Tuesday, April 16, 2024

I started farming when Covid closed my business, now I make a fortune from exports

Bishop Mohammed Kamwaro and his wife Grace Mohammed, who serve as ministers in their church, are also farmers. They have planted various fruit trees, including mangoes, lemons, and pomegranates, on their property which they named Canaan Land.

However, their main focus lies in farming chilies for export. Bishop Kamwaro said that they ventured into export farming in 2020 after the closure of churches in Kenya during that period.

“We were not preaching anywhere, we only did online. We asked ourselves, ‘How are we going to survive’? We sat down as a family and decided to go back to farming,” he said.

His wife remembered their first encounter with the land they now farm. She described it as dry, with only shrubs dotting the landscape.

They wanted to live in a greener place. So, the couple decided to dig a borehole in the area, which allowed them to engage in farming.

“This place is very dry. We prayed and God showed us a place where we drilled water. We now have a lot of water. That is what has turned this place to be different,” Bishop Kamwaro reiterated.

“Without water, it’s difficult to change a place. For you to conserve, you need water,” said the Agricultural Economics University graduate.

Bishop Kamwaro shared that they mainly grow horticultural products, like French beans and chillies, for export. His wife mentioned that although there’s a growing demand for chillies locally, they’re more interested in selling abroad.

“There is so much market in Europe, America and other countries. They use chillies for food and medicine,” she said.

Grace Mohammed noted chillies grow like shrubs and require humid conditions to thrive. She asserted that shade nets are essential for optimal growth.

Grace remembered the time they began farming without shade nets, which made it difficult for them to enter the international export market. Shade nets are a requirement for farmers who want to sell their produce internationally.

How to profitably do chilli pepper farming in Kenya in 3 to 6 weeks

“Through my local connections, I ended up getting another international company, where I supply chilli for export. Their standard is chillies have to be on a shade net or greenhouse,” said Mrs Mohammed.

Using a shade net helps in pest control and creates a cooler environment compared to outside. Additionally, crops tend to grow faster under the shade net.

On their 1-acre smart Canaan land farm, they currently use the drip line irrigation system for planting crops, but they are gradually transitioning to automated irrigation methods. They have planted French beans for export too.

Bishop Kamwaro mentioned that the farm can employ up to 40 people, depending on the harvest season. They also provide training and management services to their employees to equip them with the necessary skills required for farming and other related activities.

The couple encouraged people to consider chilli farming as it is relatively easy to get started in this field. Bishop Kamwaro noted that the most important thing while starting a farm is getting resources, such as water, and asking for help from experts.

“For us, it has become our business, apart from what we do in the ministry. It helps us to live better, take our students to school and to feed the world. You’ll be smiling as you go to the bank, put your money and enjoy yourself.”

The couple has also ventured into dairy farming, producing milk and using waste to generate gas through their biogas digester. Additionally, they cultivate crops such as maize and sorghum, which they blend to create silage for their animals.

“Young men let us go back to the land. That is where there is money,” he concluded.

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