Traditionally, a lot of young people in Kenya have been encouraged to pursue white collar jobs. Farming on the other hand is seen as a career for rural or retired people.
However, one Kenyan man is disabusing this notion saying farming is just a career like any other. When he moved to the UK as a teenager, farming was not on his agenda. However, he has gone on to work in the farming industry in UK for more than ten years.
Sitting with Lynn Ngugi at his farm in Hampshire, Flavian Obiero explained his journey as a farmer in the UK.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
Born in Mombasa, he grew up in Kilifi before his family relocated to Kericho. At the time, his father got the opportunity to move to the United Kingdom in 2005 and he went to boarding school in Chemelil for a short time. Together with his sister and mother, they joined their father in the UK in 2006.
Gap year and farming
He went on to complete his high school education and then took a gap year before pursuing further studies. During that time, he got a job working on a farm and thus began his journey into farming in the UK. Later, he pursued a Bachelor of Science in Animal Management
As part of the personal development module, he applied for a job as an assistant manager at a pig farm three months before completing his Bachelor studies. He continued on the job for three years and felt like he had learnt a lot hence he needed something else.
He got a job at at a feed company and became a manager after six months. He then got a chance to become a manager at the farm where he got his first job during gap year.
Venturing on his own
In late 2022, he took a chance and applied to rent a 61-acre farm in New Hampshire. The application went through and he began pig farming in April 2023.
Before venturing, he did market research to avoid having produce that no one would buy. His support system including his partner, a full time travel agent with experience in marketing have also been instrumental in the establishment of the farm.
He hopes to exit the venture before his 7-year lease having made enough profits. To support the venture, he also works part time as a manager in another farm and as an apprentice butcher.
According to him, farming is a respectable career like any other and anyone who feels otherwise is in the wrong.