Special Reports

Vegetables earn former teacher Sh30,000 a day

christopher

Christopher Angote in one of his vegetable farms at Kilingili in Vihiga County. PHOTO | DERICK LUVEGA | NMG

Summary

  • Christopher Angote quit teaching to practice agriculture, which now earns him Sh30,000 daily.
  • He has a total of 25 acres in which he grows onions, kales, cowpeas, and other local vegetables as well as rears 26 dairy cows.

About a kilometre off Musutswi-Esirulo Road in Emuhaya, Vihiga is Christopher Angote’s farm and home, sitting on 7.5 acres of land.

He is busy. But not with a chalk on a board, a job that he held for 13 years before abandoning it to venture into vegetable farming. He is attending to customers who have come to buy various types of vegetables to go sell to nearby markets.

As a teacher of Agriculture, Christopher used to earn Sh25,000 a month, but now he makes more that in a day.

He started farming on a small piece of land, about 0.4 acres, that he inherited from his father.

“When I decided to quit teaching, I bought 7.1 acres of land to fully concentrate on vegetable farming,” says Mr Angote.

On the farm, he grows cowpeas — locally known as likuvi, black nightshade (lisutsa), slender leaf (mito), spider plant (tsisaga), jute mallow (mutere), and amaranth (tsimboga).

He also grows onions, kales, and Ethiopian kales and keeps cattle and chicken, animals whose dung fuels his biogas ‘mini-plant’ that powers his home.

When he started seeing the gains of farming, he leased an additional 17.5 acres for Sh80,000 to expand the vegetable farming that now gives him up to Sh30,000 on a good day.

“I felt teaching was wasting me. The Sh25,000 salary was not enough and I could not do anything meaningful,” he says.

“I decided to put the knowledge I have in agriculture into practice. Now I have a total of 25 acres, owned and leased. If I was still teaching, I could still be stuck in some job group with an increment of Sh2,000,” he adds.

He grows indigenous and exotic vegetables throughout the year, thanks to drip and overhead irrigation.

He has employed six permanent staff on the farm and hires 15 to 20 casuals daily, some plucking vegetables, others weeding while others prepare sections of the farm for more planting.

Mr Angote owns a pickup to help in supplying the produce. But for convenience of movement, he has motorbike which enables him supervise the farms with ease.

Teamwork

He has 26 cows, mainly Friesian and Jersey, 12 of which are milked while the remaining are in-calf. From the 12 dairy cows, he gets 250 litres of milk every day which he sells locally, making up to Sh25,000 daily. This is in addition to the Sh30,000 from the daily sale of vegetables. He has 600 chickens that give him 14 trays of eggs, and also owns two agrovets.

His wife, Maureen Achieng’, is a technician in animal health.

“We do not keep bulls at the farm. My wife does artificial insemination. This business is teamwork. That’s what is driving our success,” he says.