Horticulture farmer in Tabaka, Kisii County is earning Sh50, 000 per week from zucchini farming against his Sh2500 weekly wage from a soapstone site.
Jared Ong’angi quit his casual job in the soapstone industry in pursuit of farming, growing kales, onions, tomatoes and pumpkins in his three acres of land but majoring on zucchini.
RELATED ARTICLE: Farmer finds millions in courgettes
“I was a craftsman for two years earning Sh500 daily but I was able to save some money. Then I met a friend who introduced me to farming,” said Ong’angi.
“With the savings, I bought STAR 8021 Squash zucchini variety seeds from a distributor of Starke Ayres Kenya Ltd seeds in Kisii Town. I used an additional Sh5000 for land preparation and Sh2500 to buy fertilizer and agrochemicals.”
According to Starke Ayres Kenya Ltd Sales Agronomist-Samuel Gacheru, 90 per cent of farmers growing zucchini in the country grow their Star Squash 821 variety because it has high yields and tolerant to common diseases which attack the crop.
“Our variety is preferred among farmers because it matures within 30 to 35 days after planting and it is also tolerant to powdery mildew disease which is deadly to the crop,” said Gacheru.
They do well in most temperate zones of the country like Western, Rift valley and Central regions which do not experience extremes of weather conditions. Counties such as Kiambu, Murang’a and Kirinyaga are however better placed for zucchini farming because of their closeness to Nairobi City which provides a huge market.
RELATED ARTICLE: Dairy, courgette farming earns farmers sh400, 000 monthly
Ong’angi takes his zucchinis to Daraja Mbili market in Kisii every market day, Monday and Thursday, where he meets traders from Nairobi, Kisumu, Migori and Eldoret. This he does to evade brokers who buy from him at about Sh70 per kilo and sell for more than Sh100 whereas he sells his produce at Sh100 per kilo.
He is currently harvesting zucchinis twice a week and gets approximately two bags per harvest giving him over five bags of 100kg in his one and a half farm per week.
“There is a lot that needs to be done during harvesting as it involves packaging and transporting the produce to the market when they are still fresh,” he said.