Category Archives: Agripreneur

Agripreneur Blog

Homa Bay agro-entrepreneur creates Sh200,000 monthly seedlings venture after losing job

Many at times losing a job is associated with shattered future and people always sympathise with individuals whose contracts are stopped expectedly or unexpectedly due to one reason or another.In Kenya, even before the hit of COVID-19 on our economy leading closure of various business sectors, there were massive layoffs of employees by various companies in a bid to manage their bottom lines or to reduce expenditure.

This was as a result of a reduced income or other factors such as the introduction of technology which rendered some positions redundant. 

However, for Bosco Aredha, a fruit and tree nursery seedlings raiser in Homa Bay County, job loss is never his concern. He has created his own which earns him over Sh200,000 a month. Bosco lost his contract in 2006 at a non-governmental organisation when his contract came to an end and there was no longer a space to accommodate him. Luckily, the organisation which was concerned with the integration of tree crops into the community had impacted some skills of grafting seedlings in him. He, therefore, decided to use the skills he had acquired which include fruit tree management, fruit tree propagation and disease and pest identification to create employment for himself.

On noticing that farmers from his area were travelling a long distance looking for fruit tree planting materials with best strains, he decided to set up a grafting farm to be able to feel the gap with a view creating an income.  He started with some mango and orange seedlings, bought some grafting equipment, fenced his two-acre farm after putting up a shade for the seedlings “All this work took me about Sh65,000 worth of investment. This was part of my savings while I was working with the NGO,” said Bosco. 

It was not all rosy at the beginning because with grafting, he lacked scions and he was forced to source the important material from other established farmers in the area. However, persistence and dedication to his work that he has since loved as his main source of income have seen him through.“I always get orders for these seedlings. I remember after about nine years of establishing this venture, an organisation mitigating the effects of hunger and malnutrition in Homa Bay bought 1,600 grafted fruit trees from my farm at Sh200 each earning me Sh320,000 which really encouraged me,” said Bosco.

He decided to use part of the money to expand his nursery, pay for his children’s school fees, home expenses and savings. Today, especially in peak season during rainy season as at now, the farmer says he makes Sh200,000 a month supplying purely grafted seedlings of various fruits to farmers in the lakeside county and beyond.

“During this rainy season, there is a rush by many people to at least plant some fruits. This makes my farm a bit busy hence there is a need for casual labourers whom I hire from time to time depending on the amount of work available,” said the 44-year-old farmer. Though he grafts all manner of fruit seedlings, his highly sought-after seedlings are those of mangoes of which the varieties available include ngowe, parvin, apple mango, chino and sebin vandyke.

He says farmers like the grafted seedlings because they take a shorter period to produce fruits than an ordinary one

 

 



Agripreneur Blog

Become a Successful Agripreneur – Free Scholarship Program

If you are from Meru or Tharaka Nithi, here is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start your own agribusiness and be your own boss by participating in the KUZA’s Youth REDI program.

Who can apply?

  • Age:  20-35 years
  • Prior farming experience: Mandatory
  • Education: Minimum High School
  • Digital Literacy: Digital savvy and willingness to learn
  • Transport: Owns/ can access Boda Boda to commute within your neighborhood to engage smallholder farmers
  • Community: Must have a relationship with at least 100 smallholder farmers
  • Skills: Good Communication & Interpersonal skills
  • Past Experience: Running a small business, preferable
  • References: 2 references from  Key Opinion Leaders or  elders/pastor

What will you get?

  • Incubation & Mentorship on how to set up & grow your agribusiness.
  • A Digital toolkit with good agriculture practices content to offer extension services to smallholder farmers.
  • Support from Mentors who will handhold and walk the journey with you.
  • Subscription to ONE Network that will connect you to all the agri service providers & access special offers.

What do you commit?

  • Your Time and Resources to start and grow your agribusiness.
  • Provide agri extension services to your network of 150 to 200 smallholder farmers from your neighborhood.
  • Digitize the farms/ farmers & capture their demand for products & services.
  • Facilitate agriproducts & service delivery to meet the demands of your farmers’ network & earn commissions.

Apply now :

If you are interested in being part of this Program, fill in your application at

Application Form

and submit by  04 Sep 2020

Program Partners:

logo_partners

 

 

 

 



Agripreneur Blog

Former Photographer Clicks Fortune with Agribusiness

How a former photograher clicked fortune with Agribusiness (2)

In the wake of the digital camera revolution and the entrance of smartphones with super quality picture taking abilities in Kenya, Noah Rono was among the worried lot as his life had depended on his analog photography.

The work he stated in 2005 was facing extinction as people started owning mobile phones which they could easily use to capture the moment.

“Others who did not have the phones started embracing modern cameras which gave them instant results. They preferred the new cameras to the old ones which they had to wait a bit longer to get their photographs,” said Rono.

Noah and his colleague

Noah and his colleague

This is how he gradually lost his over five years source of livelihood as he did not have enough money to buy expensive digital cameras. 

So, what was left for Rono? He was not going to sit there and give up on life while his peers were making a kill in maize production. It was those days the issue of the leading staple crop in the country had not been highly politicised as today.

He therefore in 2010 decided to try his hand in maize farming by investing the Sh5,000 part of his savings to grow the crop within an acre piece of the plot.

He would also grow some cabbages on another one acre just to ensure that his family had enough to eat.

On realising the potential of maize farming as one way he could also draw a good income from, in 2013 he decided to drop growing vegetables and focus on maize production.

Noah holding a record keeping book

Noah holding a record keeping book

“I increased the acreage under maize farming from two to three and to further make a good income, I decided that I would sell them green rather than grains which were the norm by any farmer in the area,” said Rono. 

Upon maturity, he harvested his crops from two acres while green for the market. He would preserve the remaining one acre for his family consumption.

To his surprise, the green maize he sold earned him Sh240,000 much more than he would have reaped from grains. That is how he got motivated.

In the subsequent season, he decided to spent Sh120,000 to lease two acres to add to his previous three acres totaling to five.

These, he also decided to do green maize on three while the remaining, to be harvested for grains and his earnings from the crop kept increasing.

But again, his fear was how long he was going to maintain his standards of earning going into the future. At some point the soil was going to start rejecting that one particular crop is grown in it over and over again.

“Luckily enough, in 2017 I chanced to attend a training by Cereal Growers Association (CGA) field officers who trained us on good agricultural practices such as planting certified seeds, crop rotation, minimum soil tillage, and mulching among others,” said the Mesibei, Njoro Sub-county farmer.

Rono then decided to shift to commercial production of potatoes which he from season to season rotated with maize and other indigenous vegetables.

Again, after two seasons of growing potatoes, he realised that there were storage and market challenges as many farmers in the area were into commercial potato production and prices were always dictated by middlemen.

“I, therefore, decided to source for certified potato seeds and major in multiplying the planting materials for the farmers while on the other hand aggregate their produce and sell to traders hence increasing their bargaining power.’’

He says that just within a quarter an acre he can harvest 50 bags of potato seeds weighing 50 kilos each which he sells at Sh2,000 a bag.

Noah and colleague ploughing

Noah and colleague ploughing

Towards the end of 2018, Rono was registered by CGA as an Agribusiness Advisor under the Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) program . As part of this program, he has attended a number of training programs and has also undergone six-months of intensive Business Development, Entrepreneurship & Coaching (BDEC program) and Mentoring sessions conducted by Kuza Biashara, which has shaped him as a sharper agripreneur.

Today, the former film photographer is clicking fortunes in agribusiness which earns him a minimum of Sh50,000 a season and Sh5,000 a month from an agro vet shop which also helps him to connect farmers with affordable farms inputs.

From just 23 farmers he started with, he now has 78 farmers whom he also trains. The least, he says, can harvest 36 bags of potatoes weighing 50kg each while the highest of the farmers can manage 60 bags of the same measure.

A bag goes at between Sh2,000 and Sh2,500 depending on the variety of the potato and the quality produced.