The Agriculture sector is a million dollar venture despite it being often looked down upon by many Kenyans. It is evident that the very few who take the leap of faith and join the sector reap a fortune in return. Meet one such man who makes Ksh 500,000 in a season from Sukuma wiki farming. Here is the story of Siaya-based farmer Vincent Okuku as told by the African Torch.
Vincent Okuku Journey.
Vincent Okuku was born and raised in the villages of Siaya County in the Nyanza region of Kenya. He came from a poor background and had two dropped out of Kisumu Boys High School while in Form two. While speaking during an exclusive interview with muranganewspaper he revealed that when he dropped out of high school, he started farming which was at first unsuccessful.
“I tried farming tomatoes, cabbages, solanum (osuga), spider plant (dek) and bananas. They all were unsuccessful until I tried Sukuma wiki farming,” he explained.
Sukuma wiki farming.
He joined the Sukuma wiki farming venture since it was cheaper to grow and the market was readily available. He tried various varieties of the Kales seeds but eventually settled on a hybrid breed known as Mfalme F1 collards. Fifty grammes of mfalme seeds cost Ksh 2,600 while the normal breed retails at Ksh 180. Even though the mfalme breed is quite expensive, the seedlings take one month in the nursery after which they are transplanted. They are then ready for harvest after one month. Whilst the normal kales can only be picked for five months, the mfalme variety can be picked for up to two and a half years.
Vincent currently has 10,000 stems of sukuma wiki spread across a 5 acre piece of land and plans to expand to 30,000 stems in the near future. During the exclusive interview, Okuku revealed that he has managed to buy five acres of land.
“I never owned a piece of land. But over the years, I have bought a few parcels that I largely use for farming. I also bought a Honda 5.5 Horse Power generator at Ksh 45,000 that I use to pump water from Lake Victoria. I averagely make ksh 500,000 from sukuma wiki farming in a season,” he revealed.
He currently supplies 40 kg of kales to Raliew Secondary school every Monday, 70 kg every week to St Philips Wera Secondary school and 100kg every week to Ngere high school. He sells 1 kilogram at Ksh 30 thus making around Ksh 6,300 a week from the schools alone. The profits he made enabled him to pay secondary school fees for his niece until she cleared her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). He has also opened a shop for his wife at Ralayo Beach.
Aside from Sukuma wiki farming, Okuku grows tissue culture bananas (Williams and Chinese Dwarfs) and Sugarcane on a three and a half acre piece of land.
“I have 230 Williams breeds and 150 Chinese dwarf circuses which are now ready for sale. I harvest four times a year and sell each bunch for Ksh 350,” he revealed.