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Tomato turns Western students into entrepreneurs

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Students at Chisare Secondary School of Western Kenya are earning their school income from the sale of tomato plants in a classic example of how agriculture is helping schools sustain themselves.

Students receive training in how to improve the quality of their produce and learn how to grow high-value crops, such as tomatoes. The school’s young farmers’ club patron Alfred Ogero has been active in ensuring that students’ tomatoes are packaged and well marketed.

After learning about the greenhouse technology, he improvised a greenhouse using locally available material and successfully established 700 stems of tomatoes, which he expects to harvest soon. He said: “The crop is doing well and we hope to harvest soon. I have children who are in school and one in university, so the family needs to have diverse sources of income.”

The students have been participating with great enthusiasm. Ezekiel, a form three student at the school, is growing 400 stems of tomatoes in his family’s garden. Obviously proud of his hard work, Ezekiel said: “I hope to sell off my produce very soon so the earnings will supplement my family’s income.”

His father said: “We are very happy about what Ezekiel is doing. He is completely occupied with his farming. I allowed him to farm on my small piece of land if he showed seriousness in his farm work!”The school’s greenhouse attendant Joel Matundura planted 400 stems, and has already sold off the produce and reinvested the money to establish another crop. Asked about how the previous crop fared, Joel simply said: “Not bad at all!”

“I hope to do even more now that the business has taken off. I am very thankful to Farm Africa for introducing this technology to the school farm where I borrowed it from.”

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