Tomato farming creates a 4.3M job for Laikipia youth

     Tomato farm-Livingstone-Laikipia.jpg

A section of Livingstone's farm in Laikipia. He has three seasons of planting and harvesting in a year.

At a time when higher learning institutions are producing graduates yearly and releasing then to the limited job markets as compared to high number of the qualified job seekers, one Laikipia youth has decided to do tomato farming as his full time job earning him over 4.3 million annually.

Livingstone Ng’ang’a, 23, a resident of  Ng’arua village in Laikipia County started tomato farming four years ago after learning what other farmers within his surrounding were doing. He acquired one and a half acre from his parents which he decided to till and try a number of crops to see which one could do better.

“When I started farming I did not have advanced knowledge but after tomatoes performed fairly better among my first crops to grow, I decided to major in it and since then my yields have been increasing impressively,” said Ng’ang’a

His efforts attracted Cooper K-Brands Ltd (CKL) agronomists who in 2015 used his farm to offer agronomical training to a number of farmers within the area. The training exposed him to the company’s products like AfriKelp LG-1, the CKL’s brand product which helps tomatoes produce their own hormones resulting into more roots, a stronger and healthier plant that can take up more available nutrients and defend itself better against biotic and abiotic stress factors, resulting in higher yield and quality crops.

RELATED STORY: Tomatoes and capsicum lift youths’ fortunes

RELATED STORY: Hotels demand for tomatoes more than triple young farmers’ incomes

RELATED STORY: Former medical delivery man finds millions in tree tomatoes

“Before training and introducing AfriKelp LG-1 to my tomatoes, I used to harvest between 150-200 boxes of tomatoes per season this has changed to 300-400 boxes,” said Ng’ang’a.

"We are happy that Livingstone is one of those farmers who have accordingly applied our products and training to his farm practices and he is progressively doing well in his tomato farming,” said Hiram Ngung’u, CKL agronomist.

The major markets for Ng’ang’a’s Shanty F1 tomato variety include Muthurwa market in Nairobi, Laikipia town, Daraja Mbili market in Kisii County and Rongo town in Migori County. He sells a box of tomatoes at Sh6000 or even more when the demand is high.

In a good season Ng’ang’a harvests five lorries each carrying 72 boxes of tomatoes. This rakes Sh1, 440,000 minus all the expenses. Ng’ang’a has three seasons of planting and harvesting in a year meaning at the end of every year he pockets Sh4, 320, 000 and spend Sh216, 000 paying his four workers, on transport plus farm input expenses.

For tomatoes or advice on tomato farming reach Ng'ang'a through 0725511906