Lilian has a big farm of 10 acres and has always been a farmer. She grows tomatoes, maize, sukuma wiki, onion, beans and she also has chicken and goats. Another interesting thing about her farm is the brook that is always flowing.
Six or seven years ago Lillian followed a course on farming given by George. After this big course she followed other small courses, for example about livestock farming. She really benefits from the courses and applies everything she learned immediately on her farm. Some examples of the skills she learned about: the skills of planting, different methods of seeding, zero gracing. Besides this, she also has knowledge about the dangers and bacteria’s, also learned from George.
Lilian says she is always willing to learn and she also is willing to pay for it. She could join a course around 3 till 4 days a week.
Maize only grows in rainy season, when there is no rain, the maize dies. All the other crops need the more than the rainwater, Lilians farm has the accessibility to the brook. In a good season Lillian sells 30 bags of maize, one bag is 90 kilograms. When there is a lot of demand on the market she sells one bag for 2000 shilling, otherwise for 4000. After three to four month maize can be harvested.
When there is a good season for tomatoes Lilian harvest around 200 boxes of tomatoes and sells one box for 6000 shillings.
Lilian buys her seeds at a plays where there is a certificate for it, to make sure the seeds are good ones. The bags of seeds costs:
- Maize 6000 shilling
- Tomatoes (and chemicals) 20000 shilling
- Sukuma wiki 40000 shilling
It is difficult to put a percentage on the loss of harvest etcetera, but the estimations of Lilian are:
In a good season the loss of crops due to natural causes are 20 percent, in a bad season 40 percent.
After the harvest there can be lost of crops, but that is negligible. 20-30 percent of the harvest is for own use and 70-80 for selling. The crops goes to institutions (60%) and to the market (40%). The road to the farm of Lilian is really small and rocky, she needs to hire a tractor to transport the crops to her home. One tractor to transport costs around 5000 shillings and she needs three for a big harvest. From her home to the market she can do with motors.
Lilian uses a lot of tools as panga (matchet), djembe (manual plough tool), rack, spade and slasher, sometimes Lilian rents a tractor to spit the ground, this costs 3000 shilling for 1 hectare. There are a lot of tools Lilian does not have and could use, like a water pomp to pump the water from the river, a couple of watering-cans and spray pomp’s for chemicals. Lilian uses fertilizers and tests the soil of her farm
Lilian runs the farm and has multiple employees, they are all friends of her. She also does her own administration and saves some money for the next harvest season. Often she waits for the prices of the crops getting higher to sell them. The prices of the crops are really fluctuating, it depends a lot on the rain and quality of the crops.
The biggest challenge Lilian is facing is the water problem. Sometimes she plants her maize, but then it stops raining and they die. Also the transport of her crops is sometimes difficult, because the way to her farm is really rocky and on a small path. Getting a loan at the bank is no option, because of the high interest.