Eric Mbugua and his sister Veronica Kamau founded Verics 5 years ago after they witnessed inadequate healthy food production in the urban low-income areas. They also acknowledge that urban slums have little space to spare for home farming let alone commercial.
Verics is a simplified hydroponic system solution that uses water and nutrients solution on pumice instead of soil, to grow healthy, leafy vegetables and fruits including strawberry, tomatoes, parsley, capsicum, kales, lettuce, spinach and cabbage. They also make hydroponic fodder for animal feeding. The set up uses very little space convenient for backyards, balconies and rooftop with a guarantee of an abundant harvest.
They make the systems from locally available materials like pipes, poles, wire mesh and timbers. Making them affordable and simple for local small-scale farmers as compared to other complex hydroponics systems in the market. Water used in the system is very minimal. The system needs a single person to maintain it. Furthermore, it is less time-consuming. It only takes 30 minutes to complete the work.
Eric joined Somo Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in Cohort 6. He says The Somo Project is the first Non-Governmental Organization to work with him. He says it took him two years to get the correct system to use. "I almost gave up at some point. Thank goodness I didn't. It is now paying off." Eric rejoice.
A complete standard greenhouse set up with Verics hydroponics system costs Kshs. 430,000 (USD 4,300). The cost is mostly for the materials since the maintenance cost is very minimal. The least amount Verics has charged is Kshs .50,000 (USD 500). For training, they charge Kshs. 3000 (USD 30).
He plans on training more farmers, youths and his community on hydroponic systems to make them embrace it more. He advises youths to engage in hydroponic farming.