News and knowhow for farmers

Agriculture graduate training new farmers and linking them to markets

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An agriculture graduate from East African University is using his knowledge to train and help crop producers through the production process and eventually link them to markets. This is after he discovered that many farmers are reportedly recording dismal yields due to a lack of the necessary know-how and experience in the venture.

Julius Ndwati says that most starters in farming today without proper planning get excited especially about venturing into horticultural crop production upon accessing some information on how these crops can mature within a short time and earn them good returns.

“I have come across many beginners in farming who have recorded almost nil returns from growing crops they heard have very lucrative income. This is because they lack some key information right from the beginning,” said Ndawati.

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The young agronomist has built his experience over time. After graduation, Ndwati joined Latia Agribusiness Solutions Limited for a one-year agribusiness entrepreneurship course.

He then had his first internship at Dr. David Gakuo and Betty Gikonyo’s commercial feedlot farm which was starting its crop production section. The section was to be managed by Ndwati who oversaw the production of among other crops onions, spinach, green maize, and some traditional vegetables.

“I am happy that during that first attempt in agribusiness management, we could produce 30 tonnes of onions per acre on a 35-acre piece of land resulting in 1,050 tonnes at the end of the season,” said Ndawati.

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He then left the farm after receiving an invitation from an orchard farmer who wanted his service on his five-acre fruit farm at Isinya near Kitengela. There he managed the production of grapes, oranges, bananas, and apples among others for one year.

He then left the orchard to join KickStart International, a non-profit social enterprise focused on lifting millions of African farmers out of poverty by helping them to establish profitable businesses.

He worked as the institution’s farm manager for one year and a half overseeing tomatoes, onions, spinach, watermelon and capsicum production.

“I can remember how our production was always all-time high which got the organization exposed in both social, online, and mainstream media for the good yields,” said Ndwati.

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This was a challenge and he decided to start his own company Africa Soil and Crop Care Limited through which he would offer consultancy work for various farmers.

He then partnered with Soil Cares and became their agent where he could source for farmers who want to venture into crop farming, he samples his farm soil for testing to discern the suitable crop for the farm.

“It is advisable that farmers know the type of soil for the right cropping and this is where soil testing is key,” said Ndwati.

He also helps them budget for the whole production process, takes them through it, and finally links them to good markets for fair prices.

Ndwati describes his company as mobile operating it from his phone while in the farms. He also has a Facebook page, Julius Ndwati, where he connects with farmers for advice and support.

“I love seeing farmers prosper that is why my main focus when a farmer calls for consultations has never been on how much I will earn but how I can improve his production.”

He is currently working with with farmers in Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Nakuru, Embu, Kiambu. Busia, Machakos, Kajiado, Nyeri, Kericho, Kirinyaga and Tana River. He has also in the past worked with some farmers in Arusha Tanzania and Uganda.

Ndwati can be reached on 0770520605

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