Farming in Kenya has long been considered a risky and labor-intensive venture, and many Kenyans shy away from making it their primary source of livelihood.
However, amidst the majority who practice subsistence farming, there are daring individuals who defy the odds and achieve remarkable success in the agricultural sector.
One such exceptional story is that of Moses Karimi Githaiga, a primary school dropout who rose to become a millionaire through garlic farming, proving that determination, passion, and innovation can transform dreams into lucrative realities.
Born and raised in the interior village of Kiawara, in Kieni Sub County, Nyeri County, Moses Karimi’s life took an unexpected turn when he could not complete his primary school education due to financial constraints.
Instead of accepting defeat, he decided to enter the workforce at an early age. After moving to Kisumu city, he worked as a hawker and knife sharpener in Manyatta and Nyalenda slums.
However, Karimi’s heart was set on farming, and during his hustle, he would often find time to visit cybercafés to research garlic cultivation and market demand.
Armed with knowledge gained from online research, Karimi made a life-changing decision to return to his village and pursue his passion for farming.
In 2012, he embarked on his garlic farming journey, starting with just a quarter-acre of land where he planted 25 kilograms of garlic.
Using innovative techniques he learned online, such as propagating his own seeds to reduce harvest time, he harvested an impressive 800 kilograms within just four months. Selling his harvest at Ksh100 per kilo, he earned Ksh80,000 in his very first season.
Buoyed by this early success, Karimi expanded his garlic cultivation to a full acre of land in 2013.
The results were astonishing – he harvested a whopping 4,800 kilograms of garlic, earning around Ksh480,000 that season.
Always thinking ahead, he set aside 20% of his produce for seed propagation, ensuring that his farming venture remained sustainable and capable of future growth.
Karimi’s fortune continued to grow along with his garlic farm. By 2013, he had acquired 13 acres of land and established his farming company, Saumu Centre Limited. During an exclusive interview with Business Daily, he revealed a staggering achievement – earning Ksh4.8 million in just four months.
As his farm expanded, Karimi created employment opportunities for his community. He hired ten permanent employees to assist with farm operations and would often hire an additional 13 casual laborers during peak seasons.
Through this, he not only achieved financial success for himself but also contributed to local economic development.
Karimi’s entrepreneurial spirit extended beyond his own farm. Recognizing the potential to empower others, he began training over 100 farmers from neighboring counties, including Meru, Kirinyaga, and Embu, in garlic farming.
He charged Ksh3,000 for each training session, providing participants with reading materials and reference manuals.
This act of mentorship and knowledge-sharing had a ripple effect on the agricultural sector, uplifting farmers and enhancing farming practices.