Solomon gets acces to finance and know-how
The macadamia nuts are stable source of income for the farmers. Partly in response to recommendations from ENP’s advisors they don’t only grow macadamias but also bananas and coffee berries. Solomon Muthaka (63) explains what the advantages of mixed farming are.
Of his 3.5 hectares of land he uses some two hectares for macadamia crops. Rotating the crops prevents the soil from becoming exhausted. What’s more, he’s able to provide work throughout the year for the twenty men and women who till the soil for him and harvest the crops. If he were to have to lay them off after harvest, it’s far from certain that they’d return the following season. Coffee prices are currently not too favourable, but macadamias are fetching a good price. He uses smoke to combat pests, because he has learned that pesticides can be harmful. To feed his macadamias he uses the composted shells of macadamias and some of the manure from his cows. The remaining manure he uses as fuel for his biogas installation, which means he no longer has to buy gas to cook. Solomon has been supplying his nuts to ENP since 1995, because they have helped him with the technical know-how to boost his crop yields and because they allow him to take out a loan in advance of his harvest. His ambitions for the future: ‘to live a happy life’.