Many young people, upon completing their Form Four studies, often contemplate securing office jobs.
However, the story takes a different turn for 20-year-old Derick Ochieng’, who, after finishing his Form Four studies at Vispa Emmanuel High School in Rabuor, Kisumu, delved into agribusiness.
“I love farming; even when I was in school, I had a great interest in agriculture. That’s why, after completing my studies, I decided to engage in farming,” says Ochieng’.
Without wasting time, Ochieng’ joined Magwar Ber Farm, located on the outskirts of the Kisumu/Nairobi highway, a few meters from the Rabuor trading center, as one of the workers. His goal was to enhance his skills in farming.
Since joining Magwar Ber Farm, Ochieng’ has brought about significant changes, discovering improved methods of cultivating vegetables such as green peppers, kales, and spinach, which were not previously thriving in the area.
“Many farmers in this area believed that vegetables like kales, spinach, and green peppers couldn’t perform well, despite the presence of a good market. I wanted to change that perception,” he explains.
Farmers in Rabuor heavily rely on maize farming, considering it as the staple crop and a food security mainstay.
“I spoke to the farm director, Peter Ojuka, about the importance of digging a water well for irrigating our farm, especially when cultivating bell peppers, kales, and spinach,” he adds.
Ochieng’ says that to get high-quality and attractive green peppers, he first plants the seeds in a nursery, which takes three weeks to germinate.
After the green peppers sprout in the nursery, he transfers them to a well-prepared field with organic manure or Yara Winner fertilizer applied a month before planting.
He adds that greens peppers take only three months to be ready for harvest, allowing the farmer to reap profits.
However, he acknowledges the challenges that farmers must be wary of, especially pests that invade the roots and branches of green peppers when in the field. If not promptly addressed with the necessary pesticides, these pests can cause significant losses.
This situation is also true for kales and spinach, crops that many farmers in the area initially did not believe could thrive.
He states that kales and spinach take only five days to germinate in the nursery and are ready for harvesting within three weeks to a month.
“In the past, many residents here relied on buying kales and spinach from other areas or traveling to Kisumu to purchase these products. Since I started this farming, I have simplified things for them. Many come here to buy these products,” he reveals.
However, Ochieng’ admits that he sells green Peppers in bulk at the Jubilee market in the center of Kisumu city.
On any given day, he can harvest between 300 to 500 kilograms on his quarter-acre farm and sell to traders in the Jubilee market for Ksh 100 per kilogram.
According to Ochieng’, his ultimate dream is to own his farm in the future, as he advises young people in Kisumu to venture into agribusiness. “Life is changing, and formal employment opportunities are decreasing,” he says.
“Therefore, I advise my fellow young people from Kisumu and Nyanza in general to embrace agribusiness to keep up with the times,” advises Ochieng’.