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Beverly Mugure : An Agripreneur at heart

ALMA MATER: Anestar Precious Girls High School.

What are your memories of your teenage years?

I was raised by my grandmother in Nakuru Coutry and most of my memories are with and about her. I recall working in a wheat farm collecting left over wheat grains to support her. I also remember fetching firewood in a nearby forest and milking cows at our home in Kabarak.  

Did these experiences influence your choice of career in any way?  

Indeed. Growing up in a farm influenced my passion in farming. I am the only girl in my family who can milk a cow. I admired the owners of the big wheat farms and I yearned to own one. I also performed very well in Agriculture classes in High School and so I wanted to understand more about farming. Looking back, I think that God was preparing me for this sector.

I founded Mugure Agriventures in 2016 and I am currently farming wild vegetables including managu and kunde. I am hotelier by profession and while I was working in various restaurants across the city, I realized that those restaurants often struggled to access certain foods. There were occasions when they would lack spinach, butternuts and onions in their stores. It was then that I got the idea to set up my company, through which I would supply these foods and fill that gap. I started sourcing for a farm, going to networking events and looking for opportunities to help me start up and it has been an intense experience over the years.

What does your day look like?

I like to start my day with some inspiration. I listen to documentaries or interviews by accomplished people like Warren Buffet. From then I set off for my farm in Juja, Kiambu County where I hold meetings with my staff and plan for the day ahead. On any given day, I am working with 10-15 women that I have employed to till the land or transplant the seedlings depending on what the season demands. I then check on other aspects of the business including whether our water pumps are working properly. On most days I am in the farm until 5pm. When I get the chance to leave earlier I spend time with other farmers to share our ideas and experiences in the industry.

What do you love about your job?

It pushes me to be better, the network is broad and I meet new people every day that are practising something different. It is also an opportunity for growth. I am currently learning how to grow lavender.

What do you dislike most about your job?  

It has a lot of risks. For example, I lost three quarters of my produce when I first started out. The tomatoes I had planted were infested by a disease I was not prepared for. That took a huge toll on me mentally and financially. In other instances, the market could be unfavourable and you fail to sell your produce. Most of the produce is transported at night and lorries do break down along the way, making you late for deliveries. Your produce can also get stolen before it reaches the market or you may not get space within the market to sell you goods and so your goods end up perishing as you run into losses. 

What would you consider your greatest achievement as an Agriprenuer?  

I was honoured as a Youth Champion in Agribusiness East Africa in 2018. This was through a joint project by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), University of Nairobi and the East African Community. The project was held in Benin and I was selected for the award based on the quality of the business plan that I had presented to the judges.

In June 2019, I was selected as A Young Fellow Under United State Department Of State. (Advancing Women in Agribusiness 2019). I represented Kenya in the program. I was stationed at Michigan State University and during this period, I visited many farms in the United Sates to learn more about their farming experiences.  It was a very rewarding opportunity for me.

What does the future hold for you?

I hope to operate a large scale farm dealing in vegetables and livestock production. I want to scale up my business to produce a variety of unique crops. I am starting another farm where I want to grow soy beans for livestock food production and to create value addition for soy products. Through this I hope to create employment for the African youth.

What advice do you have for a teenager reading about you today?

You cannot change your past but you can start where you are and change the ending. Also, the best way to predict the future is to create it. If you can dream, you can do it.

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