As an air hostess, Sharon Mutiga was accustomed to the life of the skies. Air hostesses are known for their opulent lifestyles, jetting from one nation to another, sleeping in 5-star hotels for free, and getting to shop in some of the world’s most incredible malls.
They generally experience a world that will never see. It is a profession envied by many and anyone would love to take on due to its unique perks.
However, Sharon Mutiga wanted more than the glamour of the skies. She anticipated a different life from what her job offered, which would obviously leave many surprised at her decision.
“It was a nice life because I would get attractive discounts on flights to various destinations, free accommodation in 5-star hotels, shopping in Paris, London, Mumbai, Bangkok and Dubai,” she said in a past interview at her farm in Kunene, Meru.
In 2016, she would quit this job many young girls dream of. The move left her family in shock. Sharon says she left the airline after feeling a lack of career progression and no job satisfaction. It was time she turned a new leaf.
“When I quit, people asked me ‘are you crazy? Why would you leave employment?’ But I knew it was time to quit since there was no job satisfaction, I had to take a risk and leave.”
With some savings from her former job, she flew to South Africa for 3 months to acquire skills for working in a luxury yacht. After training, Sharon flew to the US in search of a job, but as fate would have it, no doors were being opened.
Not one to despair, she moved to Bali, Indonesia and found a job as a luxury retreat manager where she would earn Sh. 250,000 monthly. 6 months into the job, she quit to return to Kenya and stay with her ailing father.
In this period, she developed a knack for venturing into agribusiness. Having grown up in Nandi, she said that she had an interest in farming for a long time.
“My father worked in tea estates but I never thought that I would farm one day for a living. Unfortunately, young people think farming is dirty and would never consider it, but from experience, the dirtier the hands, the cleaner and sweeter the money,” she continued.
Sharon Mutiga invested Sh. 200,000 in the 2-acre farm she inherited from her father. She does fish and pigs rearing as well as growing vegetables, pawpaws and bananas organically.
Her first venture was greenhouse tomato farming, which got her fingers burnt due to lack of experience. In her first attempt, Sharon harvested only one crate worth Sh. 30,000 while she hoped to harvest over Sh. 70,000.
She also tried poultry farming, after investing nearly Sh. 75,000 but it failed to pay, forcing her to jump ship and abandon the project.
“Fish farming is my main project. I have about 1,000 fish in the ponds right now. Catfish need a warm and humid atmosphere and a greenhouse is ideal. I also rear tilapia in an open pond where I keep 500 of them,” she narrated to NMG’s correspondent.
Sharon advises Kenyan youth faced with unemployment and constantly seeking jobs to have the courage to venture into farming. She advises them to attend farm training sessions and equip themselves with the skills.
“To young people out there looking for jobs, agribusiness is the way to go, if you don’t own land, then lease it.”