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Former fine art expert finds steady income in raising seedlings

Ndungu holding seedlings
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James Ndung’u holding grafted avocado and tree tomato seedlings at his farm in Nyeri County. He also have about 2,000 yam tubers for sale. Photo courtesy.

A former fine artist who decided to leave a well-paying job three years ago due its one-off nature to start raising various plant seedlings such as tree tomato, hass avocado and passion for sale is now enjoying steady income from the new venture thanks to the ready market with high demand.

According to James Ndung’u, the demand for seedlings are always high with the peak season being during rainy season when sales shoot even higher as farmers are vigorously taking advantage of the much rain water to plant various crops.

“Beginning December last year, during the short rain period I sold over 250,000 tree tomato seedlings making between Sh20,000 to Sh50,000 per day. This is much more than Sh100,000 I used to earn once in a while from a piece of an art work which could come once in two months,” said Ndung’u.

James Ndung’u graduated from Buruburu School of Fine Art in 2001 and due to the nature of his work, he stated hustling from company to company of which most of them took him in on casual basis.

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In 2015 he got a chance to travel to Burundi as a tractor driver and got exposed to yam farming at some farms in the landlocked country.

“I worked in Burundi between 2015 and 2016 with a Chinese construction firm. We could get free time to visit the nearby places when I came across a farm of yams which attracted me and I thought of trying the venture back home,” said the Nyeri agro-entrepreneur.

At the end of the company’s contract, Ndung’u revisited the farms bought some two tubers which he could plant and multiply for sale.

To his surprise, unlike the other varieties famers from the surrounding were growing, the yams yielded five to six kilos per tuber when they matured. The farmers then started seeking for the tubers which he sold to them at Sh100 each.

He got motivated and moved him into raising other seedlings such as hass avocado, passion, tree tomato, macadamia and pomegranate for sale.

Currently, he has over 2,000 tubers which he sells at Sh100 each, tree tomato seedlings goes at Sh80 each while grafted hass avocado seedlings sells at Sh90 each.

He offers free transport for his customers from the farm to Nyeri Town while the buyers are required to cutter for their own transport from there on.

Ndung’u also sells through social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp and his two acre piece of plot has become a model farm where other farmers from the region come to learn and be trained.

He can be reached on +254 711 500966

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