Farming in Kenya: what’s it really like?

Farming in Kenya: what’s it really like?

What’s farming in Kenya really like? Transmara works hand in hand with Kenyan sugarcane farmers, helping them improve their farming practices, increase their incomes and help transform their communities for the better. We talk to farmer David Taiswa to find out more…

“Life was difficult in the past.”

Rearing cattle and growing maize, David Taiswa was struggling to make ends meet. “I even struggled to pay school fees for my children,” David said, explaining that there was no market for maize.

It wasn’t until he found out about Transmara Sugar that David was able to turn things around. He decided to start growing sugarcane, assured by Transmara that he’d be able to earn a good income from the crop.

Transmara works directly with local farmers like David to produce Mara Sugar, providing training, equipment and advice to help ensure successful crops. With a ‘lot of support’ from Transmara, David’s fortunes began to change.

“They taught us how to plant, how to weed and when to apply fertilizer,” David said. “Because of this training, my yield has doubled. Transmara Sugar also assists us with harvesting. They bring their cutters to harvest the cane. They also bring tractors and transport the cane to the factory.”

And the help that Transmara Sugar provides doesn’t stop there. They pay David’s children’s school fees in advance to ensure that the next generation can flourish, as well as constructing roads that benefit the whole community.

David is one of more than 17,000 farmers that Transmara Sugar collaborates with in the Western Kenyan region. For these farmers, the partnership secures a more stable income which allows them a better quality of life for their families. Some farmers have been able to invest in housing, vehicles and other entrepreneurial endeavours.

Transmara farmers also have access to localised support from extension officers and regional offices. And the model is clearly working for both farmers like David and for Transmara. Since Transmara first started making Mara Sugar began in 2012, they’ve gone from producing 17,000 tonnes of sugar to over 90,000 tonnes in 2021.

“My life has changed greatly thanks to the sugarcane,” David concluded. “If the company continues like this, I’m sure that the living standard of our community will improve a lot.”