James Ndwati in a greenhouse. He manages his clients’ crop production process and later link them to markets for fair prices. Photo courtesy.
A 28 years old diploma graduate in Agriculture from East African University is using his knowledge to train and help crop producers through production process and eventually link them to markets. This is after he discovered that many farmers are reportedly recording dismal yields due to lack of the necessary knowhow and experience in the venture.
Julius Ndwati says that most starters in farming today without proper planning get excited especially about venturing in horticulture crops production upon accessing some information on how these crops can mature within a short time and earn them good returns.
“I have come across many beginners in farming who have recorded almost nil returns from growing crops they heard have very lucrative income. This is because they lack some key information right from the beginning,” said Ndawati.
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The young agronomist has built his experience from over time. After his graduation in 2012, Ndwati joined Latia Agribusiness Solutions Limited for a one year agribusiness entrepreneurship course.
He then had his first internship in 2014 at Dr. David Gakuo and Betty Gikonyo’s commercial feedlot farm which was starting its crop production section. The section was to be managed by Ndwati who oversaw production of among other crops onions, spinach, green maize and some traditional vegetables.
“I am happy that during that first attempt in agribusiness management we could produce 30 tonnes of onions per acre within a 35 acres piece of land resulting to 1,050 tonnes at the end of the season,” said Ndawati.
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Beginning 2015, he left the farm after receiving an invitation from an orchard farmer who wanted his service in his five acres fruit farm at Isinya near Kitengela. There he managed the production of grapes, oranges, bananas and apples among others for a period of one year.
Ndwati would in 2016 leave the orchard to join KickStart International, a non-profit social enterprise focused on lifting millions of African farmers out of poverty by helping them to establish profitable businesses.
He worked as the institution’s farm manager for one year and a half overseeing tomatoes, onions, spinach, watermelon and capsicum production.
“I can remember how our production were always all time high which got the organization exposed in both social, online and main stream media for the good yields,” said Ndwati.
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This to him was a challenge and in July 2017 he decided to start his own company Africa Soil and Crop Care Limited through which he would offer consultancy work for various farmers.
He then partnered with Soil Cares and became their agent where he could source for farmers who want to venture in crop farming, he samples his farm soil for testing to discern the suitable crop for the farm.
“It is advisable that farmers know the type of soil for the right cropping and this is where soil testing is key,” said Ndwati.
He also help them budget for the whole production process, take them through it and finally link them to good markets for fair prices.
Ndwati describes his company as mobile operating it from his phone while in the farms. He also has a Facebook page, Julius Ndwati, where he connects with farmers for advice and support.
“I love seeing farmers prosper that is why my main focus when a farmer calls for consultations has never been on how much I will earn but how I can improve his production.”
He is currently working with with farmers in Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Nakuru, Embu, Kiambu. Busia, Machakos, Kajiado, Nyeri, Kericho, Kirinyaga and Tana River. He has also in the past worked with some farmers in Arusha Tanzania and Uganda.
Ndwati can be reached on 0770520605