Marystella Wabwoba is a sunflower farmer from Sinoko, Bungoma County.
The agriculture officer ventured into sunflower farming due to the high cost of cooking oil and animal feeds.
From her farm, she extracts cooking oil from sunflower seeds and uses the by-product to feed her animals.
Here is her story as told by WoK.
When the cost of cooking oil and animal feeds started going up, Wabwoba decided to produce her own supply.
In an interview with How We Made It In Africa, she explained that she considered sunflower farming because it has no chemical or any form of additives.
At the same time, Wabwoba who holds a PhD in Food Security and Sustainable Development can also use the crop’s by-product to feed her animals.
She rears dairy animals, pigs and poultry.
“I also mobilised women and youth groups and educated them on the need to venture into sunflower farming. A few bought the idea and embraced the venture,” she explained.
Wabwoba explained that while an acre produces about 1,000 kgs of sunflower seeds, every 4 kgs of sunflower seeds produces a litre of cooking oil.
“When you harvest 1,000kgs of sunflower seeds, after crushing you get 250 litres of sunflower cooking oil, translating to Ksh100,000 per acre,” she said.
She grows sunflower on a seven-acre piece of land.
She sells half a litre of sunflower cooking oil at Ksh 400, five litres at Ksh 1,800, 10 litres at Ksh 3,500 and 20 litres at Ksh4,500.
Wabwoba also buys sunflower from other farmers in the community, and uses them to produce more cooking oil.
“I have another 20 farmers, each with an acre for growing sunflower. Last season, they produced 20,000kg of sunflower which I bought from them at Ksh 100. After crushing, I got 5,000 litres of sunflower oil,” she added.
Some benefits of using sunflower oil include having a high smoke point which means it can be heated to high temperatures without breaking down and releasing harmful compounds.
It is also rich in healthy unsaturated fats, including both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of a heart disease.
It is also a good source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body against damage from free radicals.