Chacha Suguta Matiko attending to his pineapples. Row planting ensures the crop enjoys maximum light exposure favouring more efficient photosynthesis and improved crop yield. Photo: Oyugi Zablon
Chacha Suguta Matiko has for two years increased his earnings out of his four acre pineapple farm by employing row planting.
Row planting as per the conventional horizontal farming or gardening is the growing of crops in a linear pattern in at least one direction rather than planting without any distinct arrangement. It is practiced in most crops whether direct seeded or transplanted.
Matiko who hails from Sirori Simba village Kuria West district, Migori County says he learnt the technique from trainings offered by an agro firm in that area.
“Before, I used to plant my pineapples so long as there was space to plant but a visit by Nuru International field officers changed the trend,” said Matiko.At the time he was visited by the field officers, he had only a thousand pineapples scattered all over the farm but now he has over 120 000 pineapples planted in rows.
READ ALSO: Pineapple export market is wide for Kenya
He was advised to consider planting the pineapples in single rows which is better with monocropping or sole cropping.
Some of the advantages of row planting as mentioned by the officers to Matiko include: the crops enjoying maximum light exposure favouring more efficient photosynthesis and improved crop yield; easy wind passage increasing gas exchanges and prevention of excessive humidity.
Row planting also eases farm operations like cultivation, weeding, hauling, general inspection and harvesting.
Today, Matiko is a major attraction to most traders who call in in their numbers in search of his pineapples.
He sells his pineapples to traders from Daraja Mbili in Kisii town who pay him visits every time his pineapples are ready.
He takes some to Sirare town while the remaining are sold to villagers who call in to buy for their daily consumption.
To traders who buy in bulk, Matiko sells a medium size of pineapple at Sh50 while those who buy the same size of the fruit in small quantities he sells each pineapple at Sh70.
Previously before discovering row planting he used to sell each pineapple at Sh30 wholesale and Sh50 to individuals consumers because they were smaller in size.
In a good year, Matiko harvests 30, 000 fruits that earn him about Sh210, 000. This could be even more if the fruits were to be exported.
A medium sized pineapple costs about Sh955 in a supermarket in Israel, according to Fresh Plaza, an online fresh produce marketplace.