Alfred Koome, a farmer from Timau in Meru County, has gone against the grain to prove that farming pays and it pays handsomely.
The 28-year-old just pocketed over Sh300,000 from his potato harvest. Koome practices large-scale potato and garlic business.
In his garlic business, he sells starter seeds and gives free consultancy to budding farmers, as well as helping them aggregate and sell their produce.
The agronomist, who studied at Kenyatta University, had 2 acres of land on potatoes and half an acre on garlic. From the two acres, he harvested 130 bags of potatoes, which he sold for Sh2,700 per bag, making Sh351,000.
Koome used certified potato planting seeds, which explains the high yields. He also harvests his crops in off-peak months, and this has helped him increase his earnings to up to Sh4500 per bag.
“In addition to the two traditional planting seasons, I am now able to squeeze in extra growing periods. This enables us to provide the market with potatoes when demand is at its highest and prices are at their peak.”
“While the farmgate price for a sack of potatoes is usually between Sh2,200 and Sh2,500, this enables me to earn up to Sh4,500 per bag.” He said.
He notes that garlic prices remain constant throughout the year at between Sh200-210 per kilogram. The farmer uses the drip irrigation method, which he says limits water loss. He waters his crops for one hour every day at six in the evening.
“Aside from growing my own garlic, I work with 35 satellite farmers, most of whom are in my region and a few in Embu, Meru, Laikipia, and Nyeri.”
“Through a buy-back program, I provide the farmers with a ready market I have gotten from large-scale Rwandese buyers in Nairobi,” he added.