Siaya farmer admits that growing kales is Profitable

Siaya farmer admits that growing kales is Profitable

Meet Vincent Okuku who is reaping big from growing Kales (Sukumawiki) at Kokise village, Siaya County. The 39 years old Popularly known as Kenyatta expects to harvest sackfuls of Sukuma wiki after another bountiful harvest last month and make a whooping Kshs. 500, 000 in June from his five acre farm.

According to Every years he makes more than a million Kenya shillings from vegetables, bananas and sugar cane. But his main money maker is Sukuma wiki which he supplies to the village and beyond in Rarieda.

“I have tried tomatoes, cabbages, solanum (osuga), spider plant (dek) and bananas. But I have decided to concentrate on sukuma wiki because it is cheaper to grow,” he says. Having planted many kale varieties, Kenyatta is now trying a hybrid breed known as Mfalme F1 collards.

Okuku says fifty grams of mfalme seeds cost Kshs.2, 600 while the normal variety goes for Sh180. The seedlings will take up to one month in the nursery after which they are transplanted. He then states that harvesting starts one month after transplanting. Vincent enjoys planting Sukuma Wiki because they can be harvested for five months. He says that the Mfalme F1 variety can be picked for up to two and half years.

The farmer advises his colleague farmers to choose hybrid seeds due to its high production rate. The normal Sukuma Wiki used to give him Kshs. 7,000 per week but now with the hybrid seeds he is making quite a lot of money.

“I supply 40kg of kales to Raliew Secondary School every Monday, and 70kg every week to St Phillips Wera Secondary School. I also supply 100kg to Ngere High School. One kilogramme goes for Sh30,” he says.

Kenyatta, who claims he has never been to Nairobi and does not wish to visit the city, says at least six vegetable vendors visit his farm daily. With 10,000 stems of Sukuma wiki currently, his target is 30,000 in the coming season. The fruits of his many years of farming manifest themselves. From the proceeds, Kenyatta has bought five acres of land, although he still leases more to meet the high demand.

“I never owned any piece of land. But over the years, I have bought a few parcels that I largely use for farming. I also bought a Honda 5.5 Horse Power generator at Khs. 45,000 that I use to pump water from Lake Victoria a few metres from my farm,” he says. He also used the returns he got from farming to open a shop for his wife at Ralayo Beach. “The proceeds have also helped me pay secondary school fees for my niece who is currently a second year Agriculture student at Egerton University,” he says.

By Malachi Motano

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