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Karari emerges an overall winner in Agriculture despite being physically challenged

Everyone  has  hardships  they encounter in their lives, but when someone with a disability is able to overcome, it is an amazing thing to behold.

It  is, however, not  all  doom and gloom as there are those who have risen past these challenges to become achievers  and  have set out to inspire thousands who shy away from taking that first step to change their circumstances.

One  such person is Habel Ndiga Karari  who has not only braved torrents of kidney failure but that of diabetes which left  him totally blind.

Born  in 1951  without disability in Kiamuruga, Kirinyaga Central Sub-County Kirinyaga County Karari lived a normal life  until he was diagnosed with diabetes.

“One thing led to another until I was told the sad news that my kidneys were failing from the diabetes,” he said.

“I  was  lucky  that  one of my younger brothers donated one of his kidneys to me in 2006 with a successful transplant at  Nairobi hospital,” he said.

The whole thing nevertheless left me totally blind forcing me to take an early retirement from my teaching career.

“I  was  a  mathematics  teacher  having trained at Exeter University South of England where I had trained in Mathematics and  Education,” he said.

“I  taught at various schools in Kirinyaga including Kabare Girls, Kamuiru High, Kianyaga High School before I was
transferred Pumwani Girls High School in Nairobi,” he said, adding; “The sickness caught up with me when I was the deputy  principal at Kerugoya Boys around 2000,” he noted.

Karari  says  he  was not  deterred  by  being  blind  and  embarked  on  agriculture  in  his  two  acre  farm  at Kiamuruga  village.

“I  did  not  trouble  myself  by  carrying  the  worries of the world. I accepted that my sight was gone and there was no way to get it back,” Mwalimu  Karari said.

He s aid nobody is completely disabled but one’s attitude determines their knowledge and success. First, he said, he tried  his hands in keeping dairy cattle but realized he was not doing well which made him turn to banana farming.

He  said he wanted to go for a different type of farming which made him settle at plantain bananas mostly grown in Senegal  and Nigeria and the coastal region.

Karari  now sells the banana at Sh. 80 to 100 per kilogramme which fetches a good deal compared to the locally grown  bananas. His market is in Nairobi though he gets a few local traders who come for the bananas at his home.

He  says most of his customers come for the produce at home since he is not able to take them to the market. The over three  hundred banana stems sustain the demand of his customers all the year round.

“Plantain banana is first ripened before either being boiled or fried, which makes it a very delicious meal,” Karari
intimates. He says from the bananas, he makes around Sh. 300,000 every year which has made him a champion farmer nationally.

Last  year, Karari emerged overall winner in the category of the physically challenged in agriculture where he received  a trophy from President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi.

Apart  from banana farming, Karari also engages in fish and rabbit farming which has also been an inspiration to the local  community.

He  has  constructed  four  concrete water tanks where he is rearing cat fish mainly for his family consumption and for  selling  to the locals. He says he intends to be a supplier of cat fish in and out of the county in the near future.

In  keeping  of  rabbits, Karari  says  he  started with  only 30, twenty females and five males which reproduced in a short time and increased from the initial number to 160.

He says an adult female rabbit is able to produce up to eight kittens. One adult rabbit goes for Sh. 2000 but prefers the use of weighing machine with a kilo of the same going for Sh. 300. Since the beginning of this year, he has sold over 300 rabbits with 89 adult rabbits remaining for sale.

He says the challenge of rabbit farming includes shortage of veterinary personnel. “I have to keep on calling for a vet in  Nairobi who I give the symptoms and in return gives the prescription.

Rabbits  are not commonly treated with antibiotics since it is difficult to excrete the end products of the same.

Apart from the mixed farming he has been practicing, he has now embarked on massive planting of Hass avocados which he  says he will depend on during his old age.

Already he has planted well over 240 trees which he expects to start harvesting in three years time.

He has also planted several paw paw trees for sustenance of his three beehives claiming that the trees flowers all the  year round providing the insects with the much needed nectar.

By   Irungu   Mwangi

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