Silas Rutto: Narok Farmer Making Ksh 780K In Profits From Short-Season Crops

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Silas Rutto PHOTO/Courtesy

Silas Rutto started farming short season crops in 2015 to generate more income while working as an IT officer for a Nairobi firm.

Thanks to his resilience and determination, despite facing challenges, the Strathmore University graduate is currently making up to Ksh 780,000 in profits.

Here is Rutto’s story as told by WoK.

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First attempt in farming

Rutto ventured into potato farming with five of his friends after raising Ksh 100,000 which they used as initial capital.

From the money they managed to raise, the group used Ksh 8,000 to lease a piece of land, Ksh 48,000 to buy seeds and Ksh 12,000 for land preparations.

They spent a further Ksh 12,000 to purchase fertilizer, Ksh 15,000 for labour, planting and weeding and finally Ksh 5,000 on pesticides.

However, they were not lucky as the final produce was far from what they had expected.

“From our first harvest we got 25 bags which was too low than the expected production of 70 bags and that’s when I realized we made mistakes in the production process such as using uncertified seeds, wrong pesticide application and untimely weeding,” Rutto explained.

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Going solo

After experiencing the loss and learning from it, Rutto decided to try potato farming alone, and invested his Ksh 200,000 Sacco savings.

“In the next season I decided to farm alone by investing Ksh 200,000 from my Sacco savings, from which I used Ksh 16,000 to lease two acres of land, tractor and clearing expenses  cost Ksh 30,000, certified seeds from the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Organization Ksh 80,000, labour and pesticides Ksh 20,000 and fertilizers Ksh 24,000,” he said.

This time, Rutto got it right and made profits. He expanded from the initial two acres to 16 acres.

Rutto has employed a farm manager who supervises four permanent employees who attend to his potatoes daily.

He, however, works with other casual laborers depending on the nature of work in the farm that day.

Market

In a good season, Rutto harvests between 60 to 80 90kgs potato bags per acre and three tonnes of peas per acre.

“I sell the produce in Marikiti, Kisii and Sirare markets but sometimes the brokers come up to the farm to collect the produce,” he said.

Adding;

“The price changes depending on the time of the year, at the moment potatoes retail at Ksh 40 per kilo at Marikiti below the recommended price of Ksh 50 per kilo by the National Potato Council of Kenya.”

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