A Kenyan man living in the United States has opened up on how he has managed to reap big profits from his onion farm in Kenya.
Reverend Joseph Oloimooja, who resides in Los Angeles, California with his family, says he manages to run his farm located in Maili Tisa area, Kajiado County through phone.
The career pastor says he moved to the US about 20 years ago to study a master’s degree in theology and is currently the head of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in the Leimert Park, Los Angeles Diocese.
Oloimooja says he started his agri-business at the beginning of the year, initially planting the crop on a one-acre farm. His first harvest in April gave him 18,000 kilograms of bulb onion and sold each kilo at Sh75, translating to Sh1.35 million.
“I started with an acre to test the waters, luckily, there was huge demand for the commodity in the markets at the time enabling me to sell at Sh75 a kilo," says the pastor who also grows managu and spinach which he sells at Namanga market.
He says the decision to venture into onion farming was informed by the desire to create jobs and make use of his vast land that was lying idle.
“I once came home and saw that we were importing plenty of onions from Tanzanian farmers yet we have plenty of land and the same climatic conditions. This challenged me,” says the pastor.
Oloimooja says the first harvest pushed him to increase his onion farm to five acres and is now expecting to harvest at least 90,000 kilos in a few weeks time.
“I begin prompting potential buyers on social media informing them that my produce will be ready in about 120 days,” explains the farmer.
How is does he manage to run his business from abroad?
“Initially, I had employed my relatives but having fallen victim to rip-offs, I changed tack. I have now employed people who are not related to me after through vetting,” Oloimooja who advises Kenyans in the diaspora against engaging relatives in their ventures back home says.
“Most of them will try to take advantage of you, diverting money you send them for your projects to pursue their own developments. Later when you realize, you can’t fight them back because they are family.”
He reveals that social media messaging app WhatsApp has been key in helping him keep in touch with his employees at the farm.
“I also have the overall farm manager and operations manager to coordinate the workers. I also take good care of my workers so that they feel appreciated," adds the clergyman who now plans to turn his 200-acre land into an onion farm.