Ex-cabin crew member flies high on farm


Bella Tumaini’s two-acre farm in Takaungu, Kilifi County, fits the description of a supermarket.

On it you get all kinds of food you may need, from eggs to goat meat, vegetables and fruits.

Bella, a former cabin crew member with Fly 540 airline, engages in mixed farming.

“I grow vegetables, rear chickens, guinea fowls and goats,” she says of the farming venture she started in 2007 in Mikindani, Mombasa County.

She started with keeping chickens on a piece of land she had purchased to build a house.

“That time, there was rampant land grabbing, so I put up a chicken house to safeguard my land. I started with 200 broilers and sold them to hotels and homes,” she says. 

As her business grew, Bella thought of venturing into other agribusinesses, what prompted her to move to Takaungu on the two acres. 

“I purchased the land in 2009 and fully went into mixed farming to diversify my agribusiness. On one section of the land, I grow sukuma wiki (collard greens), spinach, eggplant, amaranth and okra as I also rear layers and broilers, guinea fowls, ducks and galla goats.”

She has sunk a borehole from which she sources water to irrigate her crops, says Bella, who has attended various trainings, including one in Bungoma on rearing improved chickens and visits other farmers for lessons to boost her knowledge.

The trainings have helped her remain steadfast in the business even when she loses her birds to diseases as it often happens.

“I currently have 550 layers, 380 Kienyeji chickens, 140 guinea fowls and 49  goats,” says Bella, noting she sells her vegetables and poultry products in Kilifi and Mombasa.

She aggressively markets them on Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.

For the guinea fowls, she started with two keets, which she bought from a friend. 

“They hatched 24 eggs and in about a year, I had 100 birds. I sold 94 of them once to a client who had come for vegetables on my farm at Sh1,600 each and since then, I have never looked back.”

She sells her goats to butchery owners and individuals at between Sh4, 500 and Sh7, 000. Kienyeji chickens, on the other hand, go from Sh1,000 to Sh1,500 while guinea fowl from Sh2,500 to Sh3,500.  

Bella is working on expanding her agribusiness. She recently purchased 12 acres in Magarini sub-county where she wants to major in livestock production. 

“My target is export market. I have a ready market in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates (UAE which I am keen to explore,” says Bella, who has employed three workers, who share the work on the farm.

Baha Nguma, an agricultural officer in Kilifi County,  says mixed farming is beneficial because products complement each other.  “A farmer can feed his animals amaranth or maize plants, which reduces the cost of running the farm.”