After moving back to Kenya from the US a few years ago, Regina Mungai is making a killing from farming in Nakuru County.
Regina, who lived in Massachusetts for many years before returning to Kenya, cultivates herbs on her farm in Begi village, about seven kilometers from Gilgil town.
She is the director of Little Bloomers Ltd, a company that grows herbs such as mint and basil for export to Europe. Regina and her husband David Mungai ditched tomato farming for herbs, a decision she encourages farmers to make.
Presently, she grows basil, a medicinal herbal spice in two greenhouses while a vast area of her six-acre piece of land is occupied by mint crop.
“I will be harvesting from here tomorrow. I am looking forward to a bumper harvest,” she told Daily Nation last week.
Additionally, she grows rosemary plantation and a thyme crop.
“I got an opportunity to export through an exporting company, with which I do contract farming,” said Regina.
She said they abandoned tomato as it is labor-intensive and has low income compared to herbs. From tomato, she earned about Sh350,000 per acre but now makes more than double the amount from mint on a similar size of land.
Her aim to export herbs directly to the market as she currently sells through other companies. This, she says, will enable her to earn more and employ more people. She currently has 20 workers.
Experts say herbs farming is a venture that is yet to be exploited in Kenya yet it can create employment thousands of employment opportunities.
Agronomist Ruth Munyoro says that herb farming is simple as long as the farmer is well prepared. She advises farmers to first study the market before deciding on which crop to start with.