Partnerships for profitable farming
Joseph Mulei Kioko is a small holder farmer in Machakos County. He has worked with AAA member, Dryland Seed Limited (DSL) for more than five years now, consistently buying seeds from them. In 2012, he was given seeds by DSL in order to reproduce pigeon peas under a check off agreement with the company. He received training and advice with his wife on planting and producing.
The only costs he incurred were in purchasing fertilizer and pesticides as advised. Unreliable rainfall and cost of labour affected subsequent reproduction. Most of the land under the crop was leased.
Mulei has a written contract in place with DSL. On the 7 acres of land he planted the pigeon peas, he harvested 4.9tonnes. He is the only farmer that produced this particular variety. He only managed to do this once due to unreliable rainfall patterns. The crop was however affected by pests and diseases and wilting. He admits that a lot of input is involved.
Occasionally, he continues to benefit from increased production in other crops he grows such as maize and beans. He hoped to plant this season but had to make the necessary land preparation. The other issue that caused the delay in planting is lack of funds to purchase a water tank. Initially, he had purchased one with a capacity of 3000 litres but did not benefit from it.
The base he had constructed was weak and once the tank was up with water, due to the weight, it came down and broke. He is however wiser now due to the advice he receives from DSL. At the time of the visit, the new base for the tank was under construction. He now hopes to save up for his new tank.
Despite not being able to venture into commercial farming this season, he is a happy and content farmer since he is able to practice subsistence farming on his piece of land.
His current farm is a 5 acre plot. From the proceeds he got from the farm produce, he has built his home and educated his children and grandchildren. He is grateful for the added knowledge and new farming techniques from DSL. Mulei once reared hundreds of chicken but reduced the number due to the prohibitive cost of chicken feed. The market price of the chicken was equally low.
Apart from the reproduction, his farm also acts as a demonstration plot for other farmers. He has set a good example for other farmers in the area. If he is to reproduce the pigeon peas again, he has to work with a cluster of 100 acres, this means getting other farmers on board.