Garlic farming has proven to be a profitable business in Kenya, but the majority of Kenyans do not view it as a primary source of income. Despite this, a small group of individuals who take the risk of joining the sector reap significant rewards.
One such person is Moses Karimi, who was born and raised in Kiawara village in Nyeri County. Despite dropping out of primary school due to lack of funds, Karimi never lost his passion for farming. He worked as a hawker and knife sharpener in Kisumu city, where he spent time researching garlic farming in cybercafés. He eventually put his knowledge into practice by returning to his village and starting his own garlic farm in 2012.
Karimi learned how to propagate his own seeds, which allowed him to have a shorter harvest time of just four months. He started with a quarter of an acre, planting 25 kilograms of garlic and harvesting 800 kilograms, which he sold for Ksh100 per kilo, making Ksh80,000 in his first season.
Determined to expand, Karimi eventually cultivated garlic on a 1-acre piece of land, harvesting 4,800 kilograms in 2013 and earning Ksh480,000. He now owns 13 acres under his company, Saumu Centre Limited, and has 10 employees who assist him in his farming work. In one season, he earned Ksh4.8 million from his garlic farm.
In addition to running his successful business, Karimi also trains over 100 farmers from neighboring counties on garlic farming, charging Ksh3,000 for the training and providing reading materials and reference manuals. He continues to strive towards growing his business and spreading knowledge of garlic farming throughout Kenya.