Arrowroot farm, photo courtesy.
Washington Luano, an arrowroot farmer from Matungu in Kakamega County is earning Sh150,000 a season from arrowroot farming after abandoning maize farming which was just earning him Sh60,000 a season.
“I now earn about 25 times what I used to in maize farming which its investment was even higher than what I spend in arrowroot production,” said Luano.
He used to invest Sh30,000 capital in buying maize seeds, fertiliser, and labour. This would give him 30 bags of 90 kilos each and Sh60,000 when all sold at Sh2,000 per bag.
However, since November 2016, the 25 years old farmer has been scaling up his earnings after he decided to try out arrowroots within a half an acre piece of plot part of family land using seedlings he acquired from his parents who for many years have been growing the crop for subsistence purposes.
He also did all the land preparation, planting, weeding alone and used livestock manure in order to further reduce production costs.
After six months he would harvest all the matured tubers for the market. At the end of the season, he realised Sh45,000 profit without spending even a coin.
“I felt so much motivated as this was beyond my expectation and given that I had spent nothing to grow the tubers,” said Luano.
RELATED CONTENT: New technology enables farmers to practice upland arrowroot farming
RELATED CONTENT: High yielding Burundian arrowroot variety tubers available in Kenya
RELATED CONTENT:Six months maturing drought resistant arrowroots enter Kenya
In addition the area is lowland hence it supports arrowroot farming without irrigation. He also makes farmyard manure and sources more from livestock keepers enabling him to grow organic farming of arrowroots.
He has since increased the area under production from a half an acre to one and a half acres enabling him produce between 20 and 24 bags weighing 90kg every season. He sells a bag at Sh7,5000 to a broker in Kakamega Town who letter transport it to bigger markets and sell it to consumers.
“I am not best at marketing that is why I rely on middlemen to sell my produce though I feel it is my biggest challenge because a bag in bigger towns and cities in the country such as Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu fetches between Sh9,000-10,000,” said Lwano.