By Prudence Minayo
Many people struggle to find their niche in the world of business. When Stephen Kibathi left a job that was paying him Sh35 per day, he struggled to find his footing until he finally found his forte in farming. More than two decades later, this has been the best decision he made.
Here is his journey as told by WoK.
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Kibathi earned a pittance as a carpenter. He finally left the job in 1984 and tried his hands in various businesses without much success.
He hit the jackpot in 1997 when he made the decision to grow vegetables and years later he has no regrets. He is a leading supplier of vegetables at Soko Mjinga market along the Nakuru-Nairobi highway.
The farmer grows cabbages, spinach and kales on his farm. In a previous interview with The Star, Stephen Kibathi stated that he sells 50 kilogram of spinach and kale after every two weeks. The price of a bag of the vegetables ranges between Sh1,000 and Sh2,000. Within a month, the farmer is able to sell about 120 bags of vegetables fetching him a good amount. Apart from selling to various traders, he also sells the cabbages to neighbouring schools.
From the vegetables who grows in his one-and-quarter-acre farm, he makes upto shs3,000 per day.
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According to him, he uses organic manure to grow the vegetables and not synthetic fertilizer. To rejuvenate his soil, the farmer uses slurry from his bio digester. Prior to this, he used to purchase manure and during the first year he used 18 tonnes which was very costly. He told the Star that it took him three years for the bio digester to be operational and now saves almost Sh140,000 as a lorry of manure goes for Sh35,000.
The father of six also reaps huge from the sale of vegetable seedlings. Since 2007, he has been able to work with hundreds of farmers. He also manages vegetable plantations for those who wish to seriously take on commercial farming.
“I started the vegetable nursery in 2007 and since then I have been able to get nearly 1,000 farmers that prefer to buy my seedlings. So far it is a good venture and I make close to Sh100,000 from the sale of sukuma wiki, spinach and cabbage seedlings. Lately, I have also gotten into managing vegetable farms for people that want to follow into my footsteps and commercialise vegetable farming,” says Kibathi.
His dream by 2023 was to expand the seedling business and begin selling them in huge numbers. To achieve this, he would have to grow them in a greenhouse.
Thanks to the success of his business, the farmer is able to provide employment for casual workers.
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