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Family farming enables Nyamira residents triple income

kales nyakwaras farm

A fam­ily of eight mem­bers in Nyamira County has joined hands to work to­gether in their three quarter piece of land where they prac­tice mixed farm­ing by rear­ing two dairy cows and eight dairy goats, grow­ing pump­kin, kales and spin­ach up­ping their in­come from Sh50,000 to over Sh150,000 per year.

Ac­cord­ing to United Na­tions Food and Ag­ri­cul­tural Or­gan­iz­a­tion 2015 ana­lysis on the eco­nomic lives of small­holder farm­ers in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries of which Kenya is one, about two-thirds of the de­vel­op­ing world’s three bil­lion rural people live in about 475 mil­lion small farm house­holds, work­ing on land plots smal­ler than two hec­tares which de­pend pre­dom­in­antly on fam­ily la­bour.

Furthermore, these families are poor and food insecure and have limited access to markets and services. However, they farm their land and produce food to feed themselves and sell the surplus besides engaging in a number of informal economic activities to contribute towards their small incomes.

As for the Nyamira family, they distribute work among them depending on age, time, other engagements and responsibilities among others to avoid inconveniencing any member.

“Majority of my family members are children who go to school. This is one factor I consider when I allocate duties to them as they are readily available during holidays and weekends when they help in most farm activities,” said Evans Nyakwara, the father of the family and a pastor of a Christ Evangelistic Church in the area.

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Last year for example, he had three of his children in secondary school, one in college and two in private primary schools and their fees which was over Sh90,000 came from their mixed farming venture.

“I pay my school fees purely from the money I collect from the sales of my farm produce and milk from my four dairy goats and two dairy cows that I sell on a daily basis,” said Nyakwara.

He says his wife is in charge of most of the activities especially when he is out for his gospel ministry and when the children are in school though he has to ensure that the dairy feeds for the gats and the cows are available for the whole day before leaving.

Leaving feeds for the livestock make work easier for my wife as she is only left to water them in the course of the day after her morning duties, he said.

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Fortunately for Nyakwara, two of his children are currently in secondary school and two who are in post-secondary school level loved agriculture and pursued it as a subject. This has made his work easier as some of what they are taught in school they apply in the farm.

cabbages nyakwaras farm

His first daughter, Linet Nyakwara who graduated from Kabianga University with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Economics is now instrumental in her father’s aquaculture project that he is now working on having dug a fish pond measuring 30 x10 metres.

“She graduated last year December and while still on her internship, she is helping me with the best ideas to put up my fish farm which I have started working on.”

His son who is a form four candidate and his second daughter, Sarah Nyakwara who is waiting to join college always team up with their mother to manage their horticulture farm of kales, spinach, pumpkin and passion fruits.

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Nyakwara milks more than a litre from each of his four dairy goats which are lactating at the moment. In a week he is able to sell the milk and earn Sh600 per goat giving him a total of Sh24,000 from the four goats.

He also sells more than five-one year old goats every year from his flock. A goat goes at Sh4500 giving him roughly Sh22,500. This with the sales from pumpkins, spinach, kales and passion fruits rakes him Sh85,000.

His two Friesian dairy cows produces about 40 litres of milk daily which he sells to the locals at Sh35 per litre earning him Sh1,400 daily translating to Sh42,000 a month.

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