News and knowhow for farmers

Graduate earns about Sh1m a season from hay production after leaving Sh10,000 salary job

boma rhode grass hay

A 2012 Mass Communication graduate from Kenya Methodist University is earning about Sh1m net income a season from Boma Rhode hay farming after quitting a Sh10,000 salary job thanks to his farther who natured the young farmer through the fodder production.

David Kemboi Kiprop, 26, after graduating in December 2012 got a job as a correspondence by Kenya News Agency in January 2013 but after settling his monthly bills from the salary, he would remain with nothing to save something which kept him looking for an alternative.

“Though I loved my job, every month I would run out of cash which kept me seeking for help from my parents. I totally had nothing to save for my future development,” said Kemboi.

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When he could not bear it anymore, he left after about four months of service and joined his father back at their home in Mang’u, a place between Kabarak and Rongai. There his father had 31 acres of land on which he was commercially cultivating Boma Rhode hay.

He stated helping the farther and at the same time learning the production process which included even operating tractors for a period of one year.

“I made sure I got involved in every step of the hay production, knowing where to buy the seeds, machine operation, harvesting and market sourcing,” said Kemboi.

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In 2015 he was ready to go on his own after saving Sh90,000 capital from helping his father. He acquired 15 acres from the father to start his own venture.

He used Sh11,000 to buy 10 kilos of seeds from Kenya Seed Company Limited, spent Sh4,500 on labour and some free manure from Maasai pastoralists who camp with their livestock in some part of their farm as they look for pasture during drought for 3-4 months.

“After this period, we are able to collect enough manure which we can use to supply the crops fo the whole yaer,” said Kemboi.

The first harvest saw him realise 250 bales per acre translating to 3,750 bales out of the 15 acres he planted. A bale goes at Sh200 minimum price selling to livestock farmers from the area. This means the 26 years old farmer raked in a total of Sh75,000. This to him was a motivation.

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He has since increased the acreage under the fodder production from 15 to 20 since 2016. Currently he can harvest up to 300 bales per acre translating to 6000 bales which he sell at Sh250 per bale earning him Sh1.5m gross income per season and Sh1m after expenses.

“I have over two seasons a year of harvesting with limited maintenance  as the crop is drought resistant and it grows again and again when it is cut hence there is no planting every season.”

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From this he has acquired more acres of land near Salgaa where he has started poultry from last year November, keeping broilers.

He started with 600 one day old chicks he bought at Sh78 each, and used Sh60,000 to buy feeds, drugs and labour. By February this year he had already sold 270 mature broilers at Sh450 each to Bamburi Cement and Royal Tank companies in the area which he says buy the chicken to feed their staff.

He has two employees whom he pays up to Sh40,000 when there is much work to be done at the farm.

Kemboi is now thinking of venturing into breeding pet dogs to increase his income saying that farming has become part of him and a source of his livelihood.

“Farming has become so sweet and profiting and I am not thinking otherwise besides farming because I have learnt it can sustain,” he said.

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