My definition of ‘Professional farming’ is farming with a major purpose, primarily to make a significant income and create some form of self-employment and whoever else is involved in the activities. Today I want to talk about myself, as YPARD Kenya representative who preaches climate smart agriculture in Kenya.
Many would think I do not practice farming, although it's not true. Even though I am employed, I still engage in this practice. This way, I become an inspiration to many young people without job.
The Kano plains in the region of Ahero, Kenya have been, up to in the recent past considered as ‘rice only’ fields. Many farmers rotate rice with maize farming; again, not a wise choice of cropping. Hence, Ahero still remains a poor stricken area with hardly enough food to feed the ever increasing population.
As I happen to come from this part of Kenya, Despite havng a good education, I managed to convince my father to give me two acres of land to practice climate smart agriculture. He is a rice farmer, just like any other farmer in the area.
Every year he complains about the low returns from rice farming which is grown in seasons depending on the water availability from the Ahero Irrigation Scheme (AIS), as water is never available all year round to every rice farmer. This means that at least during one season, no activity goes on in many rice paddocks.
Few months ago, my father’s farm ran out of water for farming. In order to demonstrate a new idea, I decided to grow water melons using water in the drainage channels as supplied by the irrigation scheme. 75 days after I started implementing this initiative and... I had a bumper harvest of 18,000 kg per acre! The prize of 1kg is ksh.20 -the dollar rate is now 1US$=Ksh. 88-, and I had a total of slightly over 36,000 kg.
Moreover, coincidentally the farm adjacent to mine was growing maize, so I decided to grow it as well in the same area and I am already looking forward to have a bumper harvest in a month’s time!
As I said in the beginning, professional farming is about setting a major purpose in order not only to make a big income but also to be able to be your own boss.
With my experience, I would like to encourage other young people to follow the same path that I chose as it is very gratifying.
Follow my example and become a professional farmer too!