Wambui Kiragu: Murang'a Farmer Making Chips, Crisps From Her Sweet Potatoes Farm -

Wambui Kiragu: Murang’a Farmer Making Chips, Crisps From Her Sweet Potatoes Farm

Sara Murimi Wambui is a sweet potato farmer from Mugumo-ini, in the Kirimiri sub-location of Maragua, Murang’a county. After facing difficulties in her previous farming ventures, including onions, capsicum, paw paw, and losing watermelons to theft, Wambui found success in sweet potato farming. She has even added value to her produce by making sweet potato fries and crisps.

Wambui started her farming journey in 2014 after completing her university studies. She began by growing onions and capsicum before trying her hand at paw paw and watermelon farming. However, after losing her onions due to a broken water pump and having her watermelon field cleared by thieves, she took a 2-year break.

While on her break, Wambui stumbled upon orange-fleshed sweet potato fries on the menu at a Berlin restaurant. Upon returning home, she decided to venture into sweet potato farming, focusing on the purple and orange-fleshed varieties. Wambui sourced her vines from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (Kephis) and planted them on a quarter-acre of her family’s two-acre land.

During the harvesting season, Wambui is able to harvest a kilo of sweet potatoes per vine, with her quarter-acre producing at least three tonnes. She sells her produce in Nairobi, with a kilo going for between Ksh 80 to Ksh 100. To add value to her produce, Wambui makes fresh-cut chips for restaurants and events like weddings, and also creates crisps. According to Wambui, “The chips market needs an alternative raw material and sweet potato offers the best option.”