The other day the nation was left in shock after thousands of Kenyans with undergraduate and masters degrees applied for internship positions at Tuskys.
Even people with science and engineering degrees were fighting for an opportunity to be cashiers and cooks in the supermarket.
As much as the economy of the country is to blame, courtesy of one Daniel Arap Moi, Kenyans generally do not like thinking beyond their noses. Many will come to Nairobi to live in small bedsitters with no source of income, yet back at home they left idle land waiting to be exploited.
In 2012, Henry Kinuthia realized that formal employment was not forthcoming. He started out as a porter at Wakulima Market, personally offloading more than 2.4 tonnes a day and earning only Sh400. That was not even enough for his monthly upkeep, and he survived on debts.
“By 2011, it was apparent that I was doomed to only getting casual jobs. No one was willing to commit me into a permanent job. It was a low moment for me when out of frustrations I went to Wakulima Market in Nairobi where I worked as a porter carrying 120 kilogramme (kg) sacks of potatoes from lorries,” he says.
“In a week, I was able to make Sh2,000 translating to Sh8,000 each month. My monthly upkeep expenditure was Sh12,000. I lived a life of hand to mouth and borrowed money for my upkeep. I realized that I was not making a living, but in real sense I was torturing my body and soul,” he adds.
He retreated to his Kamungu village of Murang’a County in 2012 to start small scale ‘managu’ farming.
“My experience in Wakulima had made me realise that managu was a vegetable that was selling like hot cake. I ventured into its farming and since then, I have lived comfortably. I might be living a life in the dust and mud of farming, but my wallet can easily match those of workers in the upper middle level income bracket,” he told the Business Daily.
A 40 by 100 piece of land yields about 300kg of managu per week, translating to Sh9,000. Kinuthia’s small scale operation is currently on one acre, which earns him four times that.
“Farm gate price per kilo is Sh30. That means in a week you can rake in a clean Sh9,000. My acre rakes in for Sh36,000 per week. In a month, Sh144,000. The life span per crop is three months hence giving me Sh432,000,” he reveals.
He intends to expand the acreage under the crop to four by 2019, which he says will earn him Sh1.73 million in three months. With such dreams,, Kinuthia says that anyone seeking to employ him right now should be ready to part with Sh1 million a month.
“That is the reason why I am very emphatic that if you want me out of this farming, pay me a Sh1 million per month. In my current occupation, I do not pay rent, transport and I eat food straight from my shamba. Rural life is dull, yes, but making money in it brightens my spirit,” he says.
Recurring costs in the managu farming business are quite low, which makes his return on investment insane.
“An acre of managu will only consume Sh2,000 fertiliser and matures within three weeks ready for the market. My labour only involves irrigation once a week. It is a hardy crop that flourishes even in sunny conditions.”
During the rainy seasons, the price goes down considerably but at the same time production more than doubles.
His mid term plan is to buy a matatu and increase the acreage to 5 plus also diversify into poultry and dairy.
“Your wealth creation potential is in your ability to make crucial decisions. You either chose to hang on living an income lie, or you break the chains of servitude and work hard in areas that give good returns.”
“Above all, if you are a male at the age bracket of 25 and 35 and you are not married, you are living an incomplete life. There is no greater excitement that beats working hard and earning in sweat and showing up in your home to face the demands of your kids and wife,” he concludes.
Kinuthia is a father of 4.
Additional reporting by Business Daily