Now twenty-six years old, he has been farming for the last two years but has had trouble finding markets for his product.
“Zucchini are delicate products,” he says. “Once they mature, they must get to market immediately, otherwise they are wasted.”
Mr. Mukui has also struggled to grow a product of high-enough quality. Between the fragile nature and inconsistent quality of his product, he says he used to lose up to 100 kgs in a week, and so almost gave up on farming.
But then Mukui started working with a field officer from the Anglican Church of Kenya’s development services, a partner with World Renew in Kenya. The Kiganjo Youth Empowerment Project allowed him to connect with other horticultural farmers from his area. Through a Kabuteti youth group, they received horticultural training. “I realized the mistakes I was making while producing zucchini,” says Mukui “and now I am able to produce better quality products.” As he improved his crops, his losses dwindled to half.
Then, Mr. Mukui’s horticultural group was linked to Nutrifoods, a social enterprise that helps farmers to markets by offering transport for a small fee. “The challenge before was that we all individually looked for our own markets,” says Mukui “and even transported the products individually, incurring a lot of costs.” Now, working as one group, the farmers are able to combine their products and have them picked up at a single point for ease of transport. This has greatly enhanced efficiency for the farmers and further shrunk their losses.
Mukui now reports that his profits from zucchini farming have more than doubled.
“Before joining the youth horticultural group, I only had losses or very small profits,” he says. “But last season I was able to sell zucchini for a profit of 30,000 KES (292 USD). This season I have planted over 1000 pieces of zucchini and, now that I have a reliable marketer, I estimate I will earn a profit of 70,000 KES ( 681 USD)!”
ADS MK and Nutrifoods have also helped Mr. Mukui and his farming colleagues to better weather the price fluctuations common to farming through crop diversification and better market intelligence. He says “Nutrifoods and ADS MK are advising me on new horticultural products I should grow and by when I should be harvesting them for maximum profits. Right now I have planted 1000 pieces of green capsicum so that they can be ready for market by December this year and early next year, when they fetch the most in the markets.”
Nutrifoods reports that, from July to September of 2017, they have recorded an increase in farm production from less than one half-ton to over one-and-a-half tons per week, not including the 60% of farmers who are not selling through the company. With at least 150 people in the area engaged in horticultural farming right now, Nutrifoods estimates that local farmers now produce four tons per week — up from about one ton previous to their involvement.
This dramatic increase injects one million Kenya shillings (9740 USD) into the local economy per month. Mr. Mukui is not the only one who is enjoying success through the training and support of World Renew and its local Kenyan partners!
Pray for Kenya
- Peace and unity in Kenya following the elections. There is still quite a lot of bitterness and lack of contentment. We are however grateful that people have gone back to work and that communities are able to continue with daily activities so far
- A productive remaining part of the FY for World Renew Team in Kenya. We have received a lot of favor so far and we pray that we can continue to be faithful
- Each staff to find joy and meaning in their work and to know that they are valued and their contribution appreciated
World Renew Kenya
The above story was shared with me by Patrick Nderitu, of the Ng’enda Youth Farming Project implemented by Anglican Development Services.