ERICA KADARU: HOW I LEFT MY ADVERTISING JOB FOR FRUIT FARMING

Finally, I decided to end the rat race; so I quit my job to live the life I really wanted.

Do you remember when you were young and you had dreams of becoming a boxer, musician or maybe a professional athlete? A passion that you wanted to pursue because you loved doing it.

But then, you grew older and were told that this profession wouldn’t get you anywhere because it is just not a ‘career’ and doesn’t earn you enough money to start a family and buy a house. So you settled for a job you are not passionate about but with a solid paycheck and a promising career track.

Soon you realise that this job doesn’t fulfil you, you don’t see the outcome of your work because you are just a small wheel in a big engine. Sometimes you wonder if your work even matters at all.

You clock up the hours in the office, eight or more hours wasted per day. You give a third of your day to something that you don’t really enjoy and doesn’t fulfil you but with time, you get bored and finally decide to follow the path your heart always yearned for.

This is the story of  34-year-old Ugandan, Eric Kaduru, who made a decision to leave his advertising job in Uganda’s capital city, Kampala, to become an agripreneur focusing on fruit farming.

Kaduru who was tired of the early-morning traffic and day-to-day struggle in Kampala was ready to try something new so he quit his advertising job in 2011 and founded KadAfrica a commercial passion fruit farm and outgrower network, which links farmers with buyers.

His company concentrates on the commercial production of exporting-quality passion fruit. It sells fresh passion fruit used to produce juice and pulp countrywide to markets as well as to juice companies such as Coca-Cola and even markets in London.

Kaduru told Africa Renewal that at the beginning, most of his employees were women who needed money for food and for their children’s school fees but after his work with three farmers yielded lots of profit for them, many more people wanted to work with KadAfrica.

Not only does KadAfrica focus on its business side they also provide training sessions to girls, especially those between the ages of 14 and 20 who have dropped out of school, so that they can set up viable agricultural enterprises and earn income.  The company even goes as far as connecting the girls to domestic and international markets.

In 2015, at just 31 years, Kaduru was awarded the Africa Food Prize, making him the youngest laureate since the prize was established in 2005 to honour achievements in agriculture in Africa.

Kadaru who has so far had a profiting and successful fruit farming business gives a message to African youths saying: “When you have an idea, if you pursue it, if you persist, you’ll succeed… The quicker you fail, the faster you learn, the quicker you grow. So don’t give up.”

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