Agribusiness farmer’s fortune
Meet Cleophas Obwogi from Bogeka Location, Kitutu Chache South, Kisii County who is reaping a fortune from agribusiness.
Obwogi makes sh. 40,000 from his 120ft by 70ft plot every month due to what he says is maximum utilization of a small portion of land which has categorized the region.
This made Obwogi to venture into agribusiness farming in his small homestead where he has embraced maximum land use and use of appropriate technology for excellent agricultural produce.
Obwogi has planted several vegetables including pumpkins (masosa), spinach, kales cucumbers, dhania, eggplant and mushroom which he sells to neighbors and to Nyakoe market.
In mushroom production he says that it is cheap to cultivate because it uses farm waste such as maize combs, maize stalks, bagasse and its structure is cheap as it requires wood ash which reduces acids, maize flour lime and cotton seedcake.
He says that production of mushroom requires a clean and sterile environment for production.
“Since photosynthesis is not required in mushroom production the structure must be cool, dark and moist in order to maintain the whiteness of the mushrooms,” says Obwogi.
Strawberry fruits are also planted in the farm and he says that he got two seedlings from the Southern Kenya show in Kisii town and embraced strawberry farming in his farm.
Being a product that is mostly imported from other countries, Obwogi says that it is cheap in terms of management in that he only removes weeds from the strawberries. He says for a period of eight months he has been able to make a profit of Shs. 40,000 from selling the seedlings alone.
He also ventured into producing strawberry fruits in his greenhouse and hopes to make more profit from the fruits. Apart from strawberries he also has purple passion fruit, yellow passion fruits and pawpaw plant and he produces seedlings of these fruits.
The Farmer also produces greenhouse tomatoes for commercial use, saying that though they are affected by bacteria wilt he has been able to make profit from them since they take a long period of time before discarding them from the farm.
Obwogi also has a zero grazing for his cow and has dairy goats for milk production. He has also embraced rabbits and the Guinea pig as part of livestock in the farm, he says that the wastes from this animals acts as a foliar feed and as an insecticide.
Fish farming is another sector which Obwogi has ventured into, he keeps tilapia and currently he has embraced catfish as it is easy to rear and grows fast and big in size.
He also adds that the catfish can feed on meat but tilapia requires a special diet making it difficult for the farmer especially if one lacks money to purchase the feeds. “Compared to tilapia, catfish grows big in size within a short period of time and it can survive in less water conditions,” says Obwogi. Fish farming has given him a profit of approximately Shs. 60,000 in a period of seven months.
He is planning to start hatching and producing his own fingerlings since the current brood stock that he bought form the Kisii County multiplication and training centre has stunted growth as they are in different sizes despite feeding them as required.
He has received 500 fingerlings from the Kisii county multiplication and training centre for free to continue fish farming in his farm. He is planning to do ornamental fish farming for commercial purposes as it yields a lot of income as it is measured in inches when selling them.
Apart from rearing chicken he also rears doves, quails, Guinea fowls, geese, turkeys, ducks and stingless bees. He says that the geese and turkeys are a source of security despite the fact that he also uses them as a source of white meat and for commercial purposes. For reproduction he uses hatchery in producing young ones through the use of incubators and sells them from one to three months old.
“I want people to come to my place and learn more about agribusiness and how maximum utilization of land, agribusiness and its importance in our economy,” says Obwogi.
He however, told KNA that beside doing farming, he is also a bodaboda rider in Kisii Town. “I don’t like being idle after I finish my work at the green house and from the farm, I am a bodaboda rider in town from the 5pm to 11pm,” says Obwogi. He has two workers who assist him in conducting activities in the farm.
An optimistic Obwogi says that when he started the agribusiness, people around the society demoralized him due to their negative attitude but hard work had borne fruit for him.
He urges the youths to embrace agribusiness in order to ensure growth of the economy in the county and the country at large.
Obwogi has however had his own share of setbacks as he explains. He began with rearing chicken which gave him losses.
“I begun with kienyeji pure breed chicken but discovered that they were not making profit and later sought for a loan of 1.1M and bought red legion kenbro (layers) which gave eggs d for a period of three months,” he explains.
New castle diseases (NCD) affected the chicken in his farm and although he managed the disease by saving 80% of the chicken and went for a loan of sh. 100,000 and bought feeds for they produced fewer eggs making him a loss of sh. 1M.
By Jane Naitore