Home BUSINESS NEWS Passion for sowing seeds taking her to high places

Passion for sowing seeds taking her to high places

by biasharadigest


The General Service Unit (GSU) exit off the Thika superhighway in Nairobi leads one to the magnificent, star-shape-roofed St Martins Catholic Church in Kimbo, Ruiru.
Next to the church entrance is a signpost that directs one to Kimplanter Seedlings and Nurseries Limited, which is run by Carolyne Mukuhi, 30.

Carolyne, the 2019 winner of the Best Youth in Agriculture category in the Farmers Award Scheme run by the Ministry of Agriculture and agro-inputs firm Elgon Kenya, grows vegetables, herbs and fruit seedlings. 

The scheme, now in its 8th edition  is aimed at celebrating outstanding farmers and the role they play in food production and agribusiness development.

The Seeds of Gold team finds her employees packing tens of trays of seedlings into a minivan, ready for transportation.

“I am transferring them to my other farm in Makuyu, Murang’a, so that I can free the three greenhouses for repair,” offers the former human resources officer turned farmer.

The farm is surrounded by a perimeter wall, which is the same height as the greenhouses.


Carolyne explains this inhibited air circulation in the structures thus she has to raise the height of the greenhouses to manage heat levels inside.

Tomato seedlings account for 60 per cent of her agribusiness. However, she also propagates collard greens, spinach, cabbage, sweet potatoes, beetroots, eggplants, capsicum, lettuce, peppers, broccoli and cauliflower seedlings.

For herbs, she grows thyme, lemongrass, basil, sage, mint and rosemary seedlings.

“All the seedlings are propagated in trays, each containing either 60 or 209 slots. For those who pre-order, we tag their client’s names on the trays to avoid confusion,” says the farmer who holds a Diploma in Human Resource Development from Thika Technical Institute (TTI) and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA-K).


Inside the trays, the seeds are grown in cocopeat for better growth and to avoid diseases. Cocopeat is made from coconut husks, and it must be sterilised.

“Once a client orders certain seedlings, we clean the trays, sterilise the cocopeat to remove salinity and impurities, place it in the trays and plant certified seeds. The trays are then placed on raised platform to prevent contamination.”

Four weeks of daily watering, adding nutrients and ensuring adequate warmth, guarantees good growth for most of the seedlings, especially for short cycle crops like vegetables and tomatoes.

Before transplanting, the seedlings must be taken through a hardening process that involves reducing watering schedule by a day and partly exposing them to the sun.

“Pawpaws take the longest time to be ready for transplanting, at least 70 days.” Carolyne says the farming bug hit her after visiting a friend’s farm. 

seedlings img2

Caroline Mukuhi who runs the Kimplanter Seedlings and Nurseries Limited enterprise in Ruiru is awarded by President Uhuru Kenyatta at a previous Nairobi International Trade Fair after winning in the Youth in Agriculture category of the National Farmers Award Scheme. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“I could not understand why the mechanical engineer would prefer farming instead of his career. He used to grow passion fruit seedlings, which I brought and grew them on a neighbour’s land and sold the fruits to Kevian Kenya,” she recalls.

The juice maker demanded about a tonne of fruits weekly but I could only manage 250kg.

“Unable to meet the demand, the contract ended and I started selling the fruits to walk-in clients and making juice for sale to my colleagues at work. Every time my clients would ask for passion fruit seedlings, I would refer them to my friend. At some point I thought: why not grow them myself?” recounts Carolyne, who invested Sh70,000 in the business.

The cash went into establishing a makeshift greenhouse, sourcing for trays and making wooden platforms.


“I mixed passion fruit and vegetable seedlings and made some Sh22,000 in sales during the first four weeks. This was less than my salary at the time but it gave me so much satisfaction.”

But as fate would have it, the neighbour who had travelled to the US asked to use his land.

“He gave me three weeks to vacate his property or we share the profits half. I decided to vacate. My parents offered me a portion of their land in Kimbo on which I established my company.”

Carolyne is grateful to her neighbour, noting his action pushed her resolve to work harder and succeed, leading her getting the youth award that she was handed to by President Uhuru Kenyatta in October 2019 at the ASK show in Nairobi.

“The President shook my hand and told me that I was doing well. Were it not for the intimidating power around him, I would have told him of my wishes to expand my farm through mechanisation and my struggles with sourcing irrigation water for my half-acre farm in Makuyu,” says Carolyne, who produces 1.2 million seedlings per month.  

She employs 15 workers, a good number of who are trained agronomists. She has not sent them home due to the effects of the Covid-19 because the pandemic has brought her mixed fortunes.

Her kitchen garden pack comes in two varieties; one is an assortment of vegetables that retails at Sh500 while the other is an assortment of veggies and herbs at Sh1,000.

Carolyne hopes to expand her business by opening branches in Kajiado, Mwea, Meru and Ngoliba and other parts of the country where her clients are located.

Donatus Njoroge, a biochemist, says the use of cocopeats in seedlings farming is ideal in helping farmers save on production costs if one looks at the money spent in treating the soil to protect the seedling from harmful micro-organisms.

“With cocopeat, the farmer controls what the plant feeds by adding in specific nutrients. Additionally, their mulch-like state helps in water retention,” he explains.

He encourages farmers to plant vegetables and herbs seedlings in greenhouses to enable them grow in uniform conditions. 

Get it fast 

Taking care of your seedlings

  1. Seedlings need a lot of light to grow into sturdy, healthy plants. 
  2. Water your plants when the surface of the soil is dry to the touch. 
  3. Damping off is a fungal disease that causes the tiny plants to wither and die.
  4. Too much water can cause tiny roots to rot while too little will see your new babies shrinking and even dying.

Related Posts

Slot Gacor

Slot Gacor Terbaru


Slot Gacor

Slot Gacor Terbaru