Part of Kennedy Njoroge’s maize farm intercropped with french beans. The farmer is drawing water from the nearby stream to water the farm where he grows green maize for sale. Photo courtesy.
A farmer from Kirinyaga County has resorted to green maize cultivation earning about Sh100,000 gross profit per season which is four times higher as compared to growing the crop for dry grains, a venture he abandoned a year ago.
Kennedy Njoroge early last year grew maize in his acre piece of plot in Mwea Sub-County. He would harvest and sell the crop as dry grains after about six months making Sh72,000 gross income the money he could receive after three weeks from traders he sold to.
“After spending about Sh60,000 in production and waiting for weeks to receive payment from traders I supplied 27 bags of maize grains to, I only realised Sh12,000 net profit,” said Njoroge.
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According to Tegemeo Institute, an agricultural research extension of Egerton University, producing a bag of dry maize costs Sh2,000 translating to about Sh60,000 per acre.
The price of a bag of maize has been fluctuating in the country; bag of 90 kg was sold at Sh3,000 in 2017, Sh3,200 last year and currently at Sh2,500 by National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).
While thinking on which type of farming to venture in next, he attended a one day training in Mwea by Syngenta, a Swiss-based global company that produces agrochemicals and seeds where he learn of green maize production and marketing.
He then bought a kilo of Mavuno Zaidi maize variety seeds at Sh3,000 before spending Sh1,000 and Sh7,000 on fertiliser and labour respectively.
“By the time I conducted the first weeding, the farm had about 16,000 maize plants each with double cobs,” said Njoroge.
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After four months the green maize were ready for market. He would harvest them on a daily basis to transport them to Nairobi and Kirinyaga markets selling one big cob at seven shillings and one small ones at three shillings each.
Soon he made contacts with the traders who are now collecting the produce from the farm relieving him transport costs.
Currently the farmer who has been targeting dry seasons to cultivate the crop to sell at a higher price due to low supply but high demand, is harvesting his green maize selling at Sh5 per small cobs and Sh8 per big cobs.
“I receive calls from traders from Nairobi and Kirinyaga who place orders before coming to the farm to collect the produce for market,” said Njoroge.
To spread his income the farmer is also growing other short time maturing crops such as tomatoes, French beans, and egg palnts.