At 23 years of age, he pays his fees at Zetech University for a Diploma in Journalism. He raises his fees from planting kales, spinach and rearing broiler chicken. Tobias Meso is financially independent at an age when most youth are dependants.
Meso says that it is unthinkable of him to ask his parents for money yet, they have been generous enough to lend him an even better gift, land. It is also unimaginable for his family to buy greens from the market too. They always enjoy a treat of fresh organic vegetables from Meso’s small farm. He has utilised all the space in his father’s half acre compound to accommodate his passion for farming.
He has 30 rows of Spinach and 60 of Kale. The small compound also hosts a chicken cage that has a maximum capacity of 1200 chicken. He balances landscaping and farming to give their home a neat touch. Mowed grass and trimmed hedges make the kales and spinach seem like a landscaping plan.
Based in Ruiru, a semi-urban town, Meso currently has 500 chicken which he sells at the City Market in Nairobi. Each chicken fetches Ksh 250 on a bad season and about Ksh 450 on a good market day. With the festive season around the corner, Meso’s early December sale of his current stock could fetch him a clean Ksh 225,000. Making him a sweet profit of Ksh 75,000 in just six weeks.
Apprenticeship from his father
Meso has been passionate about farming since he had a chance to look after his father’s chicken in high school. His father would often get busy with work and he needed someone to look after his chicken. Meso was old enough to learn the craft.
Hence, his father trained him how to feed the birds, how to check for diseases and how to keep their shelter clean.
After completing his secondary education in 2009, Meso took up kale and spinach farming just to keep himself busy when he was not feeding his father’s chicken. "I had a lot of free time to myself once I fed the chicken in the morning and cleaned their house. I turned to farming mboga (vegetables) just to fill my free time. It also reduced the wastage of manure from the chicken. I only use manure on my mboga," he says.
Meso's organic vegetables quickly gained popularity in his home area. His neighbours started buying them from him. Soon a nearby college requested him to supply them with kales and spinach. He has never lacked a market for his vegetables ever since. He makes Ksh 4,000 every month from his vegetables.
In 2011, Meso's father could no longer sustain the chicken business and he abandoned it. Meso revived the business in May 2013 after saving all the proceeds from his vegetables. It took him two years to raise Ksh 60,000. His brother lent him another Ksh 30,000 to get him sufficient capital to start off with 300 chicks.
Though he made a profit of only Ksh 4,000 from his first sale, Meso was undeterred. He was determined to thrive in poultry farming. He has grown to make profits of Ksh 60,000 every season since then.
Read about “ 4 Things you should know about broiler chicken farming” at http://www.mkulimayoung.co.ke/article/resource_article/334-basic-of-broiler-chicken-farming
Read more about Things you should know about Cabbages, Sukuma wiki Spinach farming at http://www.mkulimayoung.co.ke/article/resource_article/355-what-you-should-know-about-cabbage-sukuma-wiki-and-spinach-farming