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Kenya: Chronicles of a Kenyan Farmer Online

E.K. Kamwenji is a Kenyan blogging farmer residing in Nyeri. Kamwenji worked in different sectors unrelated to agriculture before he realised the importance of using latest technologies for networking and marketing of farm produce.

He explains his journey into farming:

Kenyan blogging farmer. Photo source: Kamwenji's Facebook page.

Thus I am a farmer by profession. The undergraduate course took 4 years and after graduating I ventured into job hunting. Initially, I was employed in a small farm. I was in charge of production but after 14 months, I quit due to low pay which was irrespective of performance as per the agreement.

During this period I was searching for another better paying job but I found myself working in areas that are not related to horticulture. These included sales at an auto shop and programming at an IT company. It was an eye opener as I realized that farmers are generally looked down upon especially the small scale ones.

I also got to know that it was important to incorporate other concepts of business into agriculture to transform it, to bring it to per with the current state of things i.e. use of latest form of technology in order to improve on not just the farming techniques but also on the networking and marketing of farm producers and produce.

How did Kamwenji become a blogging farmer?:

I started my blog not so long ago, mostly as a therapeutic way of ‘telling someone’ about my challenges, joys, disappointments, mistakes and progress. Many of my friends ask me why I choose farming yet there are many other appealing professions out there. I love farming. I desire self reliance especially when it comes to food and most of all following my calling. I find more fulfillment tending to my livestock or crops even with its many setbacks than many of my friends do seated behind desks in offices.

My blog is to not only to record my journeys as a farmer but also to serve as an encouragement to the many jobless youth in Kenya of whom many if not most have migrated and many more still migrate to the capital cities in search of white or blue collar jobs leaving their family farms with no one to till.

My Blog does not give a daily account of my activities in the farm as most are redundant. Rather it gives highlights of the ups, the downs, the learning points and setbacks in a summarized form.
It’s quite hard finding time to even update my blog on a weekly basis leave alone daily thus I just jot down a few notes in the evenings and come up with a more holistic post afterwards.

In one of his last year's posts, Kamwenji discussed his plans for operating a successful livestock project:

My main objectives are to fully operate a sustainable farming venture. The major project is to have the livestock up and going. This is important since this department is not affected by the weather and market for the produce such that one can have a proper plan with.

The cows and goats are for dairy production. Hopefully, if all goes as planned, in the next 2- years they should have multiplied and the milk production should not be less than 60 litres. If they happen to delivery young ones that re male, these are to be raised up to an age where they can be sold at a good value enough to acquire heifers and does(she goats)

In the geese section, the aim is to have twenty adult females. There are adequate to ensure that they lay ad hatch enough chicks unlike poultry Chicken) geese tend to stay long before laying and only lay 5-7 eggs before becoming broody. The good thing is that they do have a better market.

In another post written this year, Kamwenji shows how environmental degradation in Kenya affects farmers:

Talking of weather, the region I come from (or undertake most of farming for that matter) has been in the news due to frost affecting the tea farms both small-scale and large scale. It is quite tragic if you ask me because for the longest time Kenyans have been ignoring the calls for environmental conservation. The haphazard weather patterns we have seen in the last 5-10 years have been worrying especially considering our country is smack in the middle of the tropics.
Tree-cutting has been the order of the day and recently the area around Mt. Kenya – which is less than 20 miles from the farm – had a wild fire which was contained after more than 3 days. A similar but less serious situation was also reported along the Aberdare Ranges. These two highlands provide the area around Central Kenya with much of its water and this also trickles down to the other parts of the country in Nairobi, Eastern and Coastal regions. Reduce the acreage of trees on these areas and you drastically affect the water table and patterns downstream. I'll not lecture you on this for now.

In addition to blogging, Kamwenji uses YouTube to share stories about his farm. The two videos below are from his 5-part YouTube series:

This is a 5 part series video of my farm in Karatina Nyeri. You will get to see; The dogs, Goats, Cows, Calves, Geese as well as the foodcrops; Bananas, napier grass, beans, maize and fruit trees.

I also take you through how I use the manure generated from the cows into the farm.

Join me as I take you on a tour of my farm.

Kamwenji is also on Facebook and Twitter. His blog was nominated in the Agriculture Category in this year's BAKE Blogger Awards.

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