covid-19pandemic. This has gone handy in getting a few coins in their pockets and ensuring a reliable source of The first step to producing vegetables is to choose the varieties to grow as per market demand. One has to meticulously follow the laid down procedures of planting and following laid down crop husbandry. For her start she had to contract an agronomist who advised her to carry out a soil test of the farm before embarking on the actual planting.

She sources manure from Maasai herders around, which she uses to plant her crops. Her farm is majorly organic but he incorporates fertilizers to boost nutrient levels of the soil for better development of her plants.

Besides farming, she enjoys teaching, and passing on knowledge to those who want to venture into farming. She enjoys meeting with farmers; providing solutions to them and seeing how happy they are gives her the most satisfaction. She has invented books, courses and has a YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdqRck5IInzXLUqRT6Fuh1g. She also engages schools in starting and managing urban farms where students can work and grow food crops.

“During Covid 19, it luckily took my business to the next level. People had spare time and wanted to do something productive that would give them food and money so most of them turned into farming. I got a lot of students during this season. The food prices were also very good especially in the earlier months, so we really made good profits. I also started farmer on fire fresh vegetable boxes home delivery services on http://www.farmeronfire.com, “she explained.

She has increased production capacity by buying and leasing additional land. Currently she has 4 farms and 3 greenhouses. She has taken time to see how she can increase production efficiency with the existing resources; to maximize production without necessarily raising overheads.

“Convincing people to start thinking of farming as a money-making venture is what I have been experiencing of late. People need to stop expecting information for free, see farmers as equal to the other careers. Expertise is expertise. Don’t figure it all out. Go to an expert who might point to you where the landmines are in your journey,” she concluded.

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