Meet Leshan, a 33-year-old dedicated government field officer with the National Government Constituency Development Fund in Kimana ward, Kajiado South sub-county. But Leshan’s story is more than just a job title and a location. It’s a tale of relentless commitment and a boundless spirit. Despite the geographical expanse separating him from Kimana ward to Kuku ward, the home of the Wezesha Agri project, Leshan’s unwavering dedication to the program knows no bounds.
He embarked on a transformative journey as part of Cohort 1, joining the program in November 2022 and emerging as a graduate in April 2023. This training began something extraordinary that Leshan never imagined possible.”
A Local Perspective on Struggles
As a community officer and a resident of Kimana ward, Leshan possesses a unique perspective on the harsh realities his community faces. He has witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of relentless drought – from plummeting crop productivity and dwindling soil fertility to the frailty of livestock and the alarming rise in livestock mortality among the agro-pastoral community.
Fertile Ground for Horticulture
Kimana Ward stands proudly as the second-largest producer of tomatoes in Kenya. Most of the area’s large commercial farmers produce horticultural crops. However, before joining the Wezesha program, Leshan had limited knowledge of farming and agribusiness. He practiced small-scale crop farming but recognized a critical gap in the market.
Seeds of Opportunity
While participating in Wezesha’s comprehensive training sessions, Leshan’s interest in seedling propagation grew exponentially. He actively engaged with the farm’s expert team, delving deep into seed propagation management at the Wezesha greenhouse. He learned invaluable climate-smart approaches to seedling propagation and identified a potential agribusiness venture – supplying certified seedlings to small-scale farmers in the Kimana ward.
Driven by his vision, Leshan marshaled his savings and borrowed from family members to invest in constructing an 8-meter by 15-meter greenhouse, totaling Ksh. 250,000. This strategically located greenhouse, just a stone’s throw from Kimana town, holds immense market potential.
Wezesha’s Incubation Support:
The Wezesha program is incubating his enterprise at the Wezesha demo farm to fortify Leshan’s agribusiness endeavor. This incubation offers Leshan a lifeline of support. How so, you may ask?
Leshan has the unique opportunity to work directly and gain mastery in seed propagation at the Wezesha farm.
Access to Resources
He leverages the propagation infrastructure and equipment at the demo farm to produce his initial seedlings.
Guidance and Expertise
Technical support and advice from Wezesha’s agricultural partners, trainers, and project team as he sets up his enterprise.
Access to a potential market of over 580 farmers from the Wezesha community attending weekly training sessions in the current 2nd cohort.
Networking and Partnerships
Leshan taps into Wezesha’s extensive network and contacts, forging relationships vital for his business growth.
He gains the confidence and business acumen necessary for a thriving, sustainable enterprise.
Leshan’s journey, from drought-stricken fields to flourishing greenhouses, embodies the spirit of resilience and entrepreneurship.
With Wezesha’s unwavering support, he is transforming his vision into a reality, nurturing not only his business but also the agricultural landscape of Kimana Ward!