Kitui East: 76-year-old retired Assistant chief making a kill in tortoise export

76-year-old Peter Matulu Maundu a farmer from Voo, Kitui East has found success in a tortoise farming venture after crop cultivation yielded minimal returns following numerous unsuccessful attempts.

To make use of his 10 acres of land, Maundu began tortoise rearing after retiring from his Assistant chief position in 2005 with just 25 tortoises, a venture that has since flourished, boasting over 2,000 more tortoises.

Maundu initially offered competitive prices for tortoises, purchasing mature specimens for Sh500 and juveniles for Sh200. Despite initial success, he encountered a challenge in obtaining a license from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), which delayed his operations for three years.

“It was not easy to acquire the Papers, I had to travel to and fro Nairobi on many occasions. I spent much of my money and time before KWS finally gave in and gave me the license three years after application,” Maundu revealed.

Maundu’s perseverance paid off despite facing the challenges as he tapped into international markets, exporting his tortoises to countries like the United States, China, and Germany. With a single tortoise fetching at least Sh2,000 in the global market, his enterprise has become a lucrative source of income amidst Kitui County’s harsh agricultural landscape.

Maundu’s success serves as a testament to the resilience and adaptability of farmers in the face of environmental challenges, offering a beacon of hope amid the drought-stricken region.

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