Sara Murimi Wambui is a sweet potato farmer from Mugumo-ini, Kirimiri sub-location of Maragua, Murang’a county.
The farmer ventured into sweet potatoes farming after failed onions, capsicum and paw paw farming, and losing watermelons to thieves.
Despite the challenges, Wambui has succeeded in sweet potatoes farming and she is even doing value addition by making fries.
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Here is her story as told by WoK.
Wambui first tried farming in 2014 after completing her university studies.
The farmer began by growing onions and capsicum, before venturing into paw paw and watermelon farming.
She practiced farming for a while before taking a 2-year break after she lost her onions when her water pump broke down.
Wambui also suffered another loss when her water melon field was cleared by thieves a night before harvesting.
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“When I ventured into farming I had big dreams. But I wish I knew better. I wouldn’t have started with the so-called high value crops
“I would have chosen a crop, such as sweet potatoes, which allows one to learn at a fair pace before upgrading,” she said.
Sweet potato farming
In the course of he break, Wambui visited a Berlin restaurant where she came across orange-fleshed sweet potato fries on the menu.
Fascinated by the same, when she returned home, she ventured into sweet potatoes farming and settled on the purple and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes varieties.
She sourced for vines from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (Kephis) and planted on a section of a two-acre family land.
Wambui used Ksh 30,000 to but 3,000 vines which she planted on a quarter-acre.
During the harvesting season, one harvests up to a kilo per vine with a quarter acre producing at least three tonnes.
Wambui sells her produce in her neighbourhood in Nairobi with a kilo of the produce going for Ksh 80 to Ksh 100.
The farmer also adds value to her produce by making fresh-cut chips for restaurants and events such as weddings.
She also make crisps.
“The chips market needs an alternative raw material and sweet potato offers the best option,” Wambui said.
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