Stephen Kiala is the founder of Zana Farm in Makueni County where he practices large-scale mixed farming.
The farmer quit his job as an auditor in a Nairobi-based firm to pursue farming, having been inspired by a Zambia farmer who quit her nursing job in Australia to venture into farming.
Here is his story as told you WoK.
Kiala ventured into farming in 2017.
He started farming immediately after quitting his job as an auditor in one of Kenya’s big firms where he had worked for five years.
In an interview with Citizen TV, he said he was inspired into farming by Zambian farmer, The Zed Farmer, who quit her job to start farming.
The Zambian farmer was working as a nurse in Australia but she quit the job and relocated back to Zambia to do farming.
Kiala noted that transitioning from a well-paying job to farming was not easy, especially because people questioned his move.
“At some point I had colleagues and friends who thought I had gone crazy, they thought I was mad and some even advised that I see a psychiatric doctor,” he recalled.
With Makueni being a semi-arid area, getting a reliable source of water was Kiala’s top agenda while venturing into farming.
“We drilled a borehole, luckily God helped us and we found a lot of water there. 23,000 liters of water everyday,” he said.
Kiala also installed solar panels in his farm which he uses to pump water from the borehole to storage tanks.
The farmer also noted that they excavated a dam which comes in handy during rainy seasons.
“We excavated a dam to harvest water. That comes in to subsidize the borehole water,” Kiala added.
He uses drip irrigation on his farm.
As of 2020, Kiala was doing a total of 15 acres; onions (6 acres, maize (4 acres), tomatoes (3 acres) and cabbages (1 acre).
“We have eight permanent staff from time to time we have between 15-70 employees depending on the amount of work,” he said.