Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Peter Kimani: Kiambu farmer making Sh760,000 from short-term crops

Peter Kimani, a Kiambu County-based farmer ventured into farming after a training in Israel that equipped  101 Kenyan students with skills in smart agriculture.

The 2016 training was sponsored by the Kenyan government and saw fresh graduates from various higher learning institutions attend an 11-month practical training course in Israel.

“We would go to classes only on Mondays, and the rest of the days we time in the fields with experts who trained us on general crop production process from planting to harvesting,” said Kimani

“During the time in the field we were being paid 30 shekels (about Sh900) per hour and we were working for 10 hours a day,” he added.

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By the time he returned to Kenya, Kimani had saved Sh500,000 which he used to start his venture. In partnership with a friend, the duo installed two greenhouses measuring 8x30m and one net house where they would start growing tomatoes and cucumbers.

They planted the high-yielding Tylka F1 tomato variety and Super Marketer cucumber variety on their Thika farm.

With a population of  1,400 tomato plants, Kimani revealed he makes about Sh1,500 from each plant. His 1,000 cucumber trees, on the other hand, produce 14-17kg per plant selling a kilo at between Sh45-Sh60.

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Both the crops take three months to reach maturity, and Kimani notes in the first season they earned a gross income of about Sh1.7m from tomatoes and Sh750,000 from cucumbers.

“We have increased our production, and currently at our fourth season, we have ventured into vegetables such as kale and vegetables,” said Kimani.

The two doubles up as horticulture consultants with their farm attracting a lot of visitors and learners for bench-marking. They charge Sh500 per head and Sh5,000 per group.

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