Leshan is a 33 yaear old young man serving as a government field officer attached to the National Government Constituency Development Fund in Kimana ward, Kajiado South sub county. Despite the geographical distance from Kimana ward to Kuku ward where the Wezesha Agri project is based, Leshan was committed to the program. He was part of the Cohort 1 graduands who joined the program in November 2022 and graduated in April 2023. As a community officer and resident of Kimana ward, Leshan has first-hand experience on the effects of ravaging drought resulting to poor crop productivity, decreased soil fertility, poor animal health, and rise in livestock mortality among the agro-pastoral community.
Kimana ward is the 2nd largest producer of tomatoes in Kenya[i]. Majority of the large commercial farmers engage in horticultural crop production. Prior joining Wezesha program, Leshan had limited knowledge on farming and agribusiness. He practiced small scale crop farming. Through his work, he observed a gap in the market where farmers travel far to established nurseries in Athi River, Emali, and Naivasha town to purchase crop seedlings from certified seeds.
While attending the Wezesha trainings, Leshan’s interest in seedling propagation was stirred even further. He was closely involved and was often engaging the farm hand team during seed propagation management at the Wezesha green house. He learnt climate smart approaches on seedling propagation and identified a potential agribusiness enterprise of selling certified seedlings to small scale farmers in Kimana ward. He therefore collected his personal savings and borrowing from family and invested in construction of a greenhouse unit measuring 8meters by 15meters. The unit. The greenhouse investment of Ksh. 250,000/- is located a few meters from the Kimana town with huge market potential.
To support Leshan’s agribusiness venture, Wezesha program will incubate his enterprise at the Wezesha demo farm. The incubation process will provide Leshan the following support:-
- Hands on opportunity to directly work to learn and master his craft on seed propagation at the Wezesha farm.
- Leverage on the propagation infrastructure and equipment at the demo farm to produce his first initial seedlings.
- Receive technical support and advise from Wezesha agri partners, trainers, and project team during set up of his enterprise.
- Access a ready potential market of over from the Wezesha farmers and beneficiaries that attend the weekly trainings (over 580 farmers in the current 2nd cohort).
- Leverage and build on Wezesha’s network and contacts to building relationships necessary to grow his business.
- Gain confidence and business resilience necessary for a sustainable business enterprise.