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Bungoma Priest earns a living through mixed farming

Father Leonard Juma of Mt. Carmel Convent Musikoma is not just a Catholic priest but also a dedicated farmer. He has managed to utilize the parish land at the prayer house where he serves for profitable agricultural use.

Father Leonard Juma harvesting beans. Photo by Lydia Wanaswa

Ordained on November 1st 1995, Father Juma first served at Chebukaka parish as an assistant priest before being transferred to Amukura, Butula then to Kabula parish where he established the new parish. In 2002, he was nominated to go to Rome to study Masters in Theology.

Besides his priestly duties, Father Juma has a passion for farming and also rears indigenous chicken.

He decided to put to use the small piece of land at the church that was lying idle. He plants a variety of crops including maize, beans, groundnuts and a variety of vegetables which he sells and uses the money to run other church projects.

Father Juma says growing and selling of vegetables is rewarding since he always has a big supply of delicious fresh produce every season.

With cash from the two ventures, he has managed to buy a cow and sheep for production of milk, wool, meat and manure. Father Juma adds that manure saves him money.

“Organic manure makes the soil fertile and often saves me the cost of buying fertilizer,’’ he said.

The droppings of sheep and goats contain higher nutrients than farmyard manure and compost.

He said his only challenge is lack of water. He relies on rain water and calls on well-wishers to help the parish drill its own water that will also serve the entire community.

In the future, Father Juma has plans to make the place a prayer sanctuary where people can convene for spiritual nourishment.

By Lydia Wanaswa

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