I’m Doris, a resident of Laikipia ready to use my farming skills to help boost food security.
Budget Breakdown (approx)
Agriculture has been a passion of mine since I was young. I used to see my father owning big tracts of land where he used to do commercial potato farming, so this is not a new business to me. With the experience from my father’s farm, I did well in potato production when I got my own farm. When I relocated to Laikipia and found the food shortage in the area where they mostly rely on food bought from Meru, this idea came to my mind and I decided to go back to the farm and start potato farming. My first produce was met by huge demand and the profits were good which further reinforced my conviction that its not a bad business, but still i had no money to implement it. But still the demand was too high and the pressure to meet it was high and that was how I came up with the idea for this project.
Irish potatoes are considered as one of Kenya’s staple foods due to is uses in various dishes and meals. They are not only important for their high carbohydrate content and energy giving value but also are part of our culture considering that most home made meals are made using potatoes as an ingredient. Potato production is a lucrative venture because of its role in acting as a cash crop because only in high altitudes areas are potatoes grown in bulk and therefore a huge supply is needed in the low altitude areas.
Consumption of potatoes has been increasing with the increasing urbanization and the growth of the fast food industry. It is approximated that 60% of the fresh produce grow and traded in Kenya is absorbed by fast food outlets. Even in my own business I have found that most orders are from the fast food industry. Due to this increasing demand the pressure to produce more has also increased.
The project will also help me in empowering the youth as the labour needed at the potato farm will be locally sourced from young people in the area. This will not only help them money wise, but also equip them with experience and skills to be able to pass on the knowledge to others and finally this will help in eradicating unemployment and poverty in the country.
Potatoes in general take three months to mature and be ready for harvesting. In a year harvesting takes place only two times in most potato farms due to the low resistance of potatoes to drought and thus can only be cultivated during the rainy seasons. The first batch is planted in February and then harvested in May while the second batch is planted in August and then harvested in November. With this project I planned on using an irrigation scheme to be able to be able to gain produce from my potato farm throughout the year.
An acre of land is able to produce at least four thousand five hundred kilograms of potatoes in one harvest. Every fifty kilograms of potatoes is sold for approx. five thousand. Without irrigation, I can only harvest twice in a year and therefore get about Ksh 405,000 per harvest and Ksh 810,000 per year but with irrigation, I will be able to harvest more to procure more funds to put back to the farm.
The irrigation scheme will be made possible from my own funds as the water is readily available in the area due to a nearby river where I plan to source my water from. The irrigation will only take place during the dry seasons so as to ensure that even without rain the crops will still be well be cultivated from December and then harvested in April for the first batch while the second one will be planted in May and then harvested in September. Thus instead of two harvests per year I will have four giving me twice as more produce as without the scheme.
My employees will help me in the planting of the crops, weeding and also harvesting. In addition they will also maintain the irrigation in the dry season under my supervision. I have researched extensively on how to increase the quality and quantity of my produce throughout the past years and I believe it will be a big help in ensuring that my project succeeds
I hope that as MavenCORE you will see the bright prospects of this project and that you will give me a chance to make it a success.