Friday, July 19, 2024

Yohan Kim: South Korean missionary who turned farmer in Kenya

Yohan Kim, a South Korean missionary, traveled to Kenya in 2018 with a mission of preaching the gospel in parts of the country.

A few months after his arrival, he noted a high demand for Asian crops in parts of Uasin Gishu, where he lived, something that motivated him to step into the venture.

He started a small farm at AIC Mission College at Kapsoya, Eldoret, where he grows Asian crops such as Korean strawberry, garlic chives, Korean cabbage, Korean radish, Indian Pak Choi, Italian spinach, leek onions, dragon fruit, Red-leaf lettuce, Korean Perilla leaf vegetable, and other herbs.

Co-Op post

The four-acre farm hosts four greenhouses where seeding, planting, and drying of crops such as chilly is done. To grow the crops, he first sources disease-free soils from the forests.

He then propagates the seeds in the nursery pots inside one of the greenhouses to curb wastage. The seeds are propagated at different stages to ensure a constant supply of the produce to the market.

Watering of the seedlings runs for two-three weeks consistently, after which transplanting begins. The crops are transplanted on well-arranged seed beds. On the farm, he uses overhead irrigation to ensure constant production of the crops all year round.

NCBA

Yohan’s farm manager Dedan Okisoi says that most of the crops on the farm take between two and three months to mature.

While Asians are the biggest consumers of most crops grown by Yohan, Okisoi noted a surging demand from Africans, who are also purchasing the produce in bulk.

A kilogram of garlic chives goes for Sh50, while the Korean cabbages retail for between Sh 80 in the market. Korean cabbage can weigh between one kilogram to five kilos, unlike the local varieties.

NCBA

Yohan sells his produce at Eldoret town, with plans to expand to other markets such as Kisumu, Nakuru, and Uganda underway. In a good month, he sells up to 40 to 50 kilograms of garlic chives.

Read: I don’t regret quitting my managerial job for avocado farming

Some of the challenges he has faced on his farm include scarcity of water, as well as pests and diseases such as cutworms, aphids, and snails that are usually rampant during rainy seasons.

To control the pests, Yohan employs organic techniques such as grinding the Tithonia plant, chilies, and salt, then spraying the crops. He also practices soil rotation to reduce soil-borne diseases.

According to Rodgers Kirwa (Mr. Agriculture), Yohan aims to reach more people through farming, as well as impacting and training the community to be self-reliant through farming activities.

His farm has not only played a significant role in boosting food security in the region but has also encouraged the use of modern technology to grow crops.

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