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How Sukuma Wiki farming in Kenya made me a millionaire

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Sukuma wiki farming in Kenya: At the end of this month, Vincent Okuku is expecting to harvest sackfuls of sukuma wiki after another bountiful harvest last month. By the end of June, he is expecting to make Sh. 500,000 from his sukuma wiki farming in Kenya venture in 5 acres in Siaya.

Vincent Okuku. Photo / The Standard
Vincent Okuku. Photo / The Standard

He has been farming for 15 years. He started farming after dropping out of school in form two at Kisumu Boys High School. Every year, he makes more than a million shillings from vegetables, bananas and sugar cane.
But his main money maker is sukuma wiki which he supplies to the village and beyond in Rarieda. “I have tried tomatoes, cabbages, solanum (osuga), spider plant (dek) and bananas.  But I have decided to concentrate on sukuma wiki because it is cheaper to grow,” he says.

Having planted many kale varieties, Okuku is now trying a hybrid breed known as Mfalme F1 collards.

“Fifty grammes of mfalme seeds cost Sh2,600 while the normal variety goes for Sh180. Seedlings take one month in the nursery after which they are transplanted. They are ready for harvest after another month,” he says.

Once mature, kale leaves can be plucked for five months. The mfalme variety can be picked for up to two and half years. “The normal sukuma wiki gives me at least Sh7,000 a week. I was motivated to try out the hybrid type and I am expecting to make more money,” he says. Okuku also supplies his produce to nearby schools.

“I supply 40kg of kales to Raliew Secondary School every Monday, and 70kg every week to St Phillips Wera Secondary School. I also supply 100kg to Ngere High School. One kilogramme goes for Sh30,” he says.

With 10,000 stems of sukuma wiki currently, his target is 30,000 in the coming season. The fruits of his many years of farming manifest themselves. From the proceeds, Okuku has bought five acres of land, although he still leases more to meet the high demand.

“I never owned any piece of land. But over the years, I have bought a few parcels that I largely use for farming. I also bought a Honda 5.5 Horse Power generator at Sh45,000 that I use to pump water from Lake Victoria a few metres from my farm,” he says.

He also used the returns he got from farming to open a shop for his wife at Ralayo Beach.

“The proceeds have also helped me pay secondary school fees for my niece who is currently a second year Agriculture student at Egerton University,” he says. Besides kales, Okuku grows tissue culture bananas (Williams and Chinese Dwarf) and sugarcane on a three-and-a-half-acre parcel he bought from Kale proceeds. “I have 230 Williams breed and 150 Chinese dwarf circuses which are now ready for sale. I harvest four times a year and sell each bunch for at Sh350,” he says on his sukuma wiki farming in Kenya venture.

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