When Daniel Kinyua, 34, bought a second-hand tractor in 2018, he expected it to earn him more money than he was making as a casual labourer, but never in his wildest dreams had he imagined the purchase making him the successful agri-entrepreneur he is today.
The young farmer from Chakariga Ward in Tharaka Nithi County had harvested 70 bags of millet which he sold for Sh200,000, he then approached a bank which advanced him Sh400,000, which he used to buy the tractor.
“I have since repaid the loan,” says Kinyua, whose next investment is a planter which will cost him approximately Sh1 million.
He says, “I was tired of casual jobs. I would wake up one day and find myself jobless yet I was living in a county that had much agri-business potential,” he says, pointing out that there is a fast-growing demand for agricultural products such as groundnuts, millet, and sorghum, demand that that has grown exponentially over the last few years.
This knowledge, he says, is what encouraged him to venture into farming.
“I charge farmers Sh2,000 for ploughing, and on a good month, I earn between Sh60,000 and Sh70,000, which I can’t compare to the little money I was earning as a casual labourer.”
Apart from ploughing, he uses his tractor for general transport services and has also bought two thresher machines which cost him Sh160,000, which farmers hire for threshing and ridging.
Besides this, he grows groundnuts, green grams, and has several dairy cattle, chickens and rabbits which offer other streams of revenue.
He has established himself as an aggressive young farmer keen to take youthful farmers on the success ride with him by teaching them what he knows.
“I mentor a team of young farmers to be business oriented in agriculture through educational farming videos and tips on the latest farming technology,” he says.
So far, he has trained more than 700 farmers on mechanization, planting and soil testing.
His farming idea came about following training on mechanisation sponsored by Kilimo Trust, a not-for-profit organisation focusing on agriculture for development across the East African community.
“Apart from groundnuts, this region is good for planting tomatoes and tobacco, which require ridging for the conservation of moisture. I charge farmers Sh1,500 per acre for ridging services,” he says.
He is also a trained agri-business entrepreneur having benefited from the Kuza Biashara programme which is funded by the largest incubator for inclusive agri-business in Africa, 2scale.
It offers a range of support services to farmers, enabling them to produce, transform and supply quality food products to the local, national and regional end-user market.