They called me useless for being a farmer

They called me useless for being a farmer

Mkulima today this is a story of not giving up on your desires and listening to your own will. The lady in the story always wanted to be a doctor but as a result of the education grading system. She fell short after scoring B+ in her KCSE exams. As fate would have she drifted to agriculture and it was not easy as they called me useless for being a farmer.

From humble beginnings in french beans, baby corn, and watermelon farming to being one of the leading minds in agriculture.

beginning

Currently, she sits at the top floors of Kilimo house with her office on the seventh floor.

When you visit the office or watch her in public you will notice a bunch of handlers including bodyguards and personal assistants.

At the age of 35 and just about to exit the youth bracket CAS Annie Nyaga is carrying improving agriculture.

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She was appointed to the ministry early this year.

She admits this was never her plan. If hse had it her way she could be a doctor fighting against the COVID 19 pandemic. 

Someone who never says never. The CAS says after missing medical school grade she had her plans laid out.

The plans were  A, B, and C. If any of the plans failed plan D was never ruled out. That was the plan always to find a solution even when they called me useless for being a farmer. Farming has challenges that never give up.

Plan A was medical school, plan B biomedical research which she studied at Egerton University graduating with a BSc degree in 2007.

After graduation just like any young person job, hunting was at the top of the list.  Later she joined the Kenya Bureau of Standards as an intern.

After KEBS she joined a private firm and before long enough it was time for plan C. And the plan was farming the land.

Having faced the challenges of job-seeking as a fresh graduate she went into farming.

The motivation was that there was instant money. Her school of thought was that she could make money selling food. Sometimes all you need is just to get going.

Farming

Though she was brought up in Mbeere, Embu county farming was a strange subject to her then.

The mother at some point quit her job to venture into farming and started growing french beans for the international market.

Watching her mother earn from agriculture became one of her motivations to move on. While in school she was a member of the famous agriculture clubs the 4 K club. Where they learned how to grow food.

When she switched from biomedical to farming, her parents supported her by providing her with land and support but others didn’t see it in a positive way.

CAS started with french beans since that is how she saw her mother make money.

Later on, she started growing baby corn and french beans both for export. But all was not ok as a result of the market volatility. With all the challenges they called me useless for being a farmer while farming is the largest employer in Kenya.

Challenges

After a few trials, she moved to watermelon farming as a result of the \availabilty of a reliable local market.

In her efforts on her farm, her hard work was noticed.

One of the people who did was the then PS ministry for agriculture Dr. Romano Kome in the year 2008 who appointed her to help in understanding challenges faced by youth in agriculture.

Why they called me useless for being a farmer.

She has faced criticisms from friends and family for ditching her degree for the jembe and gumboots.

People even told her she was throwing away her degree and university education. Remember farming has been viewed for the longest time as an activity for the uneducated and the poor.

The negativity didn’t end with others saying she was being a liability to the parents and useless as she was not being of value.

Out of her wisdom, she stood her ground as a farmer because the critics were not offering any better options. Years on she has served as the CEC ministry of agriculture Embu county and now the CAS ministry of agriculture national government.

To help the young in the society she revived the 4K club targeting primary school children and registered the 4H Foundation.

Success

Through the 4h foundation, she has been able to reach children in eight counties reviving 4k club and teaching in the kitchen gardens.

After the 2017 general elections, Governor Martin Wambora fo Embu noticed her efforts with the children and called her to join his cabinet as the CEC in charge of agriculture.

Less than three years later she was again called upon by the president to join the national government as the Chief administrative secretary ministry of agriculture.

CAS Nyaga has been helping the agriculture sector in Kenya for the past ten years. Just like the CAS if one plan doesn’t work find another. This is also one of the virtues of farming for no harvest is guaranteed.

In her free time, she says she likes to visit her farm as walking through the fields and watching the animals and listening to their noises is therapeutic.

Credits Gardy Chacha

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