Kenyan Describes The Agony Of Being A Young Farmer In The Country - Daily Updates

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Kenyan Describes The Agony Of Being A Young Farmer In The Country

The government and many experts in the economy and financial sector have been in an offensive charm trying to convince the youth to take up farming as a viable alternative source of income.

The government and many experts in the economy and financial sector have been in an offensive charm trying to convince the youth to take up farming as a viable alternative source of income.
What we have never been told are the challenges you are likely to face if you decided to take the farming route.
A young Kenyan who decided to delve into cabbage farming in Nyeri took to Twitter to describe the pains he went through trying to get his produce to Kongowea Market in Mombasa.
It has been said that young people in Kenya should look for alternative sources of income. 2 years ago, I ventured into farming. Things were not so good and I needed and extra source of money. So I went to 'upcountry' and farmed. Cabbages. What followed was hell!
Let me start by saying that Cartels are everywhere. The common farmer will never make money from their land. It's next to impossible. The harvest was good. First, I tried selling them at the shamba, it was impossible. Watu walikuwa wana offer 5-10 shillings per head. Madness!
I looked around and because I've lived in Mombasa all my life, I knew that there was ready market. Si I asked around. Got a canter. Went and pakiad it with cabbages. First, a canter carries 3500-4000 cabbages. Ukifanya hesabu na 50 bob, inakuja about 200k. I decided. Okay.

The madness starts with the lorry. To hire a canter (Box body) will cost you about 40k then from Nanyuki/Nyeri to Mombasa. The owner then pays the driver and fuel. However, kuna kama 3-4k ya ya weighbridge. So you are already minus 45k deep. Mzigo hata haijatoka shambani.
The good thing is that lorry hulipwa na mzigo. So you don't pay upfront. Mind you, you also have to pay the people harvesting the cabbage at the farm. Ongeza 5k. You are now negative 50k. My predicted profit was 200k. 150k was okay money. I gave the go ahead.
The good thing is that lorry hulipwa na mzigo. So you don't pay upfront. Mind you, you also have to pay the people harvesting the cabbage at the farm. Ongeza 5k. You are now negative 50k. My predicted profit was 200k. 150k was okay money. I gave the go ahead.

Imagine vegetables in a closed metallic lorry. With the Mombasa heat. 1 day later zishaanza kuharibika. Anyway, so the market opens at 4Am. I am there at 3:45Am. Ready to make money. Shock on me. I needed to pay about 4k kwa gate to be allowed to get it. Cess I think. I paid.
So now we are in the market. I'm a stranger. I quickly learn that you cannot do anything without a broker to assist you. I ask around. All of them are asking for 7K. They pay the guys who offload and kuitiana. 3 people.
So what happens is, there are hotel/school people who purchase in bulk. About 400 pieces a day. They have working relations with the brokers. They hook them up. That's the biggest market. Alafu people who sell sokoni. They also buy from us kwa lorry na bei ya wholesale.
The worst it's 6Am. You are at about 70k in expenses. It's madness!! When you think it's over, it gets worse. The price of perishable farm produce reduces as the day goes by. Ukianza na 70 bob at 5Am, by 8Am bei imeshuka mpaka 50bob. By saa saba mnauza 30-40 bob.
Imagine your product depreciating by 50% in 5-6 hours. Hata nimeshikwa na pressure just thinking about that experience. It was horrible. All in all, I think I made 120k after 3days. Factor in the farming cost and expenses. You are lucky if you make 40k per crop/season. MADNESS!
All in all, by all means farm. I have made money from the shamba. I have also lost ridiculous sums of money. Mainly its been bad. There's a huge shortage of food in this country. Too bad that the farmer has too many pockets to line. A lot need to to be done before farmers earn.
As it is, I have completely abandoned horticultural main scale. I'm trying other things. Other ways. I will keep sharing. Writing. Next I'll do a thread on some farming practices that I have learnt over the years. And another thread on the volatile Tomato business.
I have also recently just ventured into animal 'farming.' Goats to be specific. I just finished building the pens. Also, looking at kienyeji chicken. Small scale. Its interesting because I've lived in Mombasa all my life. I had no experience with farming. You try and learn.
You can read the thread on Twitter.

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