News and knowhow for farmers

Embu florist pushing Kenyan farmers to embrace grafting techniques

Grafting is a farming
technique that involves the insertion tissues from
one plant into those of another so that the two
may grow together.  

The main aim of
grafting is to pair the flowering and fruiting qualities of flowering or
fruiting of one plant with the roots of another, which has vigour and

The plant selected for its roots
is called the rootstock, while
the one that is grafted on it, which is mainly chosen for its better stems, leaves, flowers, or fruits is called the scion.  

The scion, on the other hand, carries
the genes that the farmer would
love to duplicate.

Local expert

Morris Gakuru, who has been growing
and selling grafted seedlings for the past four years in Embu, says that most
farmers are missing out on great produce by sticking to traditional farming

“Farmers, particularly those who
are focused on fruit farming need to realize that grafting is the way to go.
The technique might appear costly initially, but I can guarantee that the
returns will make a mockery of this paltry acquisition costs,” Gakuru told

Gakuru vouches for the disease
and pest resistance of his seedlings, which he also swears have better yields.

“I am not really promoting my
enterprise but the fact is that those who have embraced grafting are faced with
less production troubles compared to those who stick to traditional techniques,”
he said.

Case in point

Purple passion fruit, for
instance, is most suited to upper midland and highlands (1,100 to 2,500m
above sea level).   It is good for fresh market and Juice
extraction for local and export markets.

Yellow passion fruit is suited to
coastal lowlands and is more vigorous than the purple passion fruit. In
addition it is resistant to Fusarium,wilt, Phytophthora blight, nematodes and is
also tolerant to brown spot.

Because of these superior qualities,
it is used as rootstock onto which purple passion fruit is grafted, allowing
farmers at the lowlands to grow the market-desirable purple variety.

While there are farmers who prefer to
graft their own trees, it is much easier and less stressful to start out with
grafted seedlings, which are supplied by enterprises like Gakuru’s at costs of
between Sh50 and 200 per seedling, depending on the crop.

Where to buy grafted seedlings

Gakuru’s nursery, Namor Horticulture,  which is approved by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS),

Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD) and the Ministry of Agriculture, is
located in Embu County, Mbeti North Ward, Kamiu Village next to the NCPB Embu

He can
also be reached on phone number 0716573080. 



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