School dropout reaps big from bananas and sweet potatoes
By Titus Oteba | April 2nd 2016
He dropped out of school in Form One when his father died in 1992. With nothing much to do, he worked as a casual labourer due to his minimal education, saving Sh120,000 over a period of time.
With this money, Geoffrey Walumbe Musungu started his farming business in 2003 at Mwomo village in Bungoma County.
Musungu, 40, specialises in bananas and sweet potato farming, a venture that has earned him the nickname Nasipwondi wa Matore, which translates to a banana and sweet potato farmer in Bukusu dialect.
“I ventured into farming after attending short courses at Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, Kabete and Kisii where I was taught how to grow bananas and sweet potatoes,” he says.
Musungu began with 120 stems of bananas, expanding his farm to the current 400 stems in his three acres. Two other acres are under sweet potatoes.
“My goal is to expand the banana stems to 1,200 and put four acres under sweet potatoes. The county government should facilitate us for value addition in our farming. My venture pays but we lack direct market,” he told Smart Harvest.
It has not always been sweet for Musungu though. In 2000, his attempt to grow sugar cane backfired after his two-acre farm failed terribly when arsonists burnt it down.
“I had chosen sugarcane because it is the only cash crop locals depend on here. It is when I ran into losses that I decided to change and venture into other crops. I chose bananas and sweet potatoes. I also rear traditional chicken, turkey and cattle. This is what keeps me going,” he says.
Musungu has over 100 kienyeji chicken and 60 turkeys which he sells to restaurants in Bungoma town and nearby markets in Malaba and Amagoro. The father of six takes pride in the fact that he has succeeded where many others have failed - become successful in growing other crops other than sugarcane.
His main challenge though is drought. He also wants the county government to deploy more extension officers to help farmers do better.
“Farming never disappoints,” he says.
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