As much as climate change is a global concern today that is bringing so much uncertainty for humankind, a section of wise Kenyan herders has decided to go with the tide by venturing into hot chili farming. Kajiado County, Kenya, an arid area mostly occupied by the pastoralist community, the Maasai have had a tough experience of hard drought and floods which has terribly affected their major economic activity – cattle rearing. Here, we meet a 29-year-old farmer and agronomist, experimenting with a hot new crop: chili pepper.
Arnold Ole Kapurua now grows the fiery pods on his two-acre piece of land to maintain a sustainable income despite the harsh unpredictable weather conditions. In his words, he says, “With time we realized that we weren’t making good money as our livestock income was stagnated. During drought, we lost our herds to hunger and diseases while during the over 100 herders in a short period of time. Hot chili pepper is the new ‘gold’ of Kajiado County!
Here’s the Maths; “Two tons of peppers a week, from a well-managed one-acre chili farm, harvesting well for over six months! That harvest can bring as much as 80,000 Kenya Shillings ($800) a season,” Ole Kapurua said. That is incomparable to cattle rearing since one can’t sell one head of cattle weekly otherwise, we’ll run out of stock.
Solomon Simingor speaking from experience says that a farmer with at least two acres of land can earn up to three times more in chili as opposed to cattle herding.
What techniques are they using? Simple!
- Build small water catchment dams during the rainy season as a reserve for irrigation during the dry season.
- Mulching using plastic or grass to retain water and control weeds.
- Continually loving what they do. Like I say, ‘Everything grows with love!’
Britain, Germany, Norway, and France are the biggest markets for Kenya’s hot chili peppers besides the local consumers. I have noticed that the vitamin-rich spice is slowly but surely finding its way into Kenyan kitchens: thanks to these herders turned farmers!
This is a grand business idea for those living in the arid lands across the globe. Hot chili farming is a lucrative sustainable business. Rise above the odds, Face climate change with positivity and venture out! When life gives you bones, Crush them! #Rewordit.