A passion for profit
Stephen Kipchoge never imagined he could send his children to university, let alone his wife. That’s because his life as a charcoal trader was both unprofitable and risky, being an illegal venture.
Knowing he needed a career change, Stephen rented 0.2 hectares of farm land and sought advice from the Kenya Horticultural Development Program (KHDP), funded by USAID. KHDP advised him to try growing passion fruit and by 2005, Stephen’s farm was set. Unfortunately though, the land he rented was not very fertile and the fruit did not grow well.
Stephen therefore went back to KHDP to receive further training. He learnt how to increase soil fertility, identify the best source for seedlings, manage and prevent crop disease as well as manage his farm.
“At first, when I started growing passion fruit, my yields were not too good because I didn’t fully understand how to handle the crop. But after training offered by the project, I’m now a successful passion fruit farmer,” he says happily.
Stephen also received market training which has enabled him to sell his fruits both locally and in Uganda. Through his rise in income, he has been able to educate his children, renovate the family home and send his wife Emily to university where she is currently studying Food Science.
KHDP has reached more than 58,000 farmers since it started in 2003. Thanks to the program, these farmers have increased their production levels by more than 100%.
“Through USAID-KHDP, I have learnt to successfully manage my passion fruit farm,” Stephen says. “My yields are now much higher and I am very happy!”