You are here: Home > News > Creating brighter futures for young people through vegetable farming

Creating brighter futures for young people through vegetable farming

06 March 2020

Creating brighter futures for young people through vegetable farming

Bent in his field of lush French beans at his farm in the steep Elgeyo Marakwet terrain, 27-year-old Naphtali Wangai walks from row to row while uprooting recently sprouted weeds made recurrent by the short rains season.  

When his farming journey began, accessing a market for his cabbages and potatoes was a challenge since he only looked for buyers when the crops were ready for harvesting. This would often fail to fetch good prices as he had to take whatever price was offered due to the high perishability of vegetables.

Since joining the Growing Futures project, funded by UK aid from the UK government, Naphtali is now able to get a high value market for snow peas and French beans after signing a contract with VegPro, an export company based in Nairobi. He has also been trained in pest and disease identification, crop rotation, harvesting and post-harvest management as well as record keeping. The project targets young people and helps them create their own thriving businesses in farming in a bid to address the limited employment opportunities available in Kenya.

“I am now able to identify pests and diseases and with the help of the Farm Africa Extension Officers, I buy the recommended chemicals needed to eradicate them. Record keeping has enabled me to track the performance of my farming as I record my expenses and sales in a book, which enables me to calculate my margins.”

November 2018 marked the beginning of his export production when he planted three kilograms of snow peas on a leased quarter of an acre piece of land. He managed to sell the 260 kilograms of sorted snow peas at Ksh 150 per kilogram as the demand was relatively high. 

“I later planted four kilograms of French beans seeds in January 2019 on half an acre, which produced 1,400 kilograms. After deducting 100 kilograms of rejects and selling the rest at Ksh 50 per kilogram, I made sales of Ksh 65,000 and took home a net profit of Ksh 31,700 after deducting my Ksh 33,300 cost of production. It was then that I realised horticulture is profitable.”

This project is funded by UK aid from the UK government.