My name is Simon Chege: I am a married father of one. My Baba Mboga business is located in Kiganjo market and Múti-múmú in Kiganjo sub-location, Kiambu County.

I have not always been in the Baba Mboga sector. I was living and working in Dubai before I started this business. I worked at the Marriott Hotels as the executive lounge supervisor. I returned to Kenya in late 2019.

Switching from the hospitality sector to Mboga was not very hard for me because of the way I executed my jump. I did not start a market stall directly after leaving Dubai. Instead, I started with a farm project. I am passionate about farming.

When I started considering which farming venture to start, I noticed that there was a big demand for fresh vegetables in my area which a handful of Mama Mbogas could not satisfy. Nearly all Mama Mbogas bought their vegetables from the markets. I saw an opportunity to be both a wholesaler and retailer of fresh vegetables.

With Sh. 10,000 capital, I started my vegetable farm in June 2020. Vegetables do not take long to mature, and within two to three months, I opened my stalls and started selling fresh farm produce.

Although I occasionally sourced some vegetables from the market as vegetables in my farm matured, I knew that I was on the right path. The farm would allow me to avoid middlemen and market brokers. I started my stalls with a stock of sukuma wiki and spinach.

With my farm now on full production capacity, I sell four types of vegetables; spinach, kales, coriander and spring onions. I sell at both retail and wholesale prices. I sell a kilogram of spinach at Sh. 30, kales at Sh. 20, spring onions at Sh. 100 per bunch, and coriander at Sh. 20 for three bunches. On retail, I sell a bunch of spinach and kales at Sh. 20, and coriander and spring onions at Sh. 10 a bunch.

Farming my own vegetables has not been without challenges. The major ones have included pests and diseases. Spinach and kales are prone to pests and fungal diseases. Lack of a steady supply of water for the farm has been another challenge.

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Despite these challenges, I have a bright outlook for the business. My five-year plan is to do commercial mixed farming. I want to expand and grow my farm and business to a stable commercial mixed farming that will entail mixed vegetable farming, poultry keeping, pig rearing and bee-keeping.

One of the things I take pride in is having an opportunity to provide fresh produce to my community. This keeps me going regardless of what others might say about the type of business I do.

Kazi ni kazi: Simon Chege’s ‘Baba Mboga’ business in Kiambu first appeared on Bizna Kenya