Over 200 farmers in Mumias West subcounty of Kakamega have come together to put up a pawpaw fruit value addition plant to produce end products such as pawpaw jam, pawpaw seed oil, pawpaw latex and beverages
.Over 200 farmers in Mumias West subcounty of Kakamega have come together to put up a pawpaw fruit value addition plant to produce end products such as pawpaw jam, pawpaw seed oil, pawpaw latex and beverages.
The farmers, who were previously into sugarcane farming, had to find a new venture after Mumias Sugar Company and other sugarcane processors in the region were faced with operational challenges that led to the growers incurring losses.
According to Francis Okwemba, a co-director at Kenya Papaya Products, which the farmers started last year August, some farmers are now earning up to Sh450,000 yearly from the new venture owing to the fact that the products produced are nutritious and hence loved buy consumers.
“Pawpaw jam is very nutritious as it contains vitamins B and C and minerals like potassium, magnesium and copper, while oil extracted from pawpaw seeds is used as an anti-ageing agent and also as a food additive by many people,” said Okwemba.
To get pawpaw jam, fresh pawpaws are cleaned, peeled and then crushed into pulp. The juice is filtered, pasteurised and then mixed with honey which acts as a preservative.
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“We also add lingzhi mushroom to the jam for medicinal purposes,” he added.
The papaya products are produced in quantities of 500g and 200g that go for Sh250 and Sh100 in the Kenyan market.
However, when they are exported in China, it is sold at Sh1,200 and in the United States at Sh1,500.
In fact, experts assert that women experiencing period problems due to hormonal imbalance in the body should try pawpaw jam and its product while Lingzhi mushroom is used for treating fungal infections and cancer.
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Pawpaw leaves are used in producing a beverage which helps in the treatment of high blood pressure.
The venture has now recruited twenty farmers into the business, each with at least an acre of land for the project.
One such farmer is Silas Lutomia who started off with Sh5,400 which he used to buy 100g of improved pawpaw seeds of the Malkia F1 variety, which he planted, and after six months wait he harvested about 800kgs from the 200 seedlings he had planted on one acre.
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He sold each kilo at Sh200, making Sh160,000 from the produce and the farmer would go on to harvest pawpaws thrice in a year for five years.
“I now have five acres of land under pawpaw plantation that has 1,000 seedlings. With them, I will make Sh200,000 every three months,” said Lutomia.
Another, Zadock Omondi, a pawpaw farmer also from Mumias West subcounty, said he gets Sh450,000 yearly from the venture.
He planted the Royale F1 variety on his four-acre piece of land and according to him nothing goes to waste with the pawpaw fruit.
Apart from selling the fruit, farmers can also obtain pawpaw latex, an ingredient used in the pharmaceutical industry and in making detergent.
“In every five kilos of pawpaw fruits harvested, we get one litre of pawpaw latex which we sell at Sh200,” Omondi said.
Also for the benefit for the farmers is Kenya Papaya Products Ltd (KPPL), an agro-processing company based in Bendera, along the Chavakali – Kaimosi Road in Vihiga County, Western Kenya is offering a ready market for pawpaw farmers in the region.
Kenya Papaya Products Ltd can be reached on 0721526619 or firstname.lastname@example.org