Must Read

Poultry farming in Kenya – How Leah makes Ksh. 120,000 per month

Poultry Farming in Kenya The first thing that catches your eye when you arrive at Leamose Poultry Farm is a...

Top 10 Most Profitable Farming Ideas In Kenya (Updated 2020)

Most profitable farming ideas in Kenya: Agribusiness is the backbone of Kenya's economy. Many Kenyans are taking on agribusiness and...

Annie Nyaga: The 28 Year Old Watermelon Millionaire

Farming has always been associated with illiteracy and the older generation. But one young lady has debunked all this...

CAS Ann Nyaga: In January this year, the Embu County CEC in charge of Agriculture Ann Nyaga was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta as the new Chief Administrative Secretary for Cooperatives in the Ministry of Agriculture. Unknown to many people, though, Ms. Nyaga has always been passionate about farming. In particular, she is one of Kenya’s highest flying watermelon farmers.

After graduating from Egerton University in 2007 with a degree in biomedical science, Ms. Nyaga got a job as a purchasing assistant at a firm in Nairobi. But she quit after six months and turned to watermelon farming in Kenya. This is what her parents had been doing for years at their home in Mbeere, Embu County.

“I settled for watermelon farming in Kenya because they do very well in Mbeere. They are high-yielding, mature faster and do well in the market,” said Ms. Nyaga.

CAS Ann Nyaga
Watermelon farming in Kenya: Annie Nyaga is one of the most successful watermelon farmers in Kenya.

She started growing melons on her parents’ three-acre farm with a capital outlay of Sh. 20,000. She used the money to buy seeds, but soon realized that she needed more to invest in a proper drip irrigation system.

“I did trial runs with seeds from different companies before I discovered that hybrid seeds produce the highest yield.”

She would plant the seeds in a nursery before transferring the seedlings to the farm after three weeks. “The whole process, from nursery to harvest, took about three months depending on the climate and the variety of watermelons as some matured early,” she said.

According to her, watermelons require a lot of water especially at fruit-formation stage. CAS Ann Nyaga also invested in a drip irrigation system that includes water pumps, hand spraying guns and pipes. She bought the equipment from the profit she made on her first harvest. “Lack of adequate water leads to low-quality fruit. If one has water problems, then drip irrigation is the best alternative,” she said.

CAS Ann Nyaga

However, installing a proper drip system is costly, particularly for small-scale-farmers. “A drip system costs Sh. 200,000 per acre. This may not be affordable to many farmers,” she said.

The option for small-scale farmers doing watermelon farming in Kenya is to partially irrigate the crop and plan for the fruit-formation stage to coincide with the rainy season. “This means you plant seeds two to three weeks before the start of rains,” Annie said.

As a farmer, Ms. Nyaga would invest between Sh. 80,000 and Sh. 100,000 per acre. This covered the cost of seeds, labour, chemicals, irrigation, salaries and fertilizer. According to her, with good management, watermelon farming in Kenya could give you 30 to 40 tonnes per acre.

Prices vary according to market forces. This poses a huge challenge to farmers, who find themselves at the mercy of middlemen. Depending on the season, a kilo of watermelon goes for between Sh. 15 and Sh. 35.

“Middlemen usually take advantage of desperate farmers, especially those who get high yields but find no market. Lack of ideal market linkages for farmers means brokers dictate farm prices,” she said.

But this did not stop her from dealing with brokers, who bought most of her harvest. The trick, she said, was in knowing the market price. In one of her harvests, she harvested 30 tonnes and sold to brokers at Sh. 28 per kilo, making gross sales of Sh. 840,000 in three months. If you take away expenses, she raked in a profit of at least Sh. 600,000.

“I do not know how I would be fairing now if I had stuck to my purchasing job. Going into farming was a good decision,” she said.

“I am a living proof that watermelon farming in Kenya pays and can be done by anyone. Farming is a profession of hope. To those interested in farming never ever give up,” she said.

About CAS Ann Nyaga:

Ann is a holder of Bachelors of Science degree from Egerton University. She was Chief Executive Officer at Farm to Home Limited from 2005 to 2014.

Ann was also the Executive Director of 4-H Kenya from 2017 to 2018 before she was appointed CEC for Agriculture by Embu Governor Martin Nyaga Wambora from 2018. She moved to the national government in January 2020.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I have the same idea girl….currently,am an undergraduate but farming has always been in my blood..go for it baby girl…great brains apart aside from the normal education thing

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

180,544FansLike
11,005FollowersFollow
145FollowersFollow
274SubscribersSubscribe
WhatsApp
Telegram

Recently Published

Cost and materials for 3 bedroom master ensuite mabati house

Three Bedroom Mabati House: How much would it cost you to build  three bedroom mabati house that has a...

How Jeff Koinange struck deal to save his homes from auctioneers

Jeff Koinange House: In April this year, prominent media personality Jeff Koinange hit the headlines after auctioneers issued a notice against his two houses....

See List: Top 10 highest paid CEOs in Kenya and their salaries

Highest Paid CEOs in Kenya: Some of Kenya's chief executive officers take hundreds of millions in salaries every year. In this feature, we take...

KENHA to pay Grand Mullah Sh. 750,000 for damaged Bentley windscreen

Grand Mullah Bentley: Popular Senior Counsel Ahmednassir Abdullahi is set to get nearly Sh. 1 million from the Kenya National Highways Authority. The counsel...

Nairobi salons now selling, weaving hair extensions from dumpsites

BY REUTERS: Stylist Julia Wanja picks her way delicately through piles of food waste, discarded masks, rubber gloves and other rubbish at Nairobi’s Dandora...

More Articles Like This