While many youth in Kenya sink into despair when they are forced to drop out of school, this seemingly grim fate marked the beginning of a successful farming career for Silas Murithi, a resident of Gituri Village in Meru County. Lack of school fees saw Mr Murithi, now 40-years-old, drop out of secondary school in 1994 when he was in Form Two. Besides, the father of three was not performing well in class and had what he terms a poor attitude towards education.

“I used to strain a lot in school due to my poor attitude towards education and my discouraging performance in examinations did not help matters,” says Mr Murithi .

“But I reckoned that the fact that I was weak in class did not mean I could not be rich or excel in other areas. I decided to try may hand at agriculture because I felt I had the passion for it.”

He acquired a one- acre plot where he planted crops such as maize and beans. He later bought a dairy cow using earnings from the farm and with the help of his family, also diversified to other cash crops.

After few years, Mr Murithi sold his two cows and some maize that he had stored which he topped up with a loan of Sh200,000 and bought another one-acre piece of land on which he now plants bananas.

The farmer currently has three acres of land half of which is under bananas. He plants maize on the remaining portion . The bananas earns him at least Sh35,000 every month while he harvests about 50 bags of maize each season, with a bag selling at between Sh2,000 and Sh2,500. His hard work earned him sponsorship from the Meru County Government which uses his banana farm as a learning or demonstration centre.

“The county helped me connect water pipes to my farm and I can now irrigate my banana plants daily which has greatly helped to increase yields,” said Mr Murithi.

He has hired three farm hands who work for three days a week for Sh350 a day. Mr Murithi, however, decries the poor state of roads in the area and lack of market for his produce which he terms as the main challenges.
via Seeds of Gold

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