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Salat Adan: Wajir Farmer Minting Cash from Watermelon Farming after Quitting Patrolism

Salat Dahiya Adan, 48, is a watermelon farmer from Elnur, Eldas, Wajir County.

Like his father and many other men within the county, he was a pastoralist but switched to farming after losing almost all his livestock.

Salat ventured into farming with a Ksh 13,500 relief fund from Save the Children International.

Here is his story as told by WoK.

Salat was born in Wajir County and for many years, he was a pastoralist just like his father, owning 10 camels and 280 goats.

In an interview, he mentioned that being a pastoralist means going whenever animals have something to feed on.

For Salat, this was the case until a five-year drought killed his animals leaving him with just 10 goats, forcing him to think of another way of earning an income.

“I had never imagined tilling the land, changing one’s lifestyle is not an easy thing but with no options and a family of eight children I had to do something drastic. I was happy when the Meteorological Department announced the coming of El-nino rains,” he said.

Not long after, Salat’s family was among 3,182 families that had been selected to receive Ksh 13,500 relief fund for seven months.

This program was made possible by Save the Children International, a leading humanitarian organization for children founded in the UK in 1919.

With the money coming in, Salat decided to venture into farming and used the funds to buy watermelon seeds and hire farm labourers to clear bushes and fence his land.

However, when the rains came, his farm was washed away by floods.

“Best on the number of plants that had fruits, I estimate my losses to have been Ksh 300,000. I however knew I had no hopes in patrolism. When the water cleared I decided to give it another try,” he said.

This time round, Salat only had to buy seeds, “I have made Ksh 150,000 with one melon going for as much as Ksh 500. I sell to retailers but the bulk of it goes to Wajir Town.”

He has used money from his watermelon venture to pay school fees for his two children who are in high school and six who are in primary school.

A watermelon farm PHOTO/Brittanica

Salat hopes to also start producing tomatoes and pawpaws.

“I only need help in getting access to water as rainfall is not guaranteed here. I would also like to get more education and training on crop husbandry,” he shared.

Salat he aims to change the perception that people have about Wajir County.

“Almost all stories about Wajir and neighboring counties are negative. If not banditry and killings it is about drought and floods. There can be positive stories about our region too

“Even with other people’s intervention and assistance, one has to be industrious. Locals have to come up with solutions for sustainable livelihoods,” he said.

Watermelon farming is one of the most popular farming ventures in Kenya.

For these reasons, farmers are turning to commercial watermelon production as a source of significant returns on their investments.

During the hottest months of the year, watermelon is in great demand, making it a prominent crop.

Watermelon is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family and produces huge and juicy fruits throughout the season.

Water makes up the majority of the fruit’s composition, and it can be consumable in any form, including pickled or cooked rind.

It is easy to find a market for watermelon, which it’s growing is just with only a few management procedures.

The hottest parts of Kenya, like Makueni, Machakos and Kajiado are the most popular places in Kenya to do this.

Mountain regions can also produce watermelon, but the melons are inferior to those grown in hotter climates.