Some kilometers in Makueni, Kenya, lies a forest of fruit trees owned and managed by Amos Muange, 36 years old. When you meet him at his orchard in the dry areas of Kathonzweni, Kenya, you cannot imagine that he was once serving espressos, cappuccinos, and signature beverages as a coffee barista.

After many years working in the city, he had a great zeal and determination to venture into farming. This desire saw him pack his bags to give it a try. To start off, he transitioned as a dairy farmer, investing all his savings to purchasing his first four dairy cows that currently produce 8-10litres. He also joined Lower Eastern Dairy Cooperative Association (LEDCA) to increase his milk return through better prices.

As a cooperative member, this has provided him with a ready market which offers him a fair price and collects milk right from his farm. He also has access to loans that has helped him diversify his farming to fruit farming which offer far better returns.

“On a very good season, the cows will give me close to 40 litres”, says Amos. He makes 50/= per litre which translates to Ksh 2000/= per day and Ksh 60000/= per month for the milk. However, due to the changing weather pattern, the milk sometimes fluctuates.” I have, however, established a fodder bank, where I prepare the fodder in advance. I desire to grow more fodder for my cows.” this supplements his cow feed and helps reduce production costs and increases his profit on milk sales.

He adds, “I target to produce 400 litres of milk daily.”

Farmers Trend
Amos Muange pats one of his dairy cows. Photo by Catherine Waking’a

We Effect, in partnership with LEDCA, through the Promoting Equality in Dairy Enterprise for Improved Livelihoods (PEDE) project continues to improve farm productivity and food security for increased farm returns; enhance resilience to climate change and environmental sustainability

As smallholder farmers continue to suffer under the effects of climate change, the youthful farmer is also reaping big from producing and selling fruits. A look at his colorful orchard in an arid region leaves you with a lot of admiration for his hard work and passion for farming.

Farmers Trend
Amos Muange shows some of his pixie trees with ripe fruits at his farm in Makueni, Kenya. Photo by Catherine Waking’a

His orchard has sweet pixie oranges – an orange-coloured fruit that is fleshy, juicy, and sweet, mangoes and bananas. From corner to corner, his farm is an endless maze of citrus fruits, some ripe while others are still flowering. Keen to have a reliable water source for his trees, the farmer has sank a shallow well from which he waters his farm. It uses solar system to pump water to his fruit trees.

Farmers Trend
Amos Muange shows a banana bundle at his farm in Makueni, Kenya. Photo by Catherine Waking’a

In a season, which is between June and August, he harvests 25 tonnes, where a tonne sells at Ksh 20,000. Around December, he harvests between 5 to 7 tonnes for the second season. On a good harvest, he earns close to Ksh500,000 from oranges only. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, most Makueni residents grow and sell mangoes and citrus fruits through cooperative societies. This makes the county one of the biggest producer of the fruits.

Amos is testimony that, where there is a will, there is a way. Food security is achievable in arid and semi-arid areas where rain is unpredictable due to climate change.

successful fruit farmers

WRITTEN BY: Catherine Waking’a

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