Melkio Obonyo is a widower born in 1924 and he is currently 91 years old. He has been growing coffee since 1974. Currently he has a total of 1,650 coffee plants. He has been harvesting and selling through a SACCO called Misadhi Cooperative in Rongo but apparently he had been getting very little return from this even not enough to sustain his family. On average, he used to get about 10,000 Kshs per harvest, this translated into about 20,000Kshs yearly. Harvesting is normally done twice annually. He married two wives who later passed away, together they had seven sons of whom four passed on together with their wives and then took on the responsibility to care for their children too. He was not able to pay school fees for his grandchildren long-term and struggled a lot to the extent of surviving with one meal a day, just to raise money for school fees.
We were happy to take Melkio on board and support him and his family. So far he has received a number of trainings and coffee extension work through SVR and PRI Kenya’s partnership. Through this, he has been trained on Good Coffee Agronomic Practices (GAP). This has really helped him in taking good care of his 1,650 coffee plantations. He is currently practicing techniques such as mulching during dry weathers, pruning of excess coffee brunches to enhance production which he never did before and using compost for his coffee production. This has greatly increased his production to more than triple now! In 2016 year, he managed to harvest a total of 30 sacks full of cherries and got a total return of about 120,000 Kshs (60.000 Kshs per harvest) of which he used to pay for his grandson’s university fees at Kisii University. Besides this, he has other four children he is taking care of in high school which he will be able to support with each supply. He also got training in Agribusiness which has really enhanced his skills as he now minimizes his overall expenditures for higher profits. Obonyo says, ‘I am setting a side another one acre after I have harvested the all of the maize and then cultivate coffee and other fruit trees to compliment the coffee to eventually have my very own coffee food forest! I am happy for the support and training I am receiving from PRI for further capacity building. I want to be a model for more farmers and allow for my children to see the reap’