Hanging onto hope after onions brought tears to flower farmer

Daniel Moge, onions

Daniel Moge displays onions he harvested at his Arimi Farm in Elburgon, Nakuru County. 

Photo credit: John Njoroge | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Mr Moge says he sold the onions at Sh30 per kilogramme, but most of the onions went bad and had to be dumped.
  • Before venturing into onion farming, the farmer advised those interested to do due diligence including getting a market ahead of the harvest.

Daniel Moge’s farm is located in Elburgon, some 20 kilometres from Nakuru town. In his Arimi Farm, as he calls it, Moge specialises in cabbages, onions and avocado framing in large scale.

When the Seeds of Gold team arrived at the farm, Mr Moge was in his office engaging a potential clients while outside, his farm manager was supervising casual workers selecting Red Pinnoy onions that had recently been harvested.

For many years, Mr Moge had been planting flowers for export but last year, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic which suspended international flights globally for several months, he decided to diversify his farming.

He got into onions farming. Using his networks, he struck a deal to supply 100 tonnes of onions to a local chemicals company.

“I spent close to KShs1.5 million to farm onions on my 17 acres of land. But after harvesting, the firm only bought 10 tonnes,” he says, adding that he now had to grapple with settling a loan he had acquired from a financial institution.

Water testing

Mr Moge says he sold the onions at Sh30 per kilogramme, but most of the onions went bad and had to be dumped.

This experience did not discourage him from farming saying he has continued to farm onions and has learnt to carry out soil and water testing which is sampled by the Crop- Nut Company after every six months to ensure a good crop.

Arimi Farm

Daniel Moge Maina at his farm where he has planted 17 acres of onions out of the entire 27 acres of land at his Arimi Farm in Elburgon, Nakuru County.

Photo credit: John Njoroge | Nation Media Group

“For my crops, I use natural manure and apply the Calcium Ammonium Nitrates (CAN) once per month in order to increase the production. The farm has enough water from a borehole and water reservoirs,’’ he says adding that he uses both drip and shower-sprinkler irrigation.

He has learnt to make use of the best and worst of his crop by ensuring that the rotten onions are used in manure making to minimise losses.

Before venturing into onion farming, the farmer advised those interested to do due diligence including getting a market ahead of the harvest.

His farm has an aggregate of 40 casual and permanent workers who work in various sections that include watering, sorting of onions among other duties

Mr Moge, a degree holder in computer science, says he has currently planted 17 acres of Merbeck Red Couch and Red Pinnoy onions out of the 27 acres of his land.

“Although I have ventured into food farming, I am optimistic the flower industry will stabilise and I am ready to go back to it,” he says.

Business booms

He adds in flower farming, one spends a lot of time and money but with patience, business booms since the market is well structured.

Mr Moge says the flowers, namely Carnation and Jypsophlya are harvested in four flashes.

“Flower farmers have no middle-men at all. One has to have an agreement with those certified organisations who make a follow up at all the stages and ensure the flowers produce to the maximum unlike in Kenya where farmers are left alone after buying the certified seeds from the dealers,’’ he explains.

As the rest of the onions on the farm continue to grow and are due for harvesting soon, he is optimistic of a good crop that will fetch some cash and make a profit.

“I hope to harvest soon and sell the produce to get a profit and money to pay my employees,” says Mr Moge.

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