For over three years Faith Kirema’s quarter piece of land in Kitengela, some 30km from Nairobi’s CBD has been lying fallow. However, since January this year she has turned it into a production field for short-term crops such as vegetables, capsicum and tomatoes for income and family consumption.
“Since 2016 I have never thought of making this land productive because lack constant water supply for irrigation since the place is most of the time dry and dusty,” said Faith who also works in aviation industry.
She say, before, her family used to spend Sh4,000 to buy 10,000 litres of water for domestic use every month. This could have not been enough also for farming which needs even more supply.
So when a neighbour who had dug a borehole accepted to offer them water at a lesser service fee at the beginning this year, Faith saw a great opportunity in utilising most her free time in farm production.
“I decided to start with indigenous vegetables such as black nightshade, spider plant, cowpeas and dhania in an open field system,” said.
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In about four weeks she would start harvesting, some, to feed her family and the rest sell at Sh50 per kilo to traders who come to the farm to collect the vegetable for market.
However, when she packages and sell to her colleagues at her work station, a kilo would go for Sh100.
This encouraged her so much that in the subsequent season she decided to incorporate other crops such as capsicum and tomatoes.
She has since constructed three 8x24m greenhouses under which she grows kales, spinach, tomatoes and capsicum.
“I have great expectations at the end of this season from the over 850 capsicum plants and 600 tomato plants in the greenhouses. For every single tomato plant I hope to harvest 30 kilos and an average capsicum yield of 15 to 25 fruits per plant,” she said.
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Currently, capsicum market price ranges between Sh5 and Sh10 per fruit while tomatoes sell at between 20 and 25 shillings per fruit.
So far, she has employed one farmhand who helps in the day-today farm duties though her work plan also gives her good time to oversee and get involved in the production and marketing of the produce.
“I work in shift and this has always given me some good time to participate at the farm hence I look forward to improve on every aspect.”
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Faith can be reached 0724700693