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Banker resigns, moves to farm

By WANGECHI WAITHERA
Catherine Kamanu attends to her butternuts farm in Kambirwa, Murang’a County

 

30 years old Catherine Kamanu shocked many when she dropped her banking career to venture into farming.

Kamanu had completed her Master’s degree in Finance in 2015 and employed by a local bank as an accountant. Kamanu, who is a Limuru Girls High School alumnus had also completed her CPA (K).

But her heart was in farming and she could steal whatever time she could find to conduct small scale farming. With no previous farming skills, Kamanu knew she had to research widely to be well equipped on the best farming techniques.

The internet was a rich source of information for her and what she could not find online, she got from other farmers. With time, she increased her farming and leased a farm in Nyeri with some partners where they did large scale agriculture for exports in 2016.

Kamanu started with a four acres’ farm and grew horticultural crops including cabbages, onions, and French beans.

The area, however, had challenges with finding irrigation water for their crops. After two years of good harvests and impressive returns, the partners decided to split up and try their luck elsewhere.

Kamanu resigned at the beginning of last year so that she could concentrate on farming without disruptions. By then, they had formed a network of farmers and when she sent out word that she was looking for agricultural land, it did not take long for her friends to help her find one.

Kamanu landed at Kambirwa village in Kiharu constituency, Murang’a County. She leased 21 acres of land just near Gwa Thamaki area. The road from Mukuyu to Gwa Thamaki had just been tarmacked and the land was not far from the road. It was ideal.

Just nearby flows Maragua river before it joins Sagana river to form Tana river.

She said a farmer has to consider a farm’s proximity to the road to ease the transportation of their produce to the market.

She said many farmers make the mistake of acquiring rich land in areas with poor transport network and end up suffering huge losses as they are unable to sell their harvests.

Another vital thing to consider, she noted, is the availability of labour. Getting land in areas that are sparsely populated will limit the amount of farming one can practice due to the limited availability of the human resource.

The land was bushy and a lot of work had to be done to make it arable.

“What I found to be the most expensive was the leasing costs and setting up the irrigation infrastructure,” Kamanu who comes from Gachie in Kiambu said.

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