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Bamboo reinvention idea that bore forth a lucrative agri-business project

The youth in Kenya are increasingly embracing agribusiness as a means of earning a livelihood, an employment channel, income generation and food security provision.

Francis Mwamba from Murang’a arid area of Ithanga is one such youth who has managed to employ climate smart Agri investment and earn a livelihood not only for himself but for five other young people working in his 2-acres piece of land.

“I conceptualized the idea of planting bamboos for value addition in 2017 owing to the climate change challenges being experienced globally, but quickly realized that bamboos growing is a long term investment as it takes 3 to 4 years to mature,” says Mwamba.

This prompted the 30-year-old Egerton University School of Agronomic studies graduate to incorporate other fruit seedlings in the farm which have high return on investment within a short duration.

“At the farm the nurseries have over twenty thousand seedlings of pawpaw, Hass avocados, lemon, pixels and a few cypress tree seedlings,” notes Mwamba as he takes KNA on a tour of his farm.

Consequently, he founded his company Agriel Africa which specializes in the commercialization and reinvention of bamboo, sale of high value fruit tree seedlings, soil analysis and agronomic support, agribusiness events training and environmental conservation.

So determined, persuasive and passionate was Mwamba in his venture that his business proposal qualified for the Government’s grant of Sh. 3.6M in the Mbele na Biz business plan proposal in 2020.

The funds, he says, helped him to establish a large nursery, dig up the dam that supplies water to his farm and organize agribusiness events training which his firm carries out with zeal.

“In September this year, we managed to hold one of the biggest agribusiness exhibition in Meru that brought together over 45 exhibitors from 16 sectors and we managed to train over 4000 farmers on unlocking the available sustainable agribusiness opportunities,” he says.

Mwamba encourages farmers to consider planting bamboo which is drought resistant and is an excellent option for construction as it is resistant to termite invasion. Bamboo, he says, is a long term investment, can also act as a windbreaker in farms and can be used to stake in tomato farming.

His future plans include opening a bamboo workshop where he will be doing value addition to bamboo which apart from furniture can be used to make soap.

He advises the youth to be confident, to step out, start small and not to be afraid of soiling their hands.

 By Florence Kinyua and Purity Mugo

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