Tuesday, September 27, 2022

How 23-year-old makes Sh. 360,000 monthly from tomato, capsicum farming

Initially, his mind was on capsicum, but after receiving tomato seedlings, Sila resolved to plant capsicum and tomatoes at the same time. His family assisted him with Sh10,000, which he used to buy 1,500 Goliath F1 seedlings of capsicum from a French agricultural company, Technisem.

With that, Sila embarked on his farming journey. He started during the rainy season, so he had no problem with water. But the challenge came when rain disappeared for almost a month and his young plants started withering.   Sila says he started drawing water from a dam over 3km away and ferried it to his farm using cattle.

Watering half an acre of capsicum and half of tomatoes was hectic. After irrigating his farm using buckets for sometime, he asked his uncle, also a farmer, for old pipes that were lying idle. “My uncle gave me old pipes, which l used to transfer water from a makeshift tank on a raised hill to the entire farm,” he says.

The old pipes were, however, leaking and would waste a lot of water. But when he started harvesting, there was ready market and hundreds of residents bought capsicum and tomatoes from him.

After saving some money, Sila took loans from relatives amounting to Sh100,000 and invested in water. He bought new pipes and connected to a village borehole built in 2006 by then Water Minister Charity Ngilu. The borehole is 1km away from Sila’s farm.

He still uses the water to irrigation his tomato and capsicum farms. He laments that the water is very costly. “They charge me Sh100 per unit and my farm uses a lot of water, especially during dry seasons,” he says. He harvests twice a week and every time gets 500kg of capsicum, totalling to one tonne in a week.

Sila says when it rains the production is higher, to about 1.3 tonnes per week and he has to harvest three times a week. He says the area being dry, many people do not engage in farming and they flock to his farm to buy the produce. Sila makes huge sales in Tala, Kangundo and Ruiru towns.

On average, he sells 1kg of capsicum at Sh40. But at times prices go up to Sh50, or Sh60. Therefore, in a week one tonne fetches him up to Sh 40,000. For tomatoes, he makes at least Sh50,000 a week.

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