Leasing land for short term farming key to survival

    By Janet Kiriswo

    Carlos just transplanted this Managu (traditional kale) seedlings five days ago from the nursery to each mkato (a local name for a square of furrows) in his one acre piece of land in Rabai area in Marigat, Baringo South sub county, where he has prepared adequately to ensure pumped water sips in in plenty twice a day wherever his farm boy comes around.

    He bought a sachet of 500 grams of the manage seedlings, at Kenya shillings 100, he is hoping to make a kill in the next month and also two or three more consecutive harvests, according to his research. He owns no farm but has opted to leasing to make ends meet.

    Rabai is located off the Nakuru to Kabarnet highway the first left junction when headed to lake Bogoria Spa and Resort.

    The temperatures during summer usually hit a high of 31degrees Centigrade, Marigat is considered to be a low land area, with the neighboring Mogotio and Emining areas.

    Despite the fact that the region does well with horticulture through the famous Perkerra Irrigation Scheme, the place is becoming unproductive with time.

    Farmers like Carlos have opted to lease land around Marigat area in order to take advantage of planting the short-term vegetables and fruits.

    Carlos a College student says the short-term crops pay back as long as you ensure proper treatment, regular watering, and always plant when you are sure there is a ready market, the major expenses he says goes to paying for the pumping of water from the Perkerra river one and a half kilometer away, an expense he said was made successful by joining forces with his friend who just planted a combination of paw paw fruits and vegetables like hoho, the two paid for the pumps.

    Next to his 1-acre farm is a quarter an acre of farm full of paw paw fruits under the paw paws are the famous hoho. This have been harvested severally, the market price is between one thousand to one thousand five hundred Kenyan shillings per 50 kilograms suck.

    The risks are there too, sometimes they can be so much in the market thus making the market price lower.

    An alternative to short term crops are a lot the water melon, vegetables like kales and spinach, onions to name a few.

    The harvest of Carlo`s Managu is due soon, he has an experience too with watermelon farming that takes 75 days to mature on a one-acre farm in Salabani area in Marigat, where he did spend sixty thousand Kenyan shillings.

    He says though he did not hit his target, he says for watermelon the input demand is great from the fertilizer, weeding and pesticides together with the expenses of pumping water. He harvested ten thousand kilograms of watermelon and sold each at 20 Kenyan Shillings.

    The main challenge for the youth is the finances to make this farming expedition a success, some have had to risk by coming together to cater for the various farming projects and later share the profits.

    The other challenge is marketing the produce as a times the market is flooded with the same produce, the other challenge is there are no extension officers to help them know when they are on the right track or not, also leasing of land is somehow expensive for unemployed youth, either way, the aggressive farmers like Carlos dare and earn.

    The region is known to produce the best maize seeds that are supplied throughout the world and some countries in Africa.

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