Martin Ndirangu holds persimmon fruits on October 29, 2016 during the Kitale North Rift ASK Show. The fruit is on demand, with a kilo fetching Sh700 on wholesale. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.
Nyeri County farmers are cashing in on the sharp surge for persimmon as supply of the fruit remains low due to concentration in other crops.
On November 7, 2016, about 10 farmers sold 300 kilogrammes of persimmon fruit to Nyeri County Referral Hospital against a demand of more than 500 kilos the health facility and more others in the region were looking for.
No one farmer was able to raise the stock, therefore, they had to make ‘contributions’ to raise the 300kg.
Tetu Sub-county resident Martin Muthui Ndirangu is one such farmer who supplied 14 kilogrammes, earning Sh9,800 from the fruit, which only takes 75 days from transplanting to the first harvest.
Ndirangu harvests between 20 and 25 fruits at a time from one tree. Eight to 10 fruits make one kilo, which they sold at a wholesale price of 700 per kilo.
The fruit is said to have multiple health benefits.
According to Hindawi Journal of Chemistry, the fruit is rich in vitamins A, B complex and C. Potassium, zinc, copper, Iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, among others are the other minerals consumers benefit from eating it.
Besides the nutritional benefits, persimmon is anti-oxidants that also lower pressure, diabetes and cancer effects. In addition, it is poised to reduce inflammation as well as blood loss after cuts. It also has anti-ageing agents besides lowering damage to DNA. Fibre content in the fruit boosts digestion.
“I have been majorly propagating persimmon seedlings for a while for farmers, and growing a few for sale. Three hospitals and other traders are approaching me for more supply; I cannot meet their demand from my 500-tree plantation,” Ndirangu said.
By the end of the second week of November, he hopes to have doubled the plantation.
Othaya and Outspan are other hospitals eyeing the few farmers growing the fruit.
In big retail outlets like supermarkets, three fruits cost Sh325. On average, one fruit is retaining at Sh109, yet one can hardly weigh 150g.
“Harvesting is all year round. Proper application of manure, pest and weeds control, and other practices give more and prolonged harvest periods,” he said.
He grows seedling at a spacing of two feet by two feet, and the holes are two feet deed and one and half feet wide.
The holes are wide to accommodate more manure for a firm tree besides being water and mulch holding cavities.
He sells seedling at Sh300, but the price is negotiable.
He can be reached on +254719545244.