Urban spinach farmer makes Sh100,000 in profit per month
|Francis Ndolo on his farm in Landless estate, Kiambu County. He makes a huge income from urban farming. (Photo:James Wanzala/Standard)|
SEE ALSO :No party for tea farmers in bonus payoutHigh-yielding Bag gardening is an inexpensive but high-yielding food security technology developed by Real Impact, as it maximises land and water use. They are efficient for schools, hospitals, informal settlements and on small-scale farms. The NGO is based on Kichozi Farm in Thika, Kiambu County where it has a 2.5 hectare demonstration farm and a training kitchen. After retiring from service in 1985, Ndolo initially tried to venture into poultry farming. His 12,000 broilers died of disease in 1997 and left him desolate. But in October, while watching TV one evening, he saw a demonstration of vertical bag gardening. “I took the contacts of the advertisers and got in touch. What interested me is that the sacks can be useful for up to seven to ten years if well-kept unlike the normal sisal sacks which rot fast,” says Ndolo who is also a musician and an author.
SEE ALSO :State to build Sh100m dairy embryo plantHe pooled capital of Sh300,000 and bought 97 large size bags at a cost of Sh1,100 each, a total of Sh120,000. The large size vertical bags have holes in them where stem seedlings are planted. They come in small medium and large sizes. He first decided to plant tomatoes in ten bags but they all died due to bad seeds. He resorted to planting spinach only, thanks to its fast maturity period of one month. Eight months later, Ndolo is a happy farmer with leafy spinach in his compound and he says in one day, he makes Sh2,000 selling spinach to neighbours. “If I sell to the market, I make Sh3,000. This translates to about Sh100,000 per month and after deducting expenses, I remain with not less than Sh60,000,” says Ndolo. Ndolo sells 15 leaves at Sh10. He does not just plant and sell but also acts as an agent for the NGO to procure bags and liquid fertiliser to use as training materials for interested farmers. [email protected]