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Yohan Kim: South Korean Who Came To Kenya As A Missionary Finds Success In Farming

Yohan Kim is a South Korean Missionary who travelled to Kenya in 2018 and later settled in Kapsoya, Uasin Gishu County.

However, in the course of fulfilling his mission in Kenya, the man of God ventured into mixed crops farming.

He noted that he was inspired to venture into agribusiness, particularly Asian crops farming, due to the ever growing demand.

Here is his story as told by WoK.

Background

Kim practices farming at the expansive Grace Farm at AIC Mission College in Kapsoya, a center situated in the outskirts of Eldoret town.

He grows Korean strawberry (maehyang), garlic chives, Korean cabbage, Korean radish, Indian Pak Choi, Italian spinach and leek onions.

He also grows dragon fruit, red-leaf lettuce (lactuca sativa), Korean perilla leaf vegetable and other herbs.

Other crops in the farm are net melons and watermelon, fig trees and three varieties of chillies; the mild, hot and sweet.

Kim ventured into agri-business in 2019, after realizing a growing demand for Asian fruits and vegetables in the region.

Initially, he grew his crops on a quarter acre piece of land but they have expanded to four-acres over the years.

“I am passionate about farming because the Bible and agriculture are closely intertwined. This crops are on demand, rich in minerals and highly medicinal,” he said.

In the farm, Kim and his team have constructed four greenhouses, two which have nurseries. They have planted dragon fruits in one of the greenhouses. 

In a separate greenhouse, they produce chillies on trays.

Speaking in an interview with Seeds of Gold, Dedan Okisoi, the farm manager said most of the Asian crops take between two and three months to mature.

They propagate the seeds at different stages at the farm to ensure constant supply of the produce in the market.

“Most Asians consume our crops but right now, more Africans are liking these vegetables. We are seeing the demand going up,” Okisoi said.

Kim sells his produce to suppliers in major towns such as Eldoret, Kisumu, Kakamega, Nakuru and as far as Uganda.

While a kilogram of garlic chives goes for Ksh 50, in a good month, they sell up to 40 to 50 kilograms of the produce.

The Korean cabbages retails for Ksh 80 in the market.

“The cabbage can be eaten as salad or cooked. Unlike the local cabbage varieties, one can weigh between one kilogram to five kilos,” Okisoi added.

The farm also serves as a demonstration farm for farmers, especially the young people within the community, who are interested in learning modern technologies.

Kim mentioned water scarcity, pests and diseases such as cut-worms, aphids and snails as some of the challenges that they face.

“We use chemicals as the last option. We want to ensure that our food is safe for the consumers and protect our environment,” he said.

The farm employs between five to 20 workers depending on the volume of work.

“The weather is also a challenge because some of the crops of the crops like yellow melon and fruits thrive well in the area

“When we started, they didn’t grow well. When it is hot sometimes, the Korean vegetables rot because it’s roots cannot access water and minerals such as boron and calcium,” said Kim.

Kim said their future plans are to expand the acreage under the Asian crops and introduce livestock rearing.

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