The rising craze for ‘wonder’ crops is driving is farming to a high new level as agripreneurs salivate at the money they anticipate to mint from this emerging venture.
Most of the crops, mostly fruits, are gaining popularity because of the health benefits consumers expect to reap. It is, therefore, not surprising that the cost of ‘magic’ seedling and the fruits is high.
Nyeri County’s Jesse Kiorio has mastered the art of grafting in addition to using special methods of raising seedlings for farmers seeking to venture into this new horizon.
In his eight mitres by 15 mitres greenhouse, Kiorio raises more than 20 types of crops alongside non-food trees.
Pomegranate is one of the fruits Kiorio has raised and it is fetching up to Sh500 shillings each. It is commonly consumed to stabilize the body by adding multiple ions and vitamins.
“This is not much of a surprise because one kilograme of pomegranate earn up to Sh1,000 in the few distribution outlets in the country. One fruit in Nairobi costs at least Sh150,” he says.
Hass avocado is another fruit he is grafting. The grafted avocado not only matures quickly, but also yields high quality fruits. In addition, it has prolonged shelf-life of up to 30 days. This allows for enough time to the exporters like Kakuzi Limited.
He also raises improved, rosemary herbs, tree tomatoes, kiwi, mangoes, passion fruits, among others.
Kiorio, who is always invited by Nyeri County government to facilitate various agricultural education field days, has taken the lead by growing some of the fruits. He is benefiting from the pepino melons, tree tomatoes or tamarillos.
His wife, Keziah, does not regret abandoning cabbage farming for these ‘wonder’ fruits.
“Cabbage used to do well. But the market used to be slim. The vegetables rotted away with our investment. Tamarillo and pepino melon are ever on demand, at times we sell nothing,” she said.
Most of their seedlings cost more than Sh100. The couple is planning to establish a bigger greenhouse of about half a million shillings to host 50,000 seedlings.
Kiorio can be contacted on +254722535987