The engineer who found fortunes in coffee and pigs

pigfarmingBehind towering coffee bushes with enticing red berries, a pulping machine and a modern pig sty hosting dozens of pigs is the make or break story of Timothy Njogu, an engineer who found passion in agriculture and whose commitment has paid off seeing him voted the winner in the Elgon Kenya National farmers award, small scale farm fully commercialized category.

And while the win has made him a celebrity in his Nyeri area, seeing farmers flock his farm to learn the secret behind his success, Njogu has remained true to his passion, with discipline, dedication and commitment guiding his forte. “I have been in this business for some time. I cant quite remember when I started. It has been many years ago, but I definitely enjoy doing it. I guess the reason I have reached where I am is because I don’t take anything for granted. My farming is my everything. I give it my all,” he said.

This dedication is what has seen him transform his farm from a few coffee bushes that he started with to the 4,5 acre empire he has created today which has seen him purchase a coffee pulping machine that aids him in removing the soft pulp in coffee berries and taming uncontrollable fermentation and rot.

Njogu first started with a few coffee bushes and pigs as I way of trial. But when the demand for his produce picked up, he knew farming was made for him. His coffee and pig business have both blend in so well, a fact he attributes to keeping him in business. “Pig rearing requires a lot of discipline and dedication. You have to stick to the right feeding rations and times if you are to be successful in the business. In the pig trade it is the little things that matters. It is ensuring that you don’t overlook any detail, no matter how small and insignificant it may appear,” he added.

Testament to his thriving farming empire is a butchery that his wife Mrs Njogu operates. Once pigs are mature, they are taken to the butchery where business is booming. “Although we sell the mature pigs to the traders around, we decided to set up our own butchery and we haven’t regretted ever since. Business is good. People love pork,” Njogu said.

But it has not always been a walk in the park for Njogu. A project he started has stalled for years, as he juggles between keeping his coffee and pig business going. “Its all in finances. That is the biggest hurdle I face. The financial products that exists don’t really benefit farmers per se. We are not there yet,” he added.

But Njogu has the tenacity of the hawk, and hasn’t let that dampen his spirits. His vigour and approach to life as an enterprising farmer has won many hearts, which has seen many farmers around Nyeri pitch tent in his farm to learn a thing or two about his prowess in farming diversification.

When the judges at the National Farmers Awards visited him, they were wowed by the degree of detail Njogu applied to his every farming practice. From clearing the pig dung, to feeding time to weeding in the coffee farm, everything seemed organized and coordinated.

When he was crowned winner in the 2014 Elgon Kenya National Farmers Awards, small scale farm fully commercialized category, Njogu said though it came as a surprise to him, he felt honoured to be recognized for doing what he loved. “I was feted for doing what gives me strength to wake up every morning. What other joy surpasses this one,” he said.