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Sunday, December 6, 2020

Desire to be my own boss made me quit IT career for agribusiness

Jedidah King’ori is rising fast in a venture she began in 2018 after quitting formal employment. She grows French beans for export, and cabbages, onions and butternuts for the local market in Isinya, Kajiado County.

An acre of French beans yields an average of five tonnes (5,000kgs), which translate to between Ksh. 300,000 to Ksh. 350,000 after two months of growing.

“I started farming French beans for export three years ago, first in Makuyu before moving Isinya where I have leased a 15 acre piece of land. In addition to French beans I also grow cabbages, onions and butternuts.

I chose French beans because of the ready export market. I export mostly to European countries. The demand for them is very high especially during cold seasons when European countries are unable to produce their own food. They rely on us for fresh food.

I started farming with a capital of Ksh. 180,000. This was money from my savings and loans from family members. I obtained Ksh. 1.4 million Agribizz loan from the Youth Fund and used the loan to install a proper irrigation system and lease more land for farming.

Farming has enabled me to create employment for fellow youth. I have employed three of them on a permanent basis and hire up to 30 casual laborers during harvesting.

COVID-19 had brought a lot of uncertainties because it had led to closure of borders, restaurants and hotels. I am glad that borders are opening and I am hopeful that business will resume normalcy.

I wish encourage youth to venture into agribusiness, let us not leave it to the older citizens. Be ready to get dirty, dedicate all your time to farming. There are a lot of opportunities, there is a lot of wealth in farming.

I studied IT and even got employed in one of the local companies. I soon abandoned the profession for farming, a career that I am passionate about and find to be more fulfilling. It has a potential to create more wealth than an office job.

I encourage young farmers to have mentors. They are key in offering guidance, motivation and emotional support. I have one whom I look up to. He does the same kind of farming in Loitoktok.”

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