Sunday, May 26, 2024

Kattaj Katta: My experience in farming and why farming is a big scam in Kenya

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Kattaj Katta, a popular vernacular radio presenter, recalled how he lost thousands of shilling after venturing into vegetable farming.

Narrating the unfortunate incident, Katta revealed he went into farming in January 2020, where he planted different vegetables on a 10-acre farm. He put 5 acres under potatoes, 3 acres under cabbages, and 2 acres under carrots.

“Farming is a big scam in Kenya. So last year in January I decided to venture into farming. There is this place called Sakutiek (Thagutui in Kikuyu) in Narok County. I was so determined that I started out with 10 acres,” says Kattaj.

Despite experiencing a bumper harvest, he was hit with one reality—the lack of market, which left him counting losses.

“I gave it all the needed care that they did so well in the farm but come the harvesting time….machoooz…a big size cabbage was selling at 5 bob at the shamba, the king-size bag of carrot was selling at Kshs 400 but it was a different story for potatoes since a small sack was going for Kshs 1,500 which was a good price then.’’ He recalled.

“I managed to sell several lorries of cabbages. Don’t even ask me what happened to the carrots since I did not sell even one sack, and the potatoes were, well, not so bad, ” he adds.

The losses, however, did not dampen his spirit, and he was determined to give farming a second trial. This time, he only focused on potatoes, which he planted on his 10-acre farm.

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Katta revealed all was well until harvesting time. He explained that market prices for potatoes were very low, which saw him give out his produce at throw-away prices.

“I did 10 acres of potatoes. Woe unto me because when they were ready for harvesting, the new law on potatoes crept in,” he narrates.

He went on to question whether the government is aware of the challenges farmers face in their efforts to ensure the country’s food security.

“Is there a Minister of agriculture in this country? Is there a committee of agriculture that knows what’s happening to farmers on the ground? When we hear people are dying of hunger, can’t the government buy this food from the farmers and give it out to the starving communities? Who sets the prices of these foodstuffs? Will the Kenyan farmer get a profit from their hard work?” he asked.

David Ndegwa, an agriculture expert, advises farmers to always find a ready market for their produce before investing in any type of agribusiness.

Ndegwa says one should think of who to sell to, where, and the projected selling price based on historical data.

He added that farmers should not always blame the government for their failures noting that farming is a business like any other.

He instead encouraged them to identify their mistakes and solve them in line with their goals.

“Farming is a business just like any other and I don’t know why those who venture into it always wants to blame the government especially when things don’t work.

There should be no difference between a guy who invests Kshs 500 in a hardware and one who decides to go into farming,” says Ndegwa.

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