We all have stories to tell. At Teen Network we are dedicated to telling these stories hence the category Uprising we are going to be telling the stories of people who are doing things that are making an impact in our society or are brazing a trail in their industry. This week Dennis Menez tells of a student who decided to start a side hustle in farming? If you have any interesting stories remember to email us firstname.lastname@example.org and we will definitely tell your story.
By Dennis Menez When it comes to farming and agriculture not many youths will give it a second thought. We have this perception that farming isn’t a lucrative job. We all want to wear suits and ties and have a good white collar job.
Most average students will do any job that doesn’t require them to go into the farm. Derrick isn’t most guys. From an early age he was into farming and business. He has learnt how to utilize both of his two gifts and get into agribusiness.
When I had a sit down with him he was doing extraordinary things. Apart from him being a student at Kenyatta University, he’s also a proud farmer, an employer and a businessman.
Derrick was a second year student pursuing Economics and Finance when he got into agribusiness. Before starting the business he had to do a couple of things. He first of all did some internet research and attended some agricultural shows to get more knowledge. He visited farmers who were doing well in the kind of business he was doing. he sought professional advice from agronomists and agribusiness consultants.
Since he was brought up in a farming; family, knowing how to start his business wouldn’t be that hard. After having enough knowledge to start, Derrick had to pay Ksh.20,000 to acquire a half acre piece of land. His land is located at Ngoliba, in Kiambu County. After leasing this piece of land he was left with Ksh40,000.
He used the remaining Ksh.40,000 to buy seeds, manure, medicine and to pay off his workers. On February 2018 he planted tomatoes which he harvested in May. The profits that he got from his tomatoes encouraged him to lease one more acre of land just for tomatoes.
Thika River has really helped him in his farming. The river passes near his farm. He has employed different irrigation methods on his farm. He gets his manure form Maasai herders. His business has had its ups and downs but he is happy with all the progress that he has made.
In one year he has employed ten workers on his farm. He has one worker who works on the farm when he’s in school. Derrick revealed to me that in one week he harvests an average of 500 Kgs of tomatoes for a period of one month before the production cycle is over. In Nairobi and Kiambu one Kg of tomatoes costs Sh.60. The expense that he incurs when farming is never more than Ksh.30,000 per month . Most of his customers come from Thika and Nairobi. They come for tomatoes at his farm.
Apart from growing tomatoes he has also tried his hand on onions, capsicum and watermelon in his farm. When starting out his parents weren’t that supportive due to the risks involved in farming and also the challenge of balancing between school and farming .However, after a successful harvest and looking at his passion for farming they are now fully behind him and are his greatest motivators.
He has managed to balance school and farming very well. He skips school during days of harvesting, spraying and planting. His business has enabled him to pay for his fees and create employment opportunities. From a starting capital of just ksh40,000 he now makes at least a profit of sixty percent (60%)of sales after deducting the expenses . This is quite impressive for such a young man. However, he also does Farm Management& provide Consultancy services on matters farming..
Agribusiness can be a way out for those of us who are struggling to get jobs though it should never be the last option after things have failed to work out since farming is a business as any other. Give it a thought, research, do farm visits and have the necessary equipment before starting out Agribusiness is the next frontier.
To get in touch with Derrick you can call 0706323838 Facebook – Derrick Mutugi