Mr. Wambua Ndonye, a 61 year-old farmer, a father of five and a resident of Mwala in Eastern Kenya had been planting maize and beans in his four acres of land for many years until he crossed paths with the Semi- Arid Region Commercialization Programme implemented by World Vision Kenya and Farm Concern International with support from World Vision Australia. Mr. Ndonye had only been producing enough from his staple crops for home consumption with mangoes being the major commercial plant..
He chose to plant watermelon (Sukari F1), a high value crop after commercialization campaigns by FCI and World Vision and harvested over 1 tonne during the March- May rain season.
“Since I started growing watermelons and mangoes, my household income has increased tremendously. Traditionally, I used to grow maize and beans every year but when I started growing watermelons; my income increased up to three times. I will now concentrate on watermelon, mangoes, butternuts and onions. We are now sure to get market for our produce since FCI is facilitating market linkages. I would advise more farmers to embrace the high value crops to boost their household income besides planting maize and beans for household food security,” he says.
FCI, through Eastern Kenya Household Resilience Project (EKHRP) introduced the Commercial Village model and created market linkages which enabled Mr. Ndonye to sell watermelons amounting to Kshs. 35,000 at price of Ksh. 30 per kilogram. This was a big win for him unlike the previous seasons when he sold water melons at Ksh. 20 per kg due to collective bargaining.
Mr. Ndonye has been able to pay Kshs. 23,000 (USD. 271) school fees for his son in Railway Institute College and saved Kshs. 4,600 (USD. 54) for purchase of seeds for the next season. He hopes things can only get better as he has now doubled the acreage under water melon thus high income..
FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond