Zachariah Onchuri, known as Zack by his friends, is a young man who has faced numerous challenges in his life, having been raised by a single mother. He was forced to drop out of college in 2009 due to financial constraints, leaving him with no option but to become a night watchman in Kilifi Town. During the day, he would also sell fruits such as watermelons to earn extra income. Eventually, he was able to quit his night job and focus solely on his fruit-selling business, which proved to be quite lucrative.
As he continued to sell fruits, Zack saw an opportunity to expand his business by growing watermelons. He was able to secure a piece of land from a friend, but his lack of farming knowledge and experience led to the loss of almost his entire crop due to common watermelon diseases. Undeterred, Zack secured a loan to start over, this time seeking advice from agricultural extension officers and experienced farmers. His second attempt proved successful, and he was able to harvest six tonnes of watermelons, which he sold directly to markets in Malindi and Kilifi at a profit.
Today, Zack is a successful watermelon farmer with over 47 acres of land under rotation farming in Chakama and Garsen in Malindi. He produces between 10 and 17 tonnes of watermelons per acre, which he sells directly to wholesalers at a profit. He uses his earnings to support his family and save for the future. Additionally, Zack has become a farming consultant, sharing his knowledge and expertise with other farmers in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, free of charge.
To keep his farms healthy and productive, Zack has adopted a rotation farming system that includes other vegetables such as okra, cabbages, capsicum, and zucchini. This helps to keep diseases at bay and improve the structure of his farm soils. Through his hard work and perseverance, Zack has proven that success is possible, even in the face of adversity. He hopes to inspire other young people to pursue their dreams and to help others along the way.
In conclusion, Zack’s story is one of determination and resilience. Despite facing numerous challenges in his life, he was able to turn his situation around and build a successful agribusiness. His willingness to share his knowledge and expertise with others is a testament to his character and his desire to help others succeed. Zack is a role model for young people everywhere, showing that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.