How Taita Taveta farmer makes millions from capsicum


A farmer displays fresh capsicum at his farm. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Farming has always been part of Samuele Magumba’s life. As a child playing on his farmer’s farm, he learnt to value the soil underneath his feet for the bounty it was capable of giving anyone who applied himself.

It was little wonder then, that as a primary school pupil he naturally gravitated towards the famous 4K (Kuungana, Kufanya, Kusaidia Kenya ) Club which fanned his passion for farming.

Today, Mr Magumba is raking in millions of shillings from pilipili hoho (capsicum) alone in a number of farms that he owns and leases out in Taveta Taveta, earning up to Sh500,000 from an acre in one season.

Mr Magumba is also a tomatoes and cucumber farmer. But it is the hoho, one of Kenyans’ favourite food seasoning ingredients, that is the real money maker and after years of growing the crop, he has become a sought-after expert in the area.

Reaping the fruits

“For me, the love for farming started way back in school when I enrolled as a member of 4K Club. Today I am reaping the fruits of a passion that I developed long time ago,” said Mr Magumba.

Normally, capsicum stays productive for up to six months on the farm, but with good agronomic practices and a selection of good seed, a farmer can harvest for as long as eight months.

Mr Magumba says that he often attains the eight-month peak, increasing his earnings.

Mr Magumba, a native of western Kenya grew up in Taita Taveta when his father moved there in the 1980s and has since never left the place because of the plenty of opportunities that come with the fertile Taveta soils.

His success is also attributed to his father who taught him farming at an early age in life, a venture he has never forgotten to date and he is also passing the same to his sons who are always with him at the farm.

Mr Magumba has over five acres of capsicum and has created employment to at least 27 people where he farms.

“I provide them with food and accommodation then pay them Sh7,500 per month, the money that I give them at the end of the season,” he said.

Good returns

The farmer has a ready market for his produce at the Mombasa Kongowea market. However, he has to cede 10 percent of the total revenue to brokers who help him to get the buyers.

“I share my profit with brokers whom I give 10 percent of the total income that I make per trip, but the returns are still good even with the deductions,” the farmer said.

Initially, the farmer would hire a truck to ferry for his produce from Taveta to Mombasa where he would part with Sh30,000 per trip. However, with the good returns from the venture, Mr Magumba has cut on that cost having bought his own lorry for the transport.

Mr Magumba agrees that there is money in farming and that the only weapon for aspiring or even existing farmers is ensuring that they get it right by following all the required procedures in farming.

For instance, he says farmers should identify a crop that has a ready market and ensure that they do proper timing to get the most out of it.

He also says that farmers should be ready for challenges that may come with farming and so disappointments at times should not come as surprise to them. For instance, they should be prepared to earn less at times when the market is flooded.

Last year, the government relaunched 4K Club in primary schools after decades of dormancy.

This initiative seeks to create awareness and inculcate a positive mindset towards agriculture among school-going children. It is spearheaded by the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Agriculture Ministry Anne Nyaga.

The revival of 4K Clubs is part of a grand government strategy to reposition agriculture as a key economic driver.

According to the government, the average age of Kenyan farmers is 60 years, a factor that has been blamed on slow uptake of modern farming solutions which have been backed to increase crop yield as the country looks to attain food security.

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