What started as a passion for Charles Mwangi has over the years become a source of livelihood for scores of families in Murang’a.
Located on the Nairobi –Murang’a road, at Kaharati market is Mwangi’s Green world flower vases and nurseries, a beautiful farm stocked with more than 50 species of flowers and complimentary vases.
Speaking to KNA at his farm, Mwangi divulged that his passion for flowers, and beautiful landscaping drove him to start the flower farm more than 10 years ago. “I set up my flower farm on Thika road way before the construction of the super highway began. Unfortunately we were displaced to give way for the construction.” he notes.
He later opted to relocate and set up the farm in his half acre land at Kaharati, Murang’a County. He says starting up was not easy as nurturing a flower or even a tree from the seedbed to maturity for returns takes time.
“I did not immediately make money. A huge capital for setting up was required and the returns were coming slowly but with patience and perseverance, I can attest that my business is now thriving,” he added.
He reveals prior to him and his wife Rahab Njeri venturing fully into flowers growing, he had tried his hand in other businesses including selling fruits in Nairobi.
Green world flowers got popular with motorists, the main customers and slowly the demand for vases was imminent.
“Two years ago I started making flower vases and pots whose demand remains high always,” says Mwangi, noting that a section of his farm has a pottery with a kiln where the pots and vases are made from scratch to the end after which they are beautified.
The vases range from Sh. 100 to Sh. 5,000 while flower prices depend on whether it was grown from a cutting or a seedling. “Normally growing from a seedling takes time to maturity whereas a cutting doesn’t require so much. That’s why our prices range from Sh. 50 to Sh. 200,” he explained.
Majority of his customers are motorists plying Nairobi –Murang’a highway, hotels in need of landscaping and also retailers who buy in wholesale.
Mwangi sources his flowers from as far as Mombasa. He expounds that his artistic and aesthetic eye is always at work when he is travelling and if a flower or a piece of work interests him, he will request for a piece and implement the same on his farm.
The father of three has managed to sustain his family from the flower business even though he intimates that the Covid -19 pandemic ripple effect on the global economy has greatly affected his business as he was forced to lay off some of his workers.
“Currently we have 10 employees in the flower farm and five in the pottery area,” he noted.
On a good month Mwangi and his wife who is in charge of the workers can take home more than Sh. 20,000 in profit after deducting all expenses. His casuals are paid Sh. 500 per day while the pottery workers are paid Sh. 1,000 per day.
Some of the flower species grown in Mwangi’s farm are Cyprus, roses, protons, lilies, palms, and bengonia among others.
Mwangi advises the youth to follow their passion and not to be selective when it comes to jobs.
“The thing that you love doing, as long as it’s lawful, can be a source of livelihood for you and your family. Just don’t be afraid of putting in long hours and soiling your hands if need be,” concludes Mwangi.
By Florence Kinyua and Anita Omwenga