Kenyans have in the recent past began embracing farming as a career and oh boy! Haven’t they made a fortune out of it…? In this article, we bring you the story of one such Kenyan who is making millions from pineapple farming. Here is the full story of Homabay-based farmer John Olielo.
John Olielo Journey.
The journey of John Olielo began in 1992 when he quit his job in Nairobi and traveled back to his ancestral home in Kaura village, Kochia East location, Homabay County to try his luck in farming. Upon arriving in the village armed with the little savings he had made from his job in Nairobi, Olielo immediately ventured into cassava, peanuts and pineapples farming.
Two years into farming, he made Ksh 8,000 from peanuts and Ksh 200,000 from pineapples and so he decided to focus on pineapple propagation. At the time, many farmers who were involved in pineapple farming were quitting and changing to other plants since the pineapple business was low at the time. However, Olielo decided to take the risk and join the venture when others were leaving thus appearing like a fool to many.
“Since my life had entirely been based in Nairobi, people from this area sold their pineapple suckers to me at a throw away price. Many thought I did not know what I was getting into. Some were overheard saying that they were selling me the4 suckers knowing that I would make huge losses, but did not care as long as I was giving them money,” he explained during a past interview with BiznaKenya.com
The risk was worth it since a few years later in 2002, 0lielo had become a successful pineapple farmer attracting clients from different towns in the Nyanza province. Currently the business has become a boom in the region and getting the suckers is nearly impossible especially for low income earners wishing to join the venture. Today, Olielo grows pineapples in a 10 acres piece of land situated in various parts of Kaura village. He has over 210,000 pineapple plants and each plant can yield four or more fruits in their entire lifetime. He sells the pineapples to businessmen from Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret and Kisii at between Ksh 50 and Ksh 70 each. He does harvesting in intervals according to when the pineapples were planted. A harvesting season for him lasts for three months.
“I plant the crop at various intervals to avoid getting losses by being overwhelmed when they all get ripe at the same time,” he revealed.
Through pineapple farming, he has been able to build himself a permanent house and educate all his children up to university level.