Fish farmers raise horticultural crops to boost incomes


By Joseph Mukubwa

Jackson Kanyingi, 58, has been raising fish over the last four years. But like many farmers in Nyeri County, he has now started growing horticultural produce.
Though he has a half-acre plot, Kanyingi is now producing lettuce, cauliflowers, Beetroot, spinach and bulb onions among others besides his fish ponds. The crops, which he harvests after three months, fetch good returns as does the Tilapia fish.
Since the beginning of the year, the farmer, who is also the chairman of Central Business District in Nyeri town, has been selling his produce to local hotels. His farming has enabled him to educate his three children besides meeting his family’s needs.
“Fish is always on high demand, so are the horticultural crops. This is why I utilize my farm for the two businesses,” says Kanyingi. The former teacher is lucky because his farm lies on a swampy area in Ngangarithi area.
Kanyingi’s farm is a study on how to intensify farming. His small farm has over 3,000 plants of lettuce, cauliflowers and spinach. But he intends to add more to meet the high demand. At one corner of the farm, he is rearing about 20 rabbits which he occasionally sells to complement his income. He buys the seeds from the local shops and sows them in a nursery bed before re-planting them and says he is yet to consult any agricultural officer.
Early in the year, Kanyingi started growing bulb onions and cabbages which he believes will be more marketable than Sukumawiki (kale).
The former teacher advices fellow farmers to invest in horticultural farming, which is always on high demand, without abandoning the fish farming projects as this will boost food production in the area.
Local farmers in Nyeri County appear to have heeded his advice. For many have now started integrating horticultural crops with the fish hoping to get better returns.