This is a question that everyone in need to invest on anything have to ask, From the time I started healing of this warder fruit pepino melon in Eldoret two years back the prices has always been retailing between 70 – 100 per fruit. Many farmers are still waiting for it to be like quail and they will wait longer maybe for lifetime, Many people in urban are realizing the benefits accruing to this pepino fruits and other fruits and they are buying in big numbers also because of doctors’ advice, currently we cannot meet the demand of the orders we are getting daily because first we don’t have serious famers into this business second farmers are buying seedling for testing whether it will work but not for business. To be serious in anything you have to consider about quantity of what the market needs. China is extracting the medicinal value from pepino fruits so never think that we will ever satisfy the market. The lowest price according to our analysis as oxfarm organic ltd if all farmers were to plant this plant, is ksh20-40.
The following are condition necessally for growing the plant organically.
Require a soil ph. of 6.5 – 7.5 in a well-drained soil the other ecological weather condition are the same as those of potatoes. Require a spacing of 3ft by 3ft hence an acre with a space of 43560 square feet can accommodate 4000 plants comfortably . Other requirements include water source, manure, pesticides and fungicides.
WHAT TO DO
Prepare your land to attain fine tilth assuming you have tested your soil from recognized body like KARI.
Dig holes at a spacing of 3ft by 3ft to attain a plant population of 4000 seedlings.
Add per hole a hip of well rotten manure in this case of organic farming don’t add any fertilizer in your soil but instead add ash and mix well with the top soil.
Apply enough water when planting in case of dry weather like the one in this season of January – March.
With all the information on farming pepino, farmers are still not getting the potential harvest from these plants. A single plant has the potential to give a minimum of 200 fruits and above per year, mostly what happens is that they flower well but after sometime the bearing fruits drop. We have experienced this on our farms but we found that the cause of this problem mostly it’s because of two reasons. Inadequate nutrients or lack of enough water, a big percentage of water melon fruit is composed of water hence require enough watering. In case of inadequate nutrients add manure and ash, mostly when practicing organic farming ash act as a big role in the soil for many reasons I will share with you another time.
Most common pest that attack pepino plants include red spider mites and cut worms and can bring severe losses if not controlled in time We use pesticides to control them and fungicides to control against frost. In case you have ever grown or visited our farm with pepino melon there are two varieties. There are those that seem resistant to frost and pest while there are those that are easily affected hence poor quality fruits and low productivity. We have sorted our seedlings well in our farms which we sell to our farmers. visit our offices in Nairobi Hermes House first floor opp K.T.D.A Tom Mboya Street or Nyeri Kimathi way Behind Khimji Devshi bookshop next to HFC Bank.
COST ANALYSIS FOR AN ACRE
Cost of preparing one acre land (varies) = 5000
Digging of holes, application of manure, and planting = 3000
Cost of seedlings @20 * 4000 = 80000
Pesticides and fungicides (for 3 months) = 4000
Cost of irrigation for 3 months = 15000
A farm manager @7000 / month = 21000
Miscellaneous = 5000
Total cost = 133000
Assume we achieve production of 200 fruits per plant per year and 85% plant population for an acre (3500 plants instead of 4000)
200 fruits @100 each * 3500 = 70million
200 fruits @50 each *3500 = 35 million
200 fruits @20 each *3500 = 14 million
200 fruits @10 each *35oo = 7 million
Assume we achieve a production of 100 fruits from 3500 plants in one year
100 fruits @100 each *3500 = 35million
100 fruits @50 each *3500 = 17.5 million
100 fruits @20 each *3500 = 7 million
100 fruits @10 each *3500 = 3.5 million
A well-managed pepino plant can produce on average more than 200 fruits for a whole year. Currently a fully ripe yellowish stripped middle sized fruit is retailing at 100 in our area market, when selling directly to the consumer. But in our case let’s assume we sell to a middle man at Ksh 20-50 and achieve plant population for an acre 3600 plants that give a production of more than 100 fruits for one year i.e. 30*3600*100 = 10.8 million. This means you can get 900k per month or fetch 225k per week real money. You just have to wait for 3 months for the pepino melon to start fruiting.
Souce; Dickson Kahuro blog