NYERI, Kenya, Mar 19 – Moses Githaiga a Nyeri-based farmer says he ventured in garlic farming by sheer luck.
He had been a hawker of the commodity at Nakuru bus terminal for years, before the opportunity to farm came up.
“This one time in 2013, we could not get garlic as it had run out of stock. My buyers needed it and I just could not deliver,” Githaiga says.
What followed was a decision that literally changed his world for the better. He decided to farm the produce.
“I was very scared of going into farming as I had previously done tomato and pepper farming which did not work out well. The failure of that business is what made me end up hawking garlic.”
Upon making up his mind, Githaiga went back to his home county in Nyeri to establish the business.
Owing to his well thought out plan, the business began to pick up and he began to get regular customers.
With a proper market research at hand, Githaiga discovered that the gap was in supplying garlic seeds and wet garlic.
Due to growing demand, Githaiga started renting land from his neighbors to grow the produce.
“I was getting new customers every other day. The land at home was not enough to sustain demand, so I started renting from others.”
Today, Githaiga supplies his produce to businesses in Kenya and in international markets, especially Europe.
His business is performing so well that he manages to make at least Sh800, 000 per month.
Githaiga says that when he started the business, he was able to harvest one tonne of the onions and sold one kilogram of the produce at a rate of Sh250 which was enough prove that it was a worthwhile venture.
He notes that a kilogram of wet garlic for export is now trading at sh650 whereas the ordinary onion is selling at sh20 the same quantity.
His major headache now is the fact that he is unable to meet the demand of his customers and has been forced to do farming in Masai land where land is in plenty.
“My current headache at the moment is how I can suppy my customers from abroad as we are required to export two tonnes of garlic per day but we are only managing between 200 to 300 kilograms per day” says Githaiga.
The farmer says since the first case of the pandemic was reported, prices of garlic and turmeric went high and meeting the demand of garlic abroad has not been exhausted up to date.
“Closure of boundaries did not affect our export since food items are still being taken to the market overseas. This means that we can do better and can even manage to export the produce,” he says.
This comes even as onion farmers in the same locality count losses due to flooding of onions from Tanzania and Uganda leading to poor prices of a kilogram of onion which is trading at Sh20.