Rows of succulent tomatoes sit comfortably next to nicely tended watermelons. Adjacent to them, tangerine fruit trees sways in harmony with orange ones in a three farm whose high yields are not the only marvel but the man behind it; Josphat Kimathi Limbitu is a blind man from Imenti North district who has defied his lack of eyesight to create a model farm and inspire hundreds of farmers including chiefs, lawyers and doctors from his area.
Having been blind from an early stage Kimathi was trained at Sikiri Agriculture College for the blind and deaf in South Nyanza. With the help of his wife, Kimathi has managed to grow watermelons, oranges, tangerines, bananas and miraa trees.
“As an elder in Meru I cannot have a farm that doesn’t have miraa. It ties with the Meru customs,” he said. But it is the story of sinking a borehole to get water to irrigate his farm that is eye catching. According to Kimathi, he sank the 72 feet borehole with the help of his wife who would lower him into the borehole using ropes. This was after realizing that the water from the nearby river Kuuru would not be enough to cover his entire farm.
Once he found water on the borehole, with the help of his wife he could draw it using pulleys then proceed to storing it in 200 litre drums and later channel it to the farm. But as the farm has grown and having realized good returns from the farm, he has gone ahead to buy a generator and pump which makes pumping water from the borehole and storing it in tanks even easier.
He has become a household name earning him the name Mkala in his village. The quick turnarounds and returns especially with his condition have challenged most of the other locals to delve into farming which they traditionally disregarded.
Majority of them praise Kimathi for a farming revolution that has seen jobs created, more students now accessing education, and idle youth finding income and careers in farming.