Article copied from Saturday Nation, The Seeds of Gold pull,
Saturday November 26 2016
David Weru (29) and George Kiambuthi (28) are not only close friends, but also agribusiness partners.
Ordinarily, you will meet them together, but then if you meet Weru alone, Kiambuthi is usually not far away.
The 2013 graduates of Egerton University have cultivated their friendship ever since they studied water engineering at the college.
After graduation, they got jobs in the same firm dealing in drip irrigation installation in Nairobi.
Less than a year into the job, in July 2014, they both quit and started Dripsol, a firm that deals in irrigation systems. It is based in Limuru.
“We had a little savings from our job and approached a customer who needed our services. He offered us a deposit of 75 per cent which we used to do the work. So far we have installed 86 drip kits in different farms countrywide,” says Weru.
They target smallholder farms as small as a 50 by 50ft plot.
“Our decision to work with farmers owning the tiniest pieces of land stems from the fact that an increase in human population means a decrease in farming land,” says Weru. With proper management, small farms offer hefty returns.
They have four regular employees and occasionally hire casual labourers.
“We take on average two days to install drip kits on an acre. We normally import the kits and install the system after receiving 75 per cent down payment out of the Sh120,000 we charge for an acre. But if the land is smaller, the price drops to even Sh50,000,” Kiambuthi says, adding the remainder is paid on completion of the work.
The two participated in this year’s Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship and emerged finalists in the top 1,000 young agri-entrepreneurs in a pool populated with thousands of contestants across the continent.
“One has to have a start-up agribusiness capable of growing by creating employment,” they say of the requirements of the entrepreneurship.
The duo, however, have to contend with challenges ranging from getting the right equipment, funding, skilled workers and gaining customers’ confidence and trust.
“First you must identify your scope and field of passion and check its viability in your location, then forge ahead without giving up or listening to the negative voices,” Kiambuthi advises young people wishing to join agribusiness.