Robert Mwaura posting with some fresh avocado fruits during Murang’a avocado exhibition and conference last month at Murang’a University of Technology.
Robert Mwaura, a 2013 Bachelor of Commerce (finance option) graduate from KCA University is pocketing up to Sh70,000 gross income in two to three days from avocado farming and supply after quitting a Sh8,000 salary receptionist job which he got after a long search.
After his graduation Mwaura started job hunting just like any other graduate. Meanwhile, he stayed with his parents who are poultry farmers at their home at Githurai 45, Kiambu County and slowly he could develop interest in farming.
“It is from the poultry farming that our parents schooled us and managed to sustain the family. I therefore decided to help them to make myself busy even as I continued pursuing for an employment,” he said.
When none (job) was coming along, his parents decided to register him for another two course in Certified Public Accountancy (CPA) at Vision Institute of Professionals in Nairobi in 2014. This was as a way to further his education to at least attract a god job and income.
However, this would not be the case. When he graduated in 2016 there was no good job still and the only available one he landed on was as a receptionist at Orient Institute of Professional Studies at Githurai 45 where he could earn a meagre Sh8,000 salary per month.
“Though at least I eventually had something to do, the salary was not sustaining because after settling my bills I would remain with nothing to save and sometimes run out of cash which forced me to sometimes rely on the parent for support,” said Mwaura.
After eight months he quit the job and went back to assist the parent in their poultry farm with a view of convincing them after some time to support him for a masters programme.
He was however, given Sh200,000 to begin a butchery business after two months of helping the parents.
He spent Sh60,000 to construct the butchery at Githurai, Sh80,000 to buy a freezer, Sh10,000 on butchery cutlery and the remaining cash to buy his first meat for sale and transport.
In Jannuary 2017 as the butchery was establishing, unexpected happened. It got robbed a night Mwaura attended his aunt’s wedding. The robbers took everything expect the freezer which was well fitted and installed.
“This was a point of a serious down time in my life reflecting how I had struggled and bothered my parents, I had just lost over Sh100,000 worth of my investment to thieves,” he said.
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Frustrated Mwaura after sometimes around June that year visited his grandparents who have been growing avocadoes back at Kandara in Murang’a County. He inquired of the fruit’s production and marketing from a business lady he met during an avocado event in the area.
“This lady overheard my conversation with my dad who was asking me whether I had found some good information concerning the produce,” he said.
After the phone call the two (Mwaura and the lady) had a conversation which lead to the lady connecting him to an avocado exporting company in Nairobi called Saipai Foods Ltd.
He would later operate from his grandparents’ home, collect their fruits and that of other farmers from Mang’u, Gatanga and Kawangi, the neighbouring areas using Sh20,000 capital he got from his mother to supply to Saipai.
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Unfortunately he made a big loss of about Sh11,000 in his first supply due to lack of experience and sourcing the bulk of the produce from other farmers through other brokers.
This lead to his interest in growing his own fruits that would see him cut sourcing costs and avoiding bad avocadoes which get rejected by the exporter leading to much loss.
“I decided to ask for a portion of land from my grandparents who accepted to give me some five acres to grow avocadoes and with some little cash I had I prepared the land, bought seedlings and from time to time planted the seedlings as a way of spreading their maturity period and consequently the harvest.”
Today the 28 years old farmers has over 150 trees which he is currently harvesting. He supplies between 80,000-10,000 pieces of avocadoes which he divides between Saipai and other two exporting companies.
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From his farm alone, he harvest 40,000 pieces per harvest cycle, he also source more from other farmers to meet his increasing supply demand.
“I supply the companies in two to three days a week making Sh40,000-50,000 and this figure can even rise up to Sh70,000 when the produce are up to the standard require,” said Mwaura.
According to him, farming has given him all that he has been missing for the very many hustling years and he is now planning to increase the acreage under production to harvest enough for the growing market.