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Pineapples offer marketer perfect side hustle

Eugene Wanekeya comfortably farms alongside his marketing and communications day job, earning some good income in the process
Rows upon rows of pineapple plants create a beautiful pattern on part of the 12-acre farm in 
Duke, Kilifi County, seemingly stretching yonder.
The farm belongs to Eugene Wanekeya, 32, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Daystar University and is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in International Studies at the University of Nairobi
“I live in Nairobi but farm in Kilifi, having started the project in July, 2018. I have always had passion for farming but I did not have enough land. When I accessed the land in Kilifi, I did not hesitate to start farming pineapples,” he says.
The area is semi-arid, therefore, he needed a crop that would be able to thrive there without many challenges. 
“Pineapple was the natural choice as it requires very little rainfall. It is very resilient and is not easily attacked by pests and diseases. The fruits also have a high demand in the country therefore I was confident that I would find ready market,” says Wanekeya, who used his savings to start the agribusiness.
Of the 12 acres on which he farms, he owns six while his family members the rest. “We are currently growing the pineapples on one acre with plans to increase before the end of the year,” he says.
He sells the fruits to middlemen who directly visit the farm to pick them. “But I recently signed up on Mkulima Young App to sell the fruits online. Online marketing is a good idea as it allows farmers to directly access the market therefore they can get better prices for their produce. Buyers and sellers should sign up to online platforms to ensure there is a balance between demand and supply of agricultural produce,” he says.
While his total investment into the business was Sh80,000, the farmer expects to earn up to Sh450,000 by the time he is done selling the fruits this season.
Wanekeya is employed full-time even as he farms. “Since pineapples don't require a lot of attention, I focus on my 9am to 5pm job on weekdays then go to the farm one or two weekends each month,” he says, noting that he is employed as a communications and marketing specialist and also offers consultancy services.
“For all aspiring farmers, research is very important. Before starting to farm, one must learn as much as possible about the soil type on their farm and what crops can thrive, understand the weather patterns and climate of the area and have an idea of potential markets and most importantly, learn to be patient. Farming is a marathon not a sprint.”
He notes that one must try as much as possible to be on the farm during the land preparation, planting and harvesting. 
“Don't delegate these tasks to workers because you will lose a lot of money,” he says.
Wanekeya adds that, “Farming is a very fulfilling undertaking not only because it gives you income, but also one is contributing to food security. When it comes to pineapples, farmers must work hard to ensure they deliver quality fruits and if possible grown organically grown.”

You want to contact Eugene and book his Pineapples ? Click here

You want to be a Mkulima Young member like Eugene? Register here

Being  a member enables you to sell and/or accessing contacts for buyers seeking products for FREE. Also soon you will get regional market trends and prices projection for various agricultural commodities.

... Mkulima Young Team

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