How i turned an acre of rocky hill in Migori into a thriving vegetable garden- ex-teacher

Berry Odindo at his vegetable farm in Ranen area, Migori county

By MN Reporter

When Berry Odindo, 32, quit his job after being laid off following Covid 19 outbreak, the former teacher and worker in NGO thought of taking a break to face farming.

It was seven years of juggling between teaching in private institution and non-governmental institutions before the Education degree graduate came home to an acre of rocky land on a hilltop in his Ranen rural home.

“I had a young family to take care of and I realized that  there was a vast opportunity in farming owing to the fact that most of the vegetables consumed in Migori comes from Kisii and other areas,” he said.

He said he was not dissuaded to the rocky nature of the one acre farm his father had apportioned him.

“I had to act smart and i started ferrying fertile soil from the roadside where construction of the Kisii-Migori highway was taking place to the hill,” he explains.

He looked for cement bags which were hard to come by and it took him almost two months to source the bags from construction sites.

“I finally managed to buy 2000 bags each going for Sh 5. Then come the challenge of ferrying the soils so I had to hire additional manpower,” he explains.

After preparations, he then went on a seedling hunting spree, looking for indigenous vegetable seedlings from local traders.

“I had to look for Kienyeji vegetables and Kales which are synonymous with every household and by December, I had made a whooping Sh 50,000 from my first harvest,” he said.

To boost productivity, Odindo said he had hire farmhands to help source organic manure and water the crops from a nearby streaM.

“Once I started harvesting I sought market from hotels and learning institutions, in addition to locals which made me make Sh5,000-7,000 daily. This has really boosted my morale. I now earn close to Sh 40,000 a week from my one acre piece.” he said.

But as he explains, vegetable farming is seasonal so there is need for rotational farming. Coupled with pests that require close monitoring and treatment, the venture may be

“I have the papers but I’ve dedicated my time to this newfound venture. I have never been employed by the government, always shifting between contracts but in farming I have found some solace,” he says.

He plans to place irrigation channels from the stream and harvest rain water to boost production.