Sorghum Value Addition Boost Farmer’s Income

Wilkister had been battling illness for some time, struggling to cover her medical expenses. Life became exceedingly challenging for both her and her partner as they were both unemployed. Despite the difficulties, cooking and baking remained Wilkister’s passion, and she would often cater at funerals. However, she would only earn 1000 shillings for three days of cooking. “With the one thousand, I had to decide whether to pay for medical bills, rent, or my children’s school fees. It felt insufficient,” she explained. These cooking opportunities arose about twice a month, resulting in a monthly income of around 2000 shillings.

Africa Harvest, through the DTCs 4 Youth Jobs Creation project, provided training to Wilkister on sorghum value addition. Given her pre-existing passion for baking, she embraced the training and excelled in it. “I used to bake homemade cakes for my family, but they never turned out quite right. After undergoing multiple training sessions with Africa Harvest, I significantly improved my baking skills and learned how to perfect it,” Wilkister shared.

Wilkister and her husband had been cultivating sorghum on their half-acre land, but they struggled due to a lack of motivation and proper farming skills, resulting in low yields. Before Africa Harvest’s intervention, their half-acre yielded only three bags. However, after receiving training, the farm’s yield doubled to six bags. This increase in production provided Wilkister with enough supply of raw materials for her baking business.

Wilikister typically sells around three 90-kilogram bags of her sorghum to off-takers, including Usomni, at a rate of KSh 80 per kilogram, earning her KSh 21,600. She reserves two bags of sorghum for baking and sets aside one bag for food security. Wilkister has greatly benefited from the income she has earned through the farming of sorghum. She has established her financial independence and gained respect within her community.

She now enjoys a consistent stream of customers, averaging around four clients per week. “Currently, I can earn approximately 5000 to 8000 shillings per month from the value addition income stream. I also earn from cultivating sorghum. This marks a significant improvement compared to my previous earnings from funeral catering,” Wilkister remarked. She bakes various flavors serving different customer needs including sorghum vanilla cake, sorghum lemon cake, and sorghum cholesterol-free cake. She incorporates the sorghum flour with wheat flour in a ratio of 3:1 respectively.

This season, she is cultivating both sorghum and millet. She currently rents land for sorghum cultivation and plants millet on her land. She takes advantage of the government’s free fertilizers and top dressers, which support her farming activities.

Wilkister’s life has improved significantly. She proudly mentioned that her children now attend better schools, and she has been able to cover her medical expenses. She also holds onto hope that her dream of building a home for the elderly will come true one day.

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