News and knowhow for farmers

Part-time farming earns Kisii teacher over Sh80,000 a month

Scholar Kerubo Openda who got a government employment as a primary school teacher in 1997 for a salary of Sh5,800 then decided to venture in multiple farming side-hustles in 2000 to up her income a decision which has seen her earn over Sh80,000 from her dairy, poultry and horticulture farming.

Upon graduating from Eregi Teachers College in 1997 she got an employment by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) immediately but her love for farming since childhood lured her to try poultry farming by the beginning of the year 2000.

“I have had passion for farming since my tender age and I thought this was the right time to start actualizing it into something profitable to supplement my monthly salary,” said Kerubo.

She therefore proceeded to spend Sh45,000 from her savings to buy 300 one-day old chicks which she bought at Sh150 each and used the remaining amount to purchase an incubator.

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Since she had no electricity connection then, she had to boil hot water every morning before going to work. The water was used in the incubator to keep the chicks warm and she could exchange it every lunch time. In the night she spent with them in her bedroom where she put then in a structure which could be covered with a blanket.

“Starting up was not easy as I had no enough equipment and materials to set up a poultry house so I had to keep the chicks warm and feed them with whatever resources I had,” said Kerubo.

“Unfortunately I lost about 70 chicks which could not survive the conditions.”

The remaining 230 chicks grew up well and upon maturity after around six to eight months she sold all of them at Sh650 each earning her Sh149,500 which she used to buy one crossbreed dairy cow, more indigenous (kienyeji) chicken, coffee, 20 tissue culture bananas and some avocado seedlings that she planted in her half an acre farm near Kisii Town.

After some years the number of her dairy cows increased to ten and she could earn over Sh17,000 from the milk they produced and sold to the locals and in the town.

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It was at this time when she decided further to sell everything she had in her farm including the cows, bananas, the chicken and fruits getting over Sh350,000 which she usedto buy a bigger land of three acres somewhere in Homa Bay County.

“I wanted to venture in a large-scale agricultural production because I had realized it could earn me good cash even more than my teaching job,” she said.

Kerubo then venture in large-scale watermelon, capsicum and cucumber production. This she said could earn her weekly cash as she used to harvest twice a week being on every Wednesday and Sunday selling the fresh produce in Kisii and Rongo towns while others to some traders from Kisimu, Nandi, Kilgories and Kericho who sought them from her farm.

“I could pocket Sh80,000 per week and I was surprised but motivated to continue in agribusiness and even expand to more other such practices.”

Currently she own a pick-up worth Sh550,00 which she uses to transport her produce to the market.

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Kerubo who is still a teacher, a job which is currently earning her Sh60,000 a month is thinking of seeking for an early retirement from the job to focus on her agribusiness work.

“All these time I have been forced to wake up early and by 6:30 am I report to my farm where I supervise and give instructions to my workers until 7:30 am when I leave for school and after school from 5:00 pm I get back to the farm to do final checkups to ensure everything is done,” said the 48 years old teacher.

“Horticulture is earning me between Sh40,000 and Sh50,000 while dairy and poultry bring about Sh20,000-30,000. Additionally, I run a small bread bakery unit which gives in some good cash too so why wait for 12 months what I can earn in just three months.”

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