Youth Supported in Good Seed Multiplication Business

In 2010, Joel Nyakundi quit his job as a nursery assistant, to establish his own. He had been working in the first hardening nursery for tissue culture banana that had been established in his locality in Kitutu Chache South Sub-County of Kisii County in western Kenya. Launching into the deep was a big bold step for a 22-year-old single man. With Ksh 50,000 loan money as his seed capital and the experience that he had previously gained, Nyakundi started his own seedling production business: Pamoja Fruit Tree Technique Nursery.

He sourced 15,500 pieces of tissue culture bananas and grafted avocado seedlings on a leased piece of land. At the beginning, Nyakundi was the sole employee and only recruited one or two casual workers during the busy seasons. Now he has five employees, four of whom are youth.

Over the past six years, the business has been growing. Nyakundi has received both business and infrastructure support from agricultural industry actors such as Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA), Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) and Africa Harvest. Africa Harvest in particular supported the expansion of his nursery during the USAID-funded Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project (KHCP) implemented from 2011 to 2014.

During the project, Nyakundi received infrastructure support in the form of a shade net, wheelbarrow, water tank, hose pipe, PVC ground liner and 421 tissue culture banana seedlings of diverse varieties. The role of Africa Harvest was to link local farmers interested in banana production to Pamoja Nursery for seedlings, and to provide business management training and mentorship. The one-on-one training, which focused on the legal, ownership, governance and management aspects, enabled Nyakundi to refine the nursery’s operational, marketing, strategic and sustainability plans.

Participating in the project has enabled Nyakundi to expand the nursery’s product diversity to include the multiplication of orange, mango, pawpaw and avocado seedlings. He is now producing approximately 60,000 seedlings of the different trees per year, 18,000 of which are tissue culture bananas.

He sources tissue culture banana seedlings from two laboratories, Sian Roses in Nakuru and Genetics Technologies International Ltd in Nairobi. These labs package semi-hardened tissue culture banana seedlings in cartons and have them delivered to his nursery using public means, reaching him at an affordable cost.

Most of Nyakundi’s customers are from the local area but he also gets orders from neighbouring Counties such as Homa Bay, Migori, Nyamira and Bomet. Having set up the necessary structures and systems, Nyakundi not only supplies individual farmers but also county governments and non-profit organisations.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.