By Prudence Minayo
Francis Kimani Mwangi, like many others, struggled to find employment after clearing university. After numerous dead ends, he got into the farming business, something that changed his life. The business grew and 9 years ago in an interview with Mkulima Young, he revealed that he was making tidy profits from the venture.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
Looking for employment
Francis left university in 2009 after graduating with a Bachelor of Education in Kiswahili and History. He got a job at Ngoliba secondary school as a teacher employed by the School’s Board of Management. His monthly salary was Sh5,000 and at times he went without pay. After deducting his expenses that included fare to and from work, he remained with between Ksh2,500 to Ksh3,500.
Then, he went for a Teachers Service Commission interview. Seventy people showed up for the interview, which required only one person. The person who was taken had graduated in 1997. This discouraged him so much and he realized business was the way to go.
He tried a few businesses which didn’t work out but he had managed to save some money. He was interested in farming and visited ranches including Kahawa Sukari ranch. On one of his visits, he met a veterinary officer, who, having noticed his interest, talked to him. He was interested in pure sheep breeds but the vet advised him it was very difficult to find. Instead, he was advised to look for the Kienyeji breed.
After getting enough information, he started farming with six goats, bought at Sh2500 each. He expanded this to include: sheep, cow, indigenous chicken, turkey and pigs. However, the astute farmer let go of the pigs due to the costs.
During a December 2013 interview with Mkulima Young, he revealed that at the time, he had 202 goats and sheep, 58 indigenous chickens, 93 cows and 17 calves. Francis said that goats and sheep are cheaper since they can give birth twice and thrice a year respectively. However, the major challenge was drought which killed the animals.
“I chose to farm meat animals because the demand for meat is high. It can only grow higher with a growing population and shrinking herds in many farms,” he was quoted by Mkulima Young.
He started by leasing 10 acres of land. His fortunes changed and he went on to buy parcels of land including his land in Munyu where his farm is located. At the time of the interview, the farmer owned three vehicles, including a Mercedes Benz, rental houses in the outskirts of Thika estimated to be millions of shillings.
His advice was that farming is a good option since it is cheap. The only expensive aspect is finding land, for those who do not have it. He also said for a big farm delegation and having a manager is important. An employer also needs to be open to his workers and not treat them as slaves.