Category Archives: Other Features

Other great features into the life of our people.

‘This is how I am reaping big from my tomato business’

Photo by Kenya News Agency.

For ten years now, Fred Masinde has practiced tomato and watermelon farming in his farm at Pinnacle area, Kanduyi Constituency in Bungoma County.

He rotates the two crops each planting season on his one acre farm in order to reap maximum benefits after his dalliance with maize and sugarcane gave him a string of losses while his other trade of selling clothes at the Bungoma open air market gave him minimal returns.

Over the years, Mr. Masinde, like most of the farmers in the County, has relied on customers who visit his home during harvesting to buy his farm produce, mostly at low prices.

“Getting the market has always been a problem, now as we speak if you visit any market in Bungoma you will find one tomato selling at sh10. When customers come here, be it from within or far they want to buy a tomato at sh.5. You cannot refuse because tomatoes are not like maize to be stored as you wait for market prices to improve,” says the farmer.

As a result Masinde has always desired to get direct market access and be able to sell his produce at a favorable price.

Almost a month ago, as he was moving up and down to attract customers to his farm, he was attracted by loud music outside a store in Kanduyi, on the outskirts of Bungoma town.

He moved closer and saw displays of tomatoes, Irish potatoes, cabbages and all manner of traditional vegetables.

The store referred to as Andy’s greens is being run by four young people, with an aim of providing market access to farmers in Western Kenya.

Mr. Masinde introduced himself as a tomato farmer and requested to know if he could supply his produce at the store. His wish was granted and every week, he now supplies 80 kilograms of tomatoes at the store.

At Andy’s Greens, they pay sh.50 per kilograms of tomatoes. That means every week, he is able to earn sh.4, 000 translating to sh.16, 000 per month. “Andy’s Greens have really assisted me.

Depending on weather patterns, Masinde harvests his tomatoes twice a week. He can harvest up to 100 kilograms of tomatoes per week, and with 80 kilograms already taken up by Andy’s Greens, it becomes easy for him to sell the remaining 20 kilograms to his other clients.

Andy’s have given me a reason to continue working hard on my farm. Their payments are prompt,” he said.

He is now sure of a weekly profit margin of between Sh.3, 000 to Sh 4,000, compared to when he was not working with Andy’s Greens when he earned between sh.1, 500 to Sh 2,500 weekly because of lack of consistent customers who could take his products in bulk.

With a ready market now, Masinde’s major challenge is depending on rainfall for his farming unlike other farmers in other parts of the Country.

“I urge the County Government of Bungoma to assist farmers to carry out irrigation agriculture rather than depending on rain, he says adding, “The reason why farmers in places like Mwea produce rice and tomatoes round the year is because they depend on irrigation farming.”

Andy’s Greens store is operated by four like-minded youth, Chris Mbaya, Faith Ndanyo, Ken Nyukuri and Andrew Wekunda, all University graduates.

Chris Mbaya did a course in hospitality management and tourism at the Cooperative University, graduating in 2018. Andrew Wekunda is a lawyer, Faith is a teacher while Ken Nyukuri studied business and commerce at the University.

According to Chris, Andy’s Greens is a brainchild of their team leader Andrew Wekunda, who previously worked with the One Acre Fund, an Organization that assists farmers improve yields.

The store was opened in mid-2020 purposely to have a place where farmers’ produce can be channeled at fair prices, before being moved on to consumers, said Chris

“When we started, Andrew had a small farm where he had planted kunde. We used to pluck the kunde and hawk it in town.

Later at the height of Covid-19, we started deliveries to people’s homes that reached us through our Facebook page.

They soon ran out of Andrew’s stock at the farm and settled on making trips to various markets within the county, majorly Chwele market.

From his previous hustles, Andrew had bought a van, which they started using to move from one market to another to get fresh farm produce so as to satisfy their market.

However, they were not making any progress because the largest amount of their earnings went into fueling the van.

This was sorted when they decided to change their mode of operation and only focus on buying their products directly from farmers

“There was a day we went out for field work to look for farmers and convince them to start supplying their produce to us at fair prices.

“We went all the way to Mt Elgon and spoke to farmers producing various products including tomatoes, Irish potatoes, cabbage and traditional vegetables,” Faith Ndanyo said.

Chris says their intention has always been uplifting the farmer while supplying fresh produce to clients.

Different organizations are training farmers, providing inputs to them but they do not train farmers on how to sell their farm products. “Thus we came in to help the farmer get a ready market, Chris says.”

From their baby steps, they have managed to buy a lorry and employed two drivers whose role is to pick agricultural produce from farmers thereby saving the farmers the pain of transporting the produce to the market.

At Andy’s Greens store, prices are favorable to both the farmer and the consumer. For instance, they purchase a head of cabbage at sh.20 from the farmer and sell it at sh.30. In most markets, the same size of cabbage goes for up to sh50. They buy a 100 kg bag of Irish potatoes at sh.1, 700 and sell it sh.2, 200.

“Our approach leans so much towards helping the farmer realize maximum benefits from his/her venture.

The farmers we work with are happy because, for example, those who sell potatoes know that after two to three days, we are ready to take about 70 bags from them,” insisted Faith.

Their biggest challenge, however, is the rough terrains they have to scale to and from farms to pick the produce.
“Our lorry has broken down severally because of the bad roads especially to Mt Elgon, but that does not dampen our spirits,” said Chris who agrees with Faith that the store is paying big time with daily sales ranging from sh.5000 to sh.20, 000 a day, thereby affording them to pay themselves a salary.

“We have employed two drivers and four people for packaging, and all of them are on salary,” said Faith, who is an English and Literature teacher.

– By Kenya News Agency

Je, bado unaweza kupata ujauzito hata baada ya kutumia dawa za upangaji uzazi?

Katika vitongoji vya mtaa wa Mareli mjini Bungoma, nakutana na Mama Irine Nanjala, ambaye ni fundi cherahani, akiwa katika shughuli zake za kila siku za kushonea wateja wake mavazi.

Kwanza nimetaka kufahamu iwapo kuna uwezekano wa mwanamke aliyetumia dawa za kupanga uzazi kupata ujauzito. Mama Nanjala ananiarifu kama mwanamke atatumia dawa hizo bila ushauri wa mhudumu wa afya, kuna uwezekano mkubwa atapata ujauzito iwapo ameshiriki tendo la ndoa bila kinga.

Vilevile iwapo mwanamke atachanganya dawa za kiasili pamoja na zile za hospitalini, kuna uwezekano mkubwa ataathiri uwezo wa dawa ya upangaji uzazi kufanya kazi mwilini.

Dawa za upangaji uzazi. Picha– hisani

Nasaha kutoka kwa mtaalamu

Ili kupata ufafanuzi zaidi, naabiri tuk tuk hadi hospitali ya Hopkins Crescent iliyopo Kanduyi hapa Bungoma. Nakutana na mtaalamu wa maswala ya afya ya uzazi Daktari Sarah Nekesa ambaye anafafanua zaidi usemi wa Mama Irine.

Daktari Nekesa anasema katika swala la upangaji uzazi, kuna masharti muhimu mwanamke anafaa kuzingatia na iwapo atatenda kinyume, huenda akaharibu mpango mzima.

Mtaalamu huyu, kwa mintarafu hiyo, anashauri kuwa ni muhimu mwanamke kupata maelezo kamili kutoka kwa mtaalamu wa upangaji uzazi kabla ya kuamua mbinu inayofaa mwili wake.

Nini baadhi ya athari za dawa za upangaji uzazi?

Mama Peninah Nafula Nekesa ni miongoni mwa wanawake wanaotumia mbinu za upangaji uzazi hapa Bungoma. Anakiri kuhisi maumivu ya mgongo, takribani miezi mitatu bila kupata hedhi, kukosa hamu ya kufanya tendo la ndoa na mwili kuwa baridi baada ya kuanza kutumia dawa hizi.

Dhana kuhusu upangaji uzazi

Swala hili limezingirwa na dhana tofauti, baadhi wakiamini kuwa iwapo mwanamke atapata ujauzito akiwa amepewa dawa ya upangaji uzazi, kuna uwezekano ajifungue mtoto mwenye ulemavu.

Ni muhimu kutafuta ushauri wa mtaalamu wa afya kabla ya kutumia dawa za upangaji uzazi.

Mama Anastasia Ong’eti anasema alipata mimba 1999 akiwa anatumia mpango wa Nor Plant na alijifungua mtoto akiwa na afya nzuri.

Kwa hivyo anawashauri wanawake kutokuwa na wasiwasi wanapogundua wana ujauzito licha ya kuwekewa mfumo wa upangaji uzazi.

Ushirikiano wa wanandoa katika upangaji uzazi

Wataalamu wa afya ya uzazi nchini wanasisitiza ushirikiano wa wanandoa katika upangaji uzazi ili kuwa na familia yenye mpangilio.

Vilevile, wanahimiza wanaume kuwa mstari wa mbele katika swala hili zima, ikizingatiwa kuwa katika karne ya sasa, mwanamume anaweza kutumia njia ya upangaji uzazi ijulikanayo kama vasectomy.

Campus Pressline: Five things you should do on your visit to Moi University

The Campus Pressline is a special news and feature edition that will be focusing on key issues inside Kenyan universities, colleges and higher learning institutions as narrated by Moses Kibwana.

To start us off, we will shine the limelight on Moi University located in Kesses Constituency in Uasin Gishu County of the Rift Valley.

Five exquisite spots you should check in on your visit to Moi University

Moi University is ranked one of the best in the country, boasting of a second place after the University of Nairobi. Many, probably who haven’t set foot inside, make fun of it as a village university. Woe unto them if they don’t make a trip inside this soon!

1. Have a tour inside the resplendent administration block

You haven’t been to Moi University if you haven’t peered inside the magnificent green-white building at the entrance of the university square.

The admin, as referred to by students, holds over 200 offices with different departments and is home to the stately university Senate

The building is also home to the former Kenya Television Service studios, the Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor’s offices. It also hosts two Auto Teller Machines (ATMs) which serve financial purposes to the lecturers, staff as well as students.

The Moi University administration block commonly referred to as the admin. Photo– courtesy

2. Visit the evergreen glaring Kesses Falls

For the first two weeks of one’s life in First Year as part of the physical orientation is visiting the Falls located on the North East frontier of the university.

The boredom that begets one before starting off a semester pushes students to visit the glaring falls. The site thus acts as a stress reliever to most students beaten by their academic life.

The tourist attraction site is a recreational facility that attracts many students during weekends, and also acts as a picnic site for most clubs in the school and a scenery for doing photo shoots.

You don’t mind an epic visit to Kesses falls in your visit to Moi University. Photo– courtesy

3. Have a hearty meal at Chela’s

It is without any doubt that most students have eaten a meal or two at this joint.

Besides being cheap, the restaurant, located at Talai Centre ‘Stage Area’ near the E- Sport Lounge, offers a variety of meals depending on one’s interest. The meals, which range from ugali mix, pilau to mchele mix, is favourite to students who wish to save a coin.

4. Have a boat ride at Kesses Dam

The Kesses Dam is an important recreational spot for students. Photo – courtesy

Located some few metres from the school is another tourist attraction site, the Kesses Dam. The dam is a soft spot for lovebirds and couples who wish to experience the ‘beauty of love’.

The natural breeze around the sea-like water, leave alone the thrilling boat race that one pays for at least sh 30 only, is something to reckon with.

This is the place most visited on weekends and it usually has a beehive of fun activities such as singing, dancing, photo shooting, partying and picnics.

5. Speak on the mics at MU FM

At the basement of the great Margaret Thatcher Library in the School of Information Sciences is home to 103.9 Moi University Radio, abbreviated as MU FM.

The studio acts as a training ground for students pursuing media courses and other media enthusiasts.

Every young journalist in the school yearns to be heard from MU FM which has wonderful shows such as The Requestline.

Media students and media enthusiasts in their errands at MU FM. Photo– courtesy

The green maize season in Luhyaland– the nostalgia that comes with it

• By Sam Oduor

It is reminiscent to observe that this month many homesteads in Luhyaland will be ‘officially opening up’ a small fraction of their green maize fields for the purpose of celebrating, literally, the beginning of the harvesting season.

The special occasion will be graced by the head of the house, usually the father, who will give children (who find pleasure in this typical season), a go ahead.

Personally, the resplendent green maize season is a culture to reminisce, being part of my childhood memories where I could sit down with my younger sister and cousins to beat stories and fun while maize roasted to golden-brown at a three-stone fireplace.

The green maize season brings with it nostalgia from the past olden days. Photo– Courtesy

Our mum would come to beckon us to retire to bed when each one of us was on their seventh maize cob, our stomachs now tucked tight but unrelenting on other three roasting vibrantly at the ceasing but lively fire.

This characteristic practice, significantly, offers farmers a relief after a long season of attending to maize crops that begin in March with planting and extends through April, May and June with weeding, applying fertilizer and spraying pesticides.

Harvested green maize. Photo– Kigan Mususi, Lugari

The green maize season starts in June for homesteads that own pieces of land near swamps or rivers and get the privilege of planting earlier; July for majority of other farmers and in August for those who are not ‘lucky enough’ and extends to early August before the drought season knocks in and harvesting of dry maize begins.

Mind you, this is the best season of the year, leave out Christmas, for children across Western Kenya who relish not only the aroma of roasted maize but also the significant culture deeply rooted around the traditional African fireplace.

It is at the fireplace that our traditional grandparents would narrate great fairy tales and real stories whilst passing morals and tradition to young people. This, it seems, is so much rooted in our DNA that we can’t just wash it away overnight.

Only that the modern African parent is too busy or unconcerned to engage his/her daughter or son at the fireplace with hot topics on sexuality, drug abuse and peer influence. Could it be the reason many young people are taking the green maize season for granted?

Anyhow, the nostalgia of a green maize season keeps me looking back with passion. July kicks off as a season of bounty and abundance and children from my hood will be carrying roasted and boiled maize to school in equal measures. I am jealous of the teachers who will see a change in the attitude of students whose stomachs are full and brains contented, ready to learn.