Bernard Muhia.
From performing for the Honourable Martha Karua to being shortlisted for a StoryMoja Hay Poetry award, to my poems being featured on CNN International, to now being a farmer. This blog is about my transition from being a poet to a farmer.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Market Day

I read somewhere that sustainable farming is about building relationships, living with purpose and making enough profits to lead a desirable way of life. This couldn't be any closer to the truth. Last saturday I took my melons to a farmers' market at a restaurant in Karen. The day was amazing as I got to meet a different clientele plus I was giving an irresistible offer of two big melons plus a bonus baby melon or three medium melons plus a bonus baby melon. I got to sell about half of the sacks I went with and I would have sold everything but the regular farmers were saying that it was a slow day that market day.

My birthday also came in the middle of this week and to fulfill my philanthropic duties, I gave a sack of melons to the students at Ngong Township Primary school for them to enjoy. It almost brought tears to my eyes.

I'll be going back to the farm tomorrow to plan for my next crop which is coriander commonly known as dania. I like farming and the prestige it has among young people who I think live vicariously through me. I am glad to be that vessel. Till we meet again, stay hungry, and I will feed ya :)   

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sweet Baby Melons

I've started harvesting my melons! I plucked one last week and ate it on monday but you could taste it was taken from the mother plant a few days too early. I then plucked several yesterday and these were just right. The biggest ones weighed 3kgs! I tasted one of those 3kg-ers, and boy were they sweet and full of sugar. I hear that if melons are watered too much they become watery but not sweet, but if they are watered sparingly, they develop a sweetness that is excrutiating! I guess I have my water problems to thank for my sweet melons.

The neighbour who gives me water from his borehole has been acting up, even denying me water for a whole week, not to mention a time when the water pump had broken down for two weeks. In the end though, the result is some sweet fruits. However, this has also led to some plant losses as some were not as strong without the water on those occassions it was missing. Things on the water front have stabilized a bit and I'm looking forward to an uninterrupted supply. Though now I know better than to over-water them.

If you see me around, ask me for a melon especially now that the sun is hotter than July itself. Have a thirsty week :)

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June: My busiest month in print

June 2013 is shaping up to be my busiest month in print with my creative works being featured on three different publications. The first and biggest is the Msafiri article. Msafiri Magazine is the Kenya Airways In-flight magazine that passengers enjoy during their stay onboard and they can take it with them. The article on urban farming is aptly titled 'Urban Roots' and is on page 92-97 with full-page photos on each opposite page for the three page story. You can read it online here

My second creative output on print is a poem titled 'Kaa Chonjo' which is Swahili for stay alert. The poem is now in a book and forms part of a poetry anthology by Kenyan Poets titled 'The Power of Words.' The poem speaks about the scourge of human and child trafficking. I have been using the poem for my counter-trafficking campaigns in schools. Here is coverage of the book's launch

The third but not least are two articles which are part of my regular contribution to Hortfresh Journal, a horticultural magazine. One of the articles is an editorial where I talk about the watermelon craze and the second is a feature coverage I did on Kenya's biggest solar installation which is at Uhuru Flowers in Nanyuki. You can find them here

I'm looking forward to more of my work on print for posterity, that's my legacy afterall!         

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Prezzo Interview on urban farming for Msafiri

Prezzo, I am a journalist with Hortfresh Journal, a Horticultural magazine and I am writing an article on urban farming for Msafiri- the Kenya Airways In-flight magazine. I would like to ask you a few questions about the topic if you so agree. My first question is, what do you think can be done to bring more urban youth into farming? Secondly, what do you see as the future of farming in Africa? Your answers to these questions will form part of my article. I greatly appreciate your involvement. Kindly email me the answers on and DM me the email address you have used so that I know which one is the genuine you. Thanks Boss

Monday, April 15, 2013

Using Agriculture to combat Human Trafficking

Today as we were tilling around the watermelon shoots that have just come out of the soil, I was making small talk with the casual labourers on my 3 acre farm in Olturoto, Kitengela, Kenya. Our ideas led us to what the Deputy President said about agriculture; that it holds the key to rural growth, that they want to reverse rural-urban migration to urban-rural migration as young people go back to the farms. This got me thinking of the simple math that they are applying; if 80% of Kenyans live in the rural areas where they are farmers and 80% of Kenyans are poor, then simply improving the Farming profession is the key to double-digit growth! It sounds simple but there are great other supporting sectors of the economy that need to also be improved for agriculture to have a bigger impact. Sectors like infrastructure in terms of roads and markets as well as industries for processing the farm produce.

Agriculture can greatly contribute to poverty alleviation and food security. Poverty and unemployment are the biggest factors that make people vulnerable to human trafficking. In one fell swoop, improved agricultural practices and processes would provide employment in the rural and urban farming areas as well as lift the 80% of Kenyans who are farmers out of poverty. It would also change the perception that farming is for old men who have retired, uneducated people and rich ranchers. So as I cintinue to farm my small shamba, I will also conduct a campaign to create awareness on human trafficking and in it provide agriculture as one of the solutions to mitigate the factors of poverty and unemployment that make people vulnerable to human trafficking. This also ties in with my vision to inspire a million new farmers in Africa.   

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Kenya Feed the Future Innovation Engine

On Friday March 22, 2013, I was in Kitengela to see a family friend about borrowing some of his building stones which lay in a pile on his farm adjacent to ours in Olturoto along the Kitengela-Namanga highway. He declined my request but  he gave me something more important! A piece of information that I know will change the lives of many farmers like myself. He showed me an Advert in a local daily about an Innovation Engine from @USAIDKenya that they are launching to improve the status, income and impact that Kenyan farmers have on poverty alleviation and food insecurity.

I was excited about the prospect of being part of this Innovation Engine. This is given that earlier in that same month of March, I had done a blog post on how, if I had the resources, I would equip farmers in my neighbourhood with a tractor to help them with their income and food generating activities. This is because I am passionate about inspiring a million new farmers in Africa as a solution to poverty and food insecurity and equiping groups of farmers with tractors is a nice place to start.

So I did a proposal outlining an idea that will equip farmers who are members of The Vision Self-help Group in Olturoto with a tractor. The tractor will be an income-generating asset for the group as well as act as a labour-saving technology for the women farmers who form 75% of the group's 80 members.

I am scheduled to present the idea formally at the group's monthly meeting on 7th April for it to be adopted and thus give me the greenlight to send the proposal to USAID. I look foward to being their Innovation Champion and bringing this tractor home :)

To get your hands on more information about the Innovation Engine, go to


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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tractors and the long rains

The long rains are here and this signals the start of the planting season but like me, a lot of farmers are finding themselves not yet ready to plant. Yesterday was my day looking for a commercial tractor to plough my 3acres and the situation out there is that the tractors are so busy its hard to secure one. The problems in finding a tractor every time I have to plough is becoming a daunting task which makes me think that it would be lucrative to have a tractor for commercial purposes. This is not only convenient for me but also for all the farmers near Olturoto,Kisaju and Kitengela in dire need of tractor services. With a good and honest driver, such a venture would prove to not only be profitable but also helpful to the community. I hope to be able to purchase one myself or through a joint venture with neighbouring farmers. This will go a long way in ensuring that farmers have an easier time farming and this would make me a happy neighbour. Long live the Co-operative movement!      

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