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WHAT DIFFERENTIATE SUCCESSFUL FARMERS FROM UN-SUCCESSFUL

PRINCIPLES OF CROP ESTABLISHMENT

Crop establishment is a process that goes through several stages. It is important to follow the correct guidelines when establishing your farming business.

PREPARATION BEFORE CROP ESTABLISHMENT

The first stage of crop establishment is not ploughing the land or planting the seeds.   There should be a preparation phase that precedes this exercise.

Preparation is very important. In life, success happens when preparation meets with opportunity. This can be expressed in the formula below:

Preparation + Opportunity = success

There is a common saying that ‘opportunity comes but only once’. This saying is not true.

The truth is that opportunities are always there. What is lacking is the readiness to take those opportunities. This readiness is all about preparation. We miss out on opportunity because we are not prepared when it comes knocking. As a result, we do not succeed.

During preparation stage, you look ahead into the future of the business before you begin and you make the necessary preparations. It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.

The wise saying ‘give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe’  illustrates the importance  of preparation. The longer the time you spend preparing, the faster it will take you to accomplish your objective. The converse is also true.

During preparation for crop establishment, the following are critically considered:

 

1) Opportunity cost:

In business, this refers to the cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action. It also means the benefits you could have received by taking the alternative action.

Opportunity cost means that before you embark on establishing the crop, you weigh all alternative ventures you could have undertaken. For example, if you have one acre of land, you look at all available options you can do with that land and then you choose the best.

E.g, you could use that land for agriculture, you could plant trees, you could put up rental houses, a hotel, you could leave the land fallow and allow its value to go up etc.

Most people do not determine the opportunity cost before they choose the activity they undertake. Even when they decide to go into agriculture, they still do not undertake the opportunity cost. In North Rift, the main farming done is either maize or dairy farming. Question is, have these farmers done the opportunity cost and determined that maize and dairy are the best options? Most likely they have not. They get into these because every farmer is doing so.

If you decide to go into passion fruit farming, your opportunity cost is the alternative crop that might have been grown instead of the passion fruits.

Opportunity cost enables the farmer to determine how much money to invest in the chosen enterprise and the returns, in relation to other enterprises.

 

2) Consider the market.

It is important to know in advance where you will market your crop. If possible, you should even sign a contract with the buyer. This contract should be clear on the buying price, volumes and when payment will be done. Many farmers have suffered because they grow the crop and when it is ready, they start looking for the market.

Proximity to the market is also important as it will affect the crop in terms of cost of transport of produce thereby affecting the profitability of the venture.

Consider also the seasonality of the markets. Make sure you understand the best marketing time for your crop and maximise your production there. E.g for most vegetable crops, the best times to have a crop in the market are February to June while the worst times are July to October.

Some crops have a regular harvest period. Examples are passion fruits and bananas. For such crops, the marketing is much easier because all you need is to concentrate on quality and quantity and you will get a good constant market.

Related Post: Growing Pawpaw in Kenya: Everything you need to Know

 

3) Come up with an overall farm plan.

This is critical especially for a crop that will be in the farm for a long time eg fruit crops, coffee, tea etc. It also applies for permanent buildings. Ensure you get a location that best suits that crop.

 

4) Consider the environmental requirements of the crop.

The crop should be grown in the right climate. The climate is especially critical with respect to the flowering and fruiting habits of the crop.

Certain crops will not form flowers when the temperature exceed certain ranges eg temperate fruit crops like apples and pears will not form flowers at warmer temperature.

Similarly, fruits will grow slowly when the temperature reduces. Eg passion fruits will ripen within a month of flowering under warm temperature but under low temperature, ripening can take 2 months. This means that passion fruit grown in warmer climates will yield more than those grown in colder temperature.

 

5) Consider the scale of production

We usually look at scale of production from a land size perspective. We consider small land size as small scale and large land side as large scale. However, this can be inaccurate.

Scale also is determined by the inputs used, the output and the seriousness which the farmer takes his crop. Someone doing 10 acres of maize can be seen as large scale, while someone doing 2 acres of tomatoes, passion fruits or flower crop can be seen as small scale. However, when you look at it from the input and output perspective, the picture completely changes.

The maize farmer may make 500,000 from the 10 acres of maize, while the tomato farmer may make 1 million from 2 acres. He may also make 2 million from the 2 acres of passion or 10 million from the under one acre of roses. So which farmer then is large scale?

Ultimately, every farmer should aim at going large scale since it is not necessarily based on the size of land available.

Large scale is more about the attitude and perspective of the farmer than about land size. A farmer also needs to have more skills in order to succeed and go large scale.

 

What are these skills that a farmer needs to have in order to succeed?

To answer this question, one needs to ask, what is the difference between a successful farmer and an unsuccessful one? What steps should a farmer take in order to succeed?

 

  1. Successful farmers think big.

In fact successful farmers think biggest! Thinking big precedes great achievement. Thinking big is all about having a good attitude and having big dreams.

The size of your success is determined by the size of your dream.

All successful people are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, and then they work everyday towards their vision, goal or purpose.

  1. Start small.

Most successful farmers started small and expanded over time. It is very important to start small. Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward and one step back. This is especially true in agriculture because there are many factors determining your success. It takes alot of time, effort and experience to overcome most of the challenges in agriculture. Once you overcome those challenges, then you are assured of success.

Many farmers make the mistake of starting in a big way. E.g they may start by doing 5 acres of tomatoes, 2 acres of passion fruits etc. Such farmers are too impatient. They want instant success. This hardly happens and they end up incurring huge losses and giving up.

The best approach is to use the first establish a small area as your learning crop. Don’t expect to make any profits with that crop. Don not use much money in that crop. As you understand the crop, its challenges and how to overcome them, then you can increase both in size and scale.

 

  1. Successful farmers have a plan on how to go about their farming operations. Preferably, this plan should be written down. It should be prepared in consultation with an expert.

It pays to plan ahead. Success is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent planning, commitment to excellence and focused effort.

The following are important planning questions you need to have in mind before you begin establishment:

How much will it cost me to establish the farming business? Have a thorough understanding of all the costs involved until you harvest the crop.

  • Do I have access to the funds needed to cover this cost? Ask yourself if you have all the money you need, or if you can access the money as soon as your need. You may not have ready cash, but you can get the money as the need arises. You can borrow, take a loan, sell an asset etc etc.
  • Access to money is one of the major reasons why the farming may fail. If suddenly your crop is attacked by diseases and you do not have the money to buy the fungicides, then you loose on the crop.
  • If I choose to borrow money, can I afford to repay without affecting my other commitments? Suppose I take a loan, am I able to repay this loan without affecting my other commitments eg paying rent, school fees, shopping etc
  • What impact would crop loss or failure have on the enterprise and my other commitments? Failure is common in agricultural enterprises. Ask yourself, suppose I do not succeed, will I still be in a position to repay the borrowed money? Will I still pay school fees, rent and other commitments? Will I still have money to restart the farming again and correct the mistakes that have led to the failure?
  • What technical, financial and management skills do I need in place to minimize the risk of crop loss? This is very important. The failure could have come as a result of the above challenges. You need to be prepared by having the right skills that will allow you to minimise the risk of failure.

Planning Early

Planning for establishment should start at least 2-3 years in advance to allow for enough time to:

  • Prepare an accurate budget
  • plan labour and equipment procurement. Good quality labour can be hard to get. You need enough time to source for the labour that you need.
  • Identify and correct any drainage or nutritional problems. It gives you enough time to carry out soil conservation measures like terracing and improvement of drainage. It also gives you enough time to carry out soil nutrient analysis and undertake the suggested corrections/amendments on the soil.
  • Determine if fumigation is required. Many crops are sensitive to soil borne diseases. E.g passion fruits are very susceptible to Fusarium wilt and Phytophtora blight. These diseases frequently lead to crop failure.
  • Before you plant your crop, you need to carry out analysis to determine if your soil is infected or not. If the soil is infected, then you need to carry out fumigation to rid the soil of the infection before you begin.
  • Gain as much hands-on experience and access production and marketing information on the chosen enterprise. This is very important. You may need to seek employment or attachment/mentorship in a successful farm and learn the hands-on practices of agricultural production.

 

  1. Successful farmers seek out knowledge and take advice.They value teamwork, see themselves as members of a team (comprising other technical, financial and management experts whom they employ/consult and remunerate well). They are not shy to travel far distances in search of information.
  2. Successful farmers do not quit but persist until they overcome all challenges they face. Persistence is very important. No one succeeds without persistence.Unsuccessful farmers quit in the face of sustained pressure. Many unsuccessful people did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Winners are not those who never fail, but those who never quit.
  3. Successful farmers know how to fail forward.The greatest difference between successful people and unsuccessful ones lies in how each perceives and responds to failure. Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. If you make mistakes, even serious mistakes, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.

 

When you fail in your farming operation, you should not give up. Instead, reflect on that failure and find out what went. Use this knowledge to take you forward.

 

SOURCE: Young Farmers Forum

by Dr Daniel Chebet

 

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Oxfarm Organic ltd at inooto TV

Today its a day not to miss. why? the much awaited TV program at Inooro TV ( mugambo wa murimi) where oxfarmorganic ltd will be giving insight on how to farm tree tomato. we will be live at 8:30pm today monday 10th july 2017. learn with us #moneygrowsontree

 

RELATED: WHY GRAFT TREE TOMATO

 

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Common challenges in mango production in Kenya and Africa

Common challenges in mango production in Africa

Many farmers in Africa invest in mango orchards. However, there are a number of Production related hindrances at farm level that include:

Limited access to good Quality planting materials

  • There is a general short age of grafted planting materials of improved and higher yielding varieties in many areas. Farmers often use inferior seedlings obtained by germinating mango seeds from indigenous varieties. Such ungrafted trees take much longer to bear fruit. Whereas grafted trees begin to bear fruit within 2 to 3 years, ungrafted trees will take at least 5 years to bear fruit, depending on the growing conditions.

Pest and disease problems

  • Mangoes have many devastating pests and diseases, which can result in total yield loss. Major pests include the fruit fly (Bactrocera invadens), seed weevil (Sternochetus mangiferae) and mealy bugs (Rastrococcus invadens). Diseases like anthracnose and powdery mildew are common in almost all mango growing areas

RELATED: How well-planned are you for tree fruit farming this season?

Poor orchard management

  • In many areas, mango trees are left to grow so big that pest and disease management, harvesting and other field operations are difficult to implement. Except in big or commercial farms, mango trees are normally scattered around the gardens, ranging from 2 to 100 trees per household. This scattered nature makes mango a commonly neglected crop in terms of management, but becomes important only during the harvesting season.

Post harvest losses

  • Fruit damage is a common problem as a result of poor pest and disease management and the poor harvesting practices. Also, a lot of fruit is lost after harvest, especially during the peak seasons due to the limited capacity to store and process fruit. This is further worsened by the poor roads and transport infrastructure to markets.

Limited returns from mango production

  • Mango is highly seasonal and harvest is only expected at certain times of the year depending on the local conditions. During this time, most areas are harvesting and so the local markets are saturated and, therefore, offer very low prices, which may not even cover transportation costs.
  • Mango production is becoming a very important economic activity with potential to improve food and income security. Strategies are, therefore, needed to minimize risks associated with mango production and improve the productivity of mango orchards. This chapter, therefore, introduces organic approaches that can contribute to better production conditions of mangoes, and can be adapted to the prevailing local conditions.

We could love to here your thoughts concerning mango farming and challenges encountered at personal level.

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OIL PRODUCING TREE IN KENYA

New cash-generating tea tree that withstands harsh dry conditions is quickly gaining popularity among farmers in arid parts of the country. Demand for the climate-resilient oil-based tree has been surging, attracting many small-scale farmers. “We have a total of 741 certified farmers and additional 5,000 trained farmers that are soon beginning to start growing the crop,” Earth Oil Extracts Project Manager Martin Wainaina told Xinhua during a recent interview. Wainaina said the tree crop grown in central arid parts of the country was introduced in 2007 and does well in extreme harsh dry weather conditions.
The tree that grows to two metres tall and has been changing lives of farmers in the region has natural oil in its leaves and bark that is used in health and beauty products. Due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, tea tree oil is ideal for use in products like shampoos, creams, skin cleansers and lotions, soaps and deodorants. According to Livingston Gitahi, a tea tree farmer in Laikipia, the tree crop has replaced maize as it is resistant to drought and pests, two problems that have been affecting agriculture in the region.
“I used to grow maize, potatoes and beans but chose to switch to tea tree because it is not attacked by pests and also it is harvested for 20 years after planting,” he said. Moreover, the crop is not destroyed by elephants and baboons of Mt Kenya Forest that raid the surrounding farms in search of food. Gitahi, who has been growing the crop since 2007, earned Sh100,000 last year from his one and half acre piece of land where he used to harvest four bags of maize over the years.
The tree that is harvested twice a month is cut and transported to the distillation plant at the Earth Oil Extracts where essential oil is extracted from the leaves and bark by steam. The oil is then stored and packed into sealed drums ready for export to South Africa and Australia. “The tea tree oil crop helps in addressing food security, and is a source of alternative income for people in the region that have traditionally grown maize,” said Nancy Chege, UN Development Program (UNDP) – Global Environment Facility (GEF)/Small Grants Programs (SGP) Country Program Manager. The project was funded by the UNDP-GEF/SGP Program at a cost of $45,000 (Sh4.5 million) and is managed by the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN). “Once planted, a seedling takes 15 months for the first harvest and henceforth harvested twice a year for a period of 20-25 years,” said Chege. Amongst the tea tree oil farmers is Jane Muthambure, a farmer who has grown the crop for the past 10 years. “I have built an eight-unit commercial residential houses with money from tea tree that fetches me over Sh20,000 in rent every month.
source: standard- smart harvest
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PROFITABLE APPLE FARMING IN KENYA

Oppotunity for Farmers

The saying goes that apple a day keeps the doctor away it’s a commonly used mostly to describe the importance of apple consumption. Using a recent survey Kenya imported 4000 tonnes of apples in 2016 representing about Ksh. 160 million. This shows the high demand of apples that many farmers are not meeting locally and for the agripreneurs that’s a good opportunity to invest in. Most parts of Kenya are ideal for apple farming and with more than 400 known varieties we as oxfarm will guide you to know the best varieties suited to your area of farming.

Health benefits

  • Apples are rich in soluble fiber which has been shown to reduce intestinal disorders.
  • Helps in control of insulin levels by releasing sugar level slowly in the blood stream.
  • Lowers cholesterol levels and the risk of respiratory diseases
  • Cleans and detoxifies the body
  • Strengthens the heart and quenches thirst
  • It’s a good control of obesity

The most commonly grown varieties of apples in Kenya include winter banana, anna, top red, brae burn, Fiji, golden dorset, and cripps lady.

They prefer sandy-loamy soil that run deep and drain easily with a recommended PH of 5.5-6.5. spacing of 3m by 3m and planted in a hole measuring 2ft by 2ft. Require rainfall of 800-1100mm per year.

 

How profitable is apple farming

For the grafted varieties they start fruiting as early at 9 months but full profitability on the fifth year with a tree having more than 20 years life span. A mature well managed apple tree can produce more than 500 fruits in a season. An acre at a good spacing can accommodate 500 trees where at farm gate a fruit retail an average of 15-30. Hence a single tree can give a return of an average of 10000, and a one acre apple orchard can give a return of Ksh 500k. An apple fruit can be stored for four to eight months and even more when refrigerated.

 

RELATED: Lucrative Passion-Fruit Farming In Kenya

 

 

MANAGEMENT

Require pruning on first two to three years to attain a desirable shape of the tree and also remove the unwanted branches, it require low temperature of 13 degrees to break dormancy but early dormancy can also be triggered through the use of chemicals or mechanically through defoliation of leaves.

 

CONTROL PEST AND DISEASES

Major pests are birds, aphids, thrips, spider mites, fruit fries, and codling moth

Diseases include apple scab, powdey mildew and armiralia root rot

Preventative control for these pest and diseases is ensuring certified seedling that are free, also observe high standard hygiene in your garden.

For more on how to control of pest and diseases, varieties suitable for your area, certified seedling visit us in our offices hermes house Tom Mboya Street 1st floor.

Check for more details on apple farming in our online shop.

 

Apples trees seedlings

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Africa must start by treating agriculture as a business

No region of the world has ever moved to industrialised economy status without a transformation of the agricultural sector. Agriculture, which contributes 16.2% of the GDP of Africa, and gives some form of employment to over 60% of the population, holds the key to accelerated growth, diversification and job creation for African economies.

But the performance of the sector has historically been low. Cereal yields are significantly below the global average. Modern farm inputs, including improved seeds, mechanisation, and irrigation, are severely limited.
In the past, agriculture was seen as the domain of the humanitarian development sector, as a way to manage poverty. It was not seen as a business sector for wealth creation. Yet Africa has huge potential in agriculture – and with it huge investment potential. Some 65% of all the uncultivated arable land left in the world lies in Africa. When Africa manages to feed itself, as – within a generation – it will, it will also be able to feed the nine billion people who will inhabit the planet in 2050.

However, Africa is wasting vast amounts of money and resources by underrating its agriculture sector. For example, it spends $35 billion in foreign currency annually importing food, a figure that is set to rise to over $100 billion per year by 2030. In so doing, Africa is choking its own economic future. It is importing the food that it should be growing itself. It is exporting, often to developed countries, the jobs it needs to keep and nurture. It also has to pay inflated prices resulting from global commodity supply fluctuations.

The food and agribusiness sector is projected to grow from $330 billion today to $1 trillion by 2030, and remember that there will also be two billion people looking for food and clothing. African enterprises and investors need to convert this opportunity and unlock this potential for Africa and Africans.

Related: Farmers already earning more from Macadamia nuts and hass Avocados

Agriculture as business

Africa must start by treating agriculture as a business. It must learn fast from experiences elsewhere, for example in south-east Asia, where agriculture has been the foundation for fast-paced economic growth, built on a strong food processing and agro-industrial manufacturing base.

This is the transformation formula: agriculture allied with industry, manufacturing and processing capability equals strong and sustainable economic development, which creates wealth throughout the economy. Africa must not miss opportunities for such linkages whenever and wherever they occur. We must reduce food system losses all along the food chain, from the farm, storage, transport, processing and retail marketing.

To drive agro-industrialisation, we must be able to finance the sector. Doing so will help unlock the potential of agriculture as a business on the continent. Under its Feed Africa strategy, the African Development Bank will invest $24 billion in agriculture and agribusiness over the next ten years. This is a 400% increase in financing, from the current levels of $600 million per year.

A key component will be providing $700 million to a flagship programme known as “Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation” for the scaling up of agricultural technologies to reach millions of farmers in Africa in the next ten years.

Finance and farming have not always been easy partners in Africa. Another pillar of the Bank’s strategy is to accelerate commercial financing for agriculture. Despite its importance, the agriculture sector receives less than 3% of the overall industry financing provided by the banking sector. Risk sharing instruments may resolve this, by sharing the risk of lending by commercial banks to the agriculture sector. Development finance institutions and multilateral development banks should be setting up national risk-sharing facilities in every African country to leverage agricultural finance. And the African Development Bank is setting the pace based on a very successful risk-sharing scheme that I promoted while Agriculture Minister in Nigeria.

Related: Why you should try out our grafted tree-tomato seedlings

Infrastructure

Rural infrastructure development is critical for the transformation of the agriculture sector, including electricity, water, roads and rail to transport finished agricultural and processed foods.

The lack of this infrastructure drives up the cost of doing business and has discouraged food manufacturing companies from getting established in rural areas. Governments should provide fiscal and infrastructure incentives for food manufacturing companies to move into rural areas, closer to zones of production than consumption.

This can be achieved by developing agro-industrial zones and staple crop processing zones in rural areas. These zones, supported with consolidated infrastructure, including roads, water, electricity and perhaps suitable accommodation, will drive down the cost of doing business for private food and agribusiness firms.

They will create new markets for farmers, boosting economic opportunities in rural areas, stimulating jobs and attracting higher domestic and foreign investments into the rural areas. This will drive down the cost of doing business, as well as significantly reduce the high level of African post-harvest losses. As agricultural income rises, neglected rural areas will become zones of economic prosperity.

Our goal is simple: to support massive agro-industrial development all across Africa. When that happens, Africa will have taken its rightful place as a global powerhouse in food production. It could well also be feeding the world. At this point, the economic transformation that we are all working for will be complete.

source: bizcommunity
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Establishing a tree fruit orchard in Kenya

Establishing an orchard for your tree fruits

Where to plant your fruit trees is an important consideration when starting your orchard. Ideally you want good drainage, good soil, plenty of sunshine (fruiting trees require a minimum of 6-8 hours of sun per day during the growing season), and good air flow. You want your trees to be wind protected and try to avoid low-lying sites. A slope is the best location, if you have one. Fertile soils with a depth of  more than 1.5 meters and pH range of 5.8–6.6 are ideal for growing fruit trees.

Dig large holes before planting fruit trees. The tree holes need to be large enough to accommodate the root system, a 2 feet diameter is a good measurement. Mix well with the existing soil and good quality compost. Mulching and composting are an important part of the orchard.

The proposed orchard’s site has to be cleared as thoroughly as possible of perennial weeds, undergrowth, trees, stumps, roots, trash and debris. This should be followed by levelling of unwanted anthills and the elimination of their destructive inhabitants. To achieve a good tilth of the cleared land, fruit growers are advised to plant an annual crop a year before starting fruit cultivation. After this annual crop has been harvested, the final re-ploughing, harrowing and levelling is carried out.

 

Selection of suitable fruit species/cultivars

The choice of suitable fruit species and cultivars to grow is one of the most important prerequisites for successful fruit farming. A cultivar must be adapted to the environmental conditions of the locality in which it is to be grown, and there should be a good market demand for it. For many fruits there is an extended list from which to choose.

  • Mangoes (Kent, Tommy, Ngowe and apple varieties) @150
    Hass avocados/fuerte @150
    Oranges @150
    Muthakwa grafted tree tomatoes @100
    Apples @400
    Lime @150
    Lemons@100
    Tangerines @150
    Macadamia @400
    Grafted purple passion fruits @70
    Aplicot @300
    Pepino melons @100
    Tissue culture bananas @250
    Guavas @100
    Plums @400
    Peaches @300
    Pomegranates @300
    kiwi @800
    Pawpaw @50
    Grapes @250
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Apple farming orchard in kenya

GROWING APPLES

Planting

Apples are planted in holes that are 60cm wide and 60 cm deep spaced at 3m by 3m for better growth. In each hole, 30kg of fully decomposed manure is mixed with the top soil.

Top-dressing is done six months after planting with 150g of organic fertilizer to boost growth. It is necessary to avoid shedding of the young tree, however low growing crops like legumes can be planted in between apple plants.

 

PRUNING

Formative pruning should be done in the first two to three years to establish the tree structure. The young nursery seedling is nipped to about 1m from the ground to stimulate side branching below the head. From the emerging branches, farmer should select three to four strong branches distributed evenly along and around the central leader and at least 15 cm apart along the trunk. The selected branches are tipped off towards the end of the growing season or during the dormant period to stimulate secondary branching.

 

PEST AND DISEASES

The major pests and disease include aphid, thrips, spider mites, fruits flies, apple scalp, powdery mildew and armiralia root rot. Preventative control of pests and diseases is desired, use disease free seedling. We do provide extension services from planting to marketing. The varieties in stock include, braeburn, Fiji, Gala, Red delicious, Golden varieties contact us for more information

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QUARTER LAND UNDER PEPINO MELON

PEPINO MELONS

In the recent days the demand of pepino melons has increased due to their many health benefits. Its demand is in increase each day. It is a herbaceous fruit mainly grown for its juicy and cramatic fruits. The fruits is typically a bright green or yellow green and often has some red or purple stations. The flesh is golden yellow when ripe with a narrow seed cavity. The melon is entirely edible skin, flesh and seeds. The fruits are very sweet and juicy. It should be eaten only when ripe.

Planting

The plant requires well drained loan soils with a pit of 6.5- 7.5. The plant should be well watered and weeded. Spacing of 2 to 3 ft is recommended .mature should be applied in plenty at least 2kg per hole. Mature plants reach a height of about 1.2 meters. Once they mature the fruits are harvested every week. One plant can produce more than 250 fruits per year and a minimum of 150 fruits per year. The current market price at the farm gate is between sh 30-sh 50 depending on the size. The fruits has a ready market due to their many health benefits. Some of the many health benefits include;

  • Breaking down into glucose for great energy to get you through your day and increases stamina.
  • It helps with liver disease, lower blood pressure, helps those that suffer from strokes to heal faster and promotes cardiovascular health.
  • The fruit helps to prevent cancer and diabetes (tends to regulate blood sugar levels because of the high fiber content) plus it lowers cholesterol.
  • Pepino melon is anti-inflammatory in action helping to sooth away your aches and pains.
  • Pepino melons has lots of vitamin A,C,K and also B vitamin, proteins, plus iron and copper which are essential for a healthy immune systems and calcium for bones, potassium which is needed for relaxing and lowering blood pressure and pepino is a good diuretic.
  • Pepino melon has soluble fiber similar to act meal which also helps to lower cholesterol and it’s easy to digest. The fiber also helps with constipation and it tends to sooth away gastric ulcers too.
  • The pepino melon is also sodium free decreasing your daily intake of sodium lowers your blood pressure and reduces your risk of developing illness related to high blood pressure, such as heart disease and kidney disease.

 

Cost analysis of ¼ an acre

At a spacing of 3ft by 3ft accommodates 1000 seedlings;

 

Cost of seedlings                                –           100,000

Cost of preparing the land                  –           5,000

Cost of planting                                  –           5,000

Cost of manure                                   –           20,000

Misleneous for 3 months                     –           30,000

TOTAL COST                                  –           160,000

 

Expected output

After 3 months for the next one year

After 3 months of maturity each pepino melon can produce a minimum of 150 fruits per year. If we work with the minimum you can get 150,000 fruits per year. If you sell the fruits with the least price of Sh 30 per fruit you will get Sh 15,000,000 every year. The life span of the pepino melon is more than 2.5 years.

 

CONCLUSION

Pepino melon is one of the profitable fruit we have in the country. Its future is promising as most countries like China and Chile have discovered how to extract the medicine value in the fruits and package.  If you can’t plant them for commercial purposes make sure you get some for family consumption. We have certified seedlings from our seedbeds.

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profitable passion fruit farming in kenya

Passion fruit farming

All you need to know about passion fruits farming

Varieties to grow in Kenya

  • Purple Passion: (Passiflora edulis) …
  • Yellow Passion: – (Passiflora edulis var flavicarpa) …
  • Sweet Passion or Sweet granadilla: – (Passiflora ligularis) …
  • Giant Passion or Granilla:- (Passiflora quadrangularis) …
  • Banana Passion:- (Passiflora mollissima)

Purple varieties do better at higher altitudes areas than the yellow types which does well in warmer areas. Yellow types tend to yield higher and are more resistant to diseases.

Ecological requirement

Altitude – Passion fruits do well in a wide range of altitudes from 1,200m to 1,800m above sea level East of the Rift Valley and up to 2,000m above sea level West of the Rift valley.

Temperature – Optimum temperature for purple passion fruit is between 18oC to 25oC and 25oC to 30oC for yellow passion fruit.

Rainfall – Rainfall should be well-distributed, between 900mm to 2,000mm per year. Excess rainfall causes poor fruit set and encourages diseases mainly leaf and fruit rusts.

Soil – Passion fruits do well in a variety of soils, which should be reasonably deep and fertile with the soil pH in the range of 6.0 to 6.5. Soil which are very acidic tend to reduce the uptake of the nutrients and also accelerates Fusarium wilt disease that causes rotting of roots.

PLANTING

Preparation of planting materials.

Passion fruit can be grown from seeds but we graft to produces improved stock. Yellow passion fruit is best for production of root stock because of superior disease resistance while purple is good for fruit production.

To reduce the germination period, we soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. After 3-4 months we transplant them to a suitable place in the farm since they will act as a source of scions. We then sow the seeds of yellow passion fruit in plastic sleeves similar to those that we use for purple passion. An important distinction between the seeds of the two varieties is, Yellow passion seeds are brown in color, while those of the purple passion are black in color. Fresh seeds tend to germinate faster than older seeds therefore using them saves about 1 week.

Grafting Passion Fruit Vines

This process involves the choosing the correct rootstock and scion and identifying the most appropriate and common grafting technique is wedge grafting. Success of the graft union depends on the experience of the farmer, the choice of rootstock and scion, management practices such as watering and cleanliness of graft union.

The Rootstock

We graft yellow passion seedling when it attain a thickness of pencil since a thin, fleshy stem reduces the chances of successful graft union. Fleshy stems are prone to excessive transpiration thus leading to graft union failure. Once we select a suitable rootstock with the aforesaid qualities it is it defoliated, terminal end removed leaving a 8 cm long stem.

The Scion

We select a scion of the same thickness of a pencil from an existing purple passion plant that is healthy and free from pests and diseases. The stem must be woody enough and have 2 to 3 buds and we completely defoliate reduce its rate of respiration.

We cut the basal end into a wedge shape that is 2 cm long to allow the xylem and the phloem vessels to be in contact with those of the rootstock. We then cut a slit of about 2 cm long on the rootstock using a clean surgical blade, in which a fitting scion from purple passion is inserted and tied. The graft joint is wrapped tightly using a plastic tape to ensure no air, water or fungi goes through the joint. After 3 weeks the graft union is healed we do the hardening of the plant before it is transplanted.

TRANSPLANTING

We transplant our seedlings at the beginning of the rainy season around April-June or on any other month depending on availability of irrigation water. Passion fruit has deep roots, so soils should be well-tilled. We elect posts to a field having wire trellis to support the growing crop and fruits produced. Passion vines are planted 2m from one row to the other and 3m from one plant to the other.

The vines are usually directed so that growth is in both directions along the supporting wires. Yields are highest following a regular fertilization regime. Old or dead shoots are pruned. We also inter crop with vegetables or other annuals is to utilize free space especially when the crop is young.

Once established, the vines grow rapidly and the fruit should flower after about seven months. Ideally, young passion vines should be set in the field early in the growing season after there is no danger of drought.