One Kakamega County farmer has doubled his earnings from agribusiness after purchasing a Sh57,000 flour milling machine, which is helping him sell his own and bought maize.
Wycliffe Ochango saw an opportunity in offering milling services after selling the maize, which was a step ahead of farmers and posho mill owners in his Bikura Village.
“Most farmers only produce maize for sale while posho mill owners offer services only. The nearest machine from our village is about a kilometer away. I brought the two together for convenience,” he said.
He charges the buyers Sh10 per a tin for the posho mill services. The single-phase machine, which he bought from Kakamega town, consumes power of about Sh4,000 per month.
The agripreneur harvested 12 bags of 90kg maize from his once acre in August 2015, but bought 35 more from other farmers who were selling the gains at throwaway prices.
Ochango sells a two kilogramme tin full of maize at Sh90, which earns him a gross income of Sh4,050 from every 90kg bag.
He bought a two kilogramme tin full of maize at Sh50, translating to Sh2,250 per 90kg bag.
“I moved to maize growing after the sugarcane market started dwindling. Maize prices also started falling despite high production costs. I made countless losses before realising that prices rise immediately before next harvest due to shortages. I captured this opportunity and it is keeping my family,” Ochango said during the 2016 Kakamega County agricultural show.
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He has been doing so since 2012 after realising farmers were complaining of poor prices offered in his hometown market and at the National Cereals and Produce Board.
“It is June and farmers are yet to harvest. Demand is high. I have sold 33 sacks and paid school fees for my children in high school. I plan to sell seven more,” he said.
Out of the Sh133,650 earned, he paid Sh103,000 school fees for his two children studying at Shitoto and Lubinu high schools.
Ochango’s secret of maintaining water moisture low is airing the maize regularly.
“It is tedious to pull in and pull out more than 30 bags of maize from the store for airing after a fortnight. But losses to aflatoxin are deadly to business. I have to do it with the help of hired labour,” he said.
The airing also helps in reducing rat, weevil and moth attacks.
Apart from the maize, Ochango also grows bananas and rears a dairy cow as well as two pigs.
“Agribusiness requires diversity for sustainability. I also grow capsicum for sale in December after harvesting maize,” he said.
His crossbreed cow was rated second best among improved breeds in the Kakamega County 2016 Agricultural Society of Kenya Show.
Poor post harvest practice and low demand when the supply is high have constantly caused huge losses to farmers.
Similarly, importation of cheaper maize from Uganda, Malawi, and other COMESA states year in year out causes the prices to remain as low as Sh1,600 for every 90kg bag.