He farms through tweets, hashtags
Rodgers Kirwa, 27, is a young farmer in Nandi County who despite spending a good amount of his time on Twitter, runs a successful farm where university students and neighbours alike gather for a lesson or two.
He has dedicated his farming career to changing the mindset of youth on agriculture and its abilities to provide a stable source of income.
Popularly known as Mr Agriculture, Kirwa is the founder of iAgribiz Africa, a company that actively educates farmers on modern, safer and profitable farming technologies to include organic farming, open field irrigation, green house farming and diversification.
To lead by example, Mr Agriculture set up a model farm in Barasendu location in Kapsimotwo Ward of Nandi-Hills Constituency where he practises his farming teachings and hosts farmers seeking to improve their ventures.
“I have always loved farming since I was a child, I knew I would grow up to be a farmer and planned for it by studying a BSC in Agribusiness Management at Egerton University,” said Kirwa.
He added: “I want to combat perennial joblessness among youth and women by improving their capacities to use modern agricultural technologies and conduct commercial farming.”
His model farm employs 10 workers, and is set up on an acre.
He has moved away from regular crops generally planted in Nandi County including maize and beans, and diversified to fish farming and horticulture.
“I teach my followers that you do not need a large track of land to practise profitable agriculture,” he said.
On it, Mr Agriculture has installed three greenhouses and a fish pond.
“Food that comes from my farm is chemical free, I use manure, and organic weed and pest control,” he added.
The smart farmer also has installed a drip irrigation line across his entire farm which means he doesn't have to wait on the rains to farm.
“I tell my followers that plants need water, not rain; it is time to turn to open field irrigation to ensure a full year supply of crops without having to depend on irregular rain patterns,” he added.
He grows indigenous vegetables, onions, tomatoes, eggplants and capsicum.
In addition, the iAgribiz Model Farm trains at least 600 farmers a year free of charge and hosts at least five graduate interns from Egerton University who live and work in the farm.
Through his activities, Kirwa has won several awards and recognition including the OLX SOMA Award (2016), Young Entrepreneurs Award (YEA) (2018), Michigan State University Fellow (2018) and the Crans Montana New Leader of Tomorrow Award (2019) where he has been honoured for setting new trends in agripreneurship.
To reach his target group - the youth, Mr Agriculture began an exciting handle on twitter #AgribusinessTalk 254 and has amassed himself a twitter following of over 50,000 young farmers who use his agricultural teachings to improve their own practices.
“I have not commercialised farmer training, this is my one way of revolutionising farming by offering free training and farmvisits,” he said.
His activities have opened up a world of corporate sponsorships where Kirwa has toured over 20 countries across the globe to give talks and training on agriprenuership.
In his absence, his model farm is run by his farm manager Emmanuel Limo and his wife Lydia Kirwa who complements his love for smart farming.
Kirwa’s agricultural ideals include turning his farm into a commercial venue for regular sources of income and also providing 90 per cent of daily food consumption for his home from the farm.
He also rears chicken and 10 dairy cows.