Robert Kiama, 35

By Robert Kiama for Hustle/Standard Digital

I used to work as a dental technologist at a hospital in Nairobi but I wanted to try my hand in business. Eventually, I got into farming.

During leave in 2014, I sold farm produce in Nairobi and this paved the way for the career path I would follow.

I started with potatoes, which I used to procure from Narok county and sell in the city. I made my first Sh20,000 two weeks into the business and, excited by the good proceeds, diversified into selling vegetables.

Returns were higher than I expected and immediately after returning to work, I tendered my resignation. I could not continue working for Sh60,000 salary when I could earn Sh100,000 in a month. I quit the dentist job and started selling vegetables in different parts of Nairobi.

I don’t regret taking the bold move because I have since employed four people who help me with deliveries. I also met a friend, Zachary Wanjau, and our common interest in farming has kept us together to date.

We have planted different crops in Laikipia on 12 acres that we leased in 2015.  We planted spinach, lettuce, amaranth, courgettes and kales. We could make Sh6,000 in a day from sales in Nairobi. It is more profitable to sell vegetables from the farm because the demand for fresh vegetables in Nairobi is high.

We have since added cereals such as lentil, chickpeas, green grams, black beans and giant beans. Among the challenges we have faced are water scarcity and invasion of the farm by wildlife. We also lost Sh5 million after sinking two boreholes and we did not get water despite hiring geologists from the Agriculture ministry to guide us.

At the moment, we are focusing on contract farming and are educating about 27 farmers on transforming farming into a profitable venture.