Smart, sassy and always fashion savvy, Leah is a 28 year old from Nyahururu, Kenya who juggles running her own fashion business, being a mum and managing a farm.
She enjoys cooking, but hates doing dishes. Will she be able to get her perfectly manicured hands dirty in order to emerge on top of the rest?
And more importantly, will you be rooting for Leah to win?
Have questions for Leah?
Story so far...
Leah leaves the comforts of her home in Nyahururu to battle it out on the DLTP plot.
Upon arrival, Leah does not seem impressed by the wardrobe change, “Seriously?” Not to mention the big shoes she has to fill.
As the resident business woman, Leah feels she has the upperhand. “I’ve been doing business for a while and I believe that farming is just like any other business, so I think it is an advantage for me.
Leah finds out from the soil test done by CropNuts that she has nematodes in her soil. She is keen to find out from Osho what she can use to control the pest
Nematodes are tiny worms found in the soil. When found in high volumes they become harmful to the roots of plants, causing them to swell or break at the roots.
Leah, ever the go-getter, has quite the determined mind. She is not interested in doing nurseries, instead she wants to buy seedlings so that she can get planting right away.
Leah is set on doing layers, even though everyone discouraged her that it won’t be profitable in just 9 months. See why.
It seems as though Leah is still talking ball-park figures and is struggling to make a realistic budget for her agribusiness ideas.
She finally managed to complete her budget and she has decided to stick to crops. See her pitch to the judges.
Confidence and ambition ooze out of Leah as she dances for joy now that her budget has been approved, despite the problems she was facing compiling it. But, it’s one thing to have it approved and another to actually implement it.
After doing her research, Leah decided to cut down her list and only grow tomatoes and potatoes.
Leah has asked for someone to come and check on her tomatoes. Some of her plants were dying and she needs to replace them, however, this added cost will impact her budget. Jack informs her that she should have contacted iShamba for advice.
Well, that's not the only issue Leah is facing with her farm. It seems like she is having problems with her labourers, who failed to plant her seedlings correctly, and they ended up dying.
'Prevention is better than cure'. Hence why Leah decided to spray her crops to get rid of pests. Always wear protective clothing clothing and equipment when using chemicals. This includes gum boots, overalls, gloves, goggles and a face mask.
"Jack, I am not working with negativity...so stop being negative," Leah whined. The Kenyan farmer is adamant that rabbits are a good venture for her to pursue and that she will be able to get a loan for it, despite Jack warning her about the risks.
Leah ordered some new tomato seedlings to replace the dead ones, and had already begun preparing her land for their arrival that day.
Although tight-lipped at first, Leah says that her farming strategy involves sticking to crops and not keeping any livestock. She is confident that her tomatoes will do well, and she will use the income from the first harvest to invest in mushrooms.
Her new seedlings were delivered but she waits until the next day to plant them because it is cold and she is tired. This draws some skepticism from Jack.
Leah enlists the help of her labourers as well as Ken to plant her new tomato seedlings. Sammy from Osho Chemicals, comes by to explain why her first batch of seedlings failed.
Sammy also demonstrates to Leah, the correct spacing for her potatoes. You should always give your plants enough space to grow so that they are not congested and you don't risk diseases such as blight from affecting them.
Having made a few corrections, Leah is back in the game and she has started working on her farm with renewed energy and ambition. After a few months of hard work, her tomato and potato crops look amazing!
"I have always wanted to do farming, but I failed in the past. I see this competition as a chance that I could not let go to waste and I'm glad I joined it. What I have learnt and what I am yet to learn, I know I will use in the future," says Leah.
Leah’s potatoes are ready for harvest! She's got a variety of sizes and will need to grade them accordingly. Small potatoes can be used for seeds on the farm, medium for small buyers at a cheaper price and large potatoes to big buyers at a premium price.
"I am going to be a great farmer, just watch and see! There is money to be made in farming!" says Leah.
Leah didn't make as much profit as she had hoped, and is seeking some advice from Kimathi about obtaining a loan. He informs her that there are various banks that offer women-specific loans. All she needs to do is present a clear and realistic budget.
One of the judges pays Leah a surprise visit. She explains to him that she learnt a lot from the failures of her first harvest. She also has an irrigation system in place, and is hoping for better results this time round.
The judge is impressed by Leah's decision to grow mushrooms for this next season, as it is a high value commodity. Leah regrets that she didn't grow it from the start, "If only I knew earlier, I would have made so much profit."
A mother's embrace! What a sweet