It’s a 30-minutes walk from the main road to Kapsita Farm in Elburgon, Nakuru County. The dark clouds in the sky and the chill signify a potential downpour.
Despite the bad road, the Seeds Of Gold team finally arrives by boda boda at Mr John Njuguna Kanyotu’s Farm. Clad in a yellow and navy blue raincoat and a pair of gumboots, Mr Kanyotu is busy tending to his cabbages.
The farmer says he bought 7,000 seedlings from Longonot Farm Propagation in Naivasha five months ago at Sh10,500.
“The plants did well in the first one-and-a-half months before they were attacked by the diamond black moth. The pest destroys the stem,” Mr Kanyotu said.
He sprayed the cabbages with Merit 150 SC pesticide. Before the cabbages matured, he applied Green Sea fertiliser to the one-acre plot three times.
An agricultural extension officer in Molo urged farmers to report any crop diseases to the relevant authorities as soon as they notice signs.
And in spite of the expected bumper harvest, Mr Kanyotu is not a happy man. He says he will likely incur huge losses since he cannot sell his produce, blaming the situation on bad roads.
“My cabbages were ready for harvest months ago but I cannot harvest them because of the ongoing heavy rains,” the farmer said.
“I watch helplessly as they rot on the farm.” Noticeably, the cabbages’ core are also turning purple as a result of excess water.
He expected to make Sh80,000 when the cabbages were ready for harvesting three months ago, since every head was going for Sh12.
“Vehicles cannot access my farm due to muddy roads. The cabbages are rotting and there is nothing I can do about it,’’ he said.
Mr Kanyotu added that he has not made any profit for the past three years and expected things to change this season because his cabbages did well.
“Locals now sell their produce to middlemen. We’d rather sell our cabbages at throwaway prices than let them get spoilt,” he added.
Mr Kanyotu said he sells a cabbage at Sh6 instead of Sh12. Recently, a team from Egerton University visited Mr Kanyotu’s farm and others nearby to collect soil samples.
“I had planted potatoes on a portion of my land but they did not do well. I then resorted to planting cabbages,” he said.
Former Molo MP John Njenga, says farmers are hardworking but are being let down by local leaders.
Mr Mungai, himself a farmer, said the leaders have failed to ensure that roads and other infrastructure are repaired.