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James Aucha

Founder and CEO, Greenfarm International

Kenya

What most impressed the professional colleagues who nominated this role model?

James Aucha operates a highly successful poultry business of 1,000 layers and 200 broilers produced every two weeks.  Through his company, Greenfarm International, he makes it possible for outgrower poultry entrepreneurs to keep 200 broilers each by providing low-interest loans for chicks and feed.   He has helped poultry entrepreneurs to organize into a cooperative movement to better articulate issues facing them.  By enabling poultry outgrowers to earn a net income of $US 300 per month, Greenfarm’s business model helps to support the emergence of a middle class of prosperous small-scale commercial farmers in Kenya. 

What motivated you to pursue a career in agriculture?

  • I grew up on a farm in Kitale, and as a child I became very interested in farming. The land for farming was available and I felt that if I used it I would make a contribution. 
  • I was further inspired by my education, especially when at I was in secondary school. At school we had a joint project with the ministry on groundnuts which was very successful. Later at university, I was involved in an apiculture project. This experience gave me practical exposure to understand how people are achieving great wealth from agriculture. 

How can agricultural education institutions more effectively prepare African students for successful agribusiness careers? 

  • Carefully design internships for students to give them hands-on experience.
  • Encourage students to start businesses.  Students should develop their own business plans while still studying and try to implement them. The student should develop the business plans in a competition such that the winners with the best plans are supported. By the time they leave the training institutions, they should have businesses running. 
  • Offer short courses and award certificates. The target is to have self-employed graduates but not certificates to use looking for jobs.
  • Have a professional body that will help in preparing students for agribusiness and offer certification as an incentive for practice. 
  • Strengthen linkages between AET institutions and industry. 

Career highlights

  • Founder, Greenfarm International
  • Agribusiness Programme Leader for African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE).
  • Lecturer, in Technology Natural Resource Mapping and Management, Masinde Muliro University of Science.
  • Regional Coordinator, Trees on Farm Network (TFNET).
  • Project Coordinator, Eastern and Southern Development Forum (ESDF).

Educational background

  • Primary school:
    • Shikuku Primary School.       
  • Secondary school:     
    • Maseno School.
  • University:   
    • BSc, Forestry, Moi University.
    • M.Phil, Natural Agroforestry, Moi University.