Since its introduction to the Kenyan market in April last year, Amiran Kenya’s Shanty Improved F1 has turned one Laikipia County farmer into a young millionaire.
Livingstone Ng’ang’a first heard about the seeds at a farmers’ training in Laikipia and opted to try them out. He bought 12, 500 seeds from an agro vet in Laikipia town at Sh36, 000. This happened at time when tomato farmers in the country were recording low yields due to tomato nematode disease which cause distinctive galls on the roots, reducing roots capacity to supply the vine with water and nutrients, leading to stunted growth, yellowing or wilting.
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“I wanted to take the risk having listened to the agronomists from Cooper K-Brands Ltd (CKL) who offered the trainings and suggested a number of tomato varieties of which I was impressed by Shanty F1 because of its qualities,” said Ng’ang’a.
Apart from being tolerant to the root disease, this variety of tomatoes has high yielding potential and do well both greenhouse and open field. It also takes 75 days to mature as opposed to other varieties like money maker which take up to 90 days. Additionally Shanty F1 improved variety has a shelf life of 14 days due to its tough skin something Ng’ang’a says has helped him sell for long limiting post-harvest losses.
“I am able to harvest 360 boxes of tomatoes per season and ferry them to the market using lorries. They do not get spoiled or broken easily because their skin are a bit hard,” said the 23 years old farmer.
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His major markets includes Nairobi’s Muthurwa market, Daraje Mbili in Kisii County and Rongo market in Migori County. He also has three seasons of planting and harvesting yearly. This means he harvests 1080 boxes of tomato annually.
In a good season he sells a box at Sh6000 giving him about 2.2 million shillings. This translates to more than 6.5 million shillings gross income annually. His four workers, transport and other expenses takes away about 2.2M leaving him with a net profit of over 4.3M annually.
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“I am happy because my one and a half acre of tomatoes has given me a full time job at a time my peers are complaining of unemployment,” said Ng’ang’a.