Simon Kirima, an exporter of passion fruits is training North Rift farmers who hitherto depend on maize for food and commercial purposes on passion fruit production in a move aimed at diversifying their agriculture production.
“Farmers interested in passion fruit production can so by calling or writing to us so that we can hold a meeting and discuss on the way forward, in this we shall then visit the farm, advise them on soil testing, the type of seedlings to plant and how to transplant among other practices,” said Kirima, Operations Manager at Kerys Kool Fresh.
Trainings are conducted free of charge for farmers on contract farming.
“When compared to maize, passion fruits have high returns; a one acre of the produce for instance can yield 15 to 20 tonnes in two and half months translating to about one million shillings compared to between Sh35,000 to Sh50,000 for maize farming which mature in six to seven months,”
Maize prices are controlled by the government yearly despite the farmers doing all the hard work in the farm.
Besides the procedure on planting, the exporter also trains farmers who are in contract farming on recommended pesticide application rate and advises farmers to apply chemicals with a pre-harvest interval of three to seven days. This ensures continuous harvest of the fruits without undue delay or rotting.
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His company purchases the produce from farmers when ready for harvesting. In this, the farm level price is Sh70 to Sh100 a kilo. But if delivered to Nairobi grade one passion fruit ranges from Sh120 to Sh140 per kilo.
Kerys Kool exports two tonnes of passion fruits to the United Kingdom weekly.
Kenya produces an estimated 55,300 metric tonnes of passion fruits annually valued at Sh1.9bn. The fruit is used to make fresh drinks such as juice.
According to the 2019 Economic Survey Report, earnings from exports of horticulture produce increased by 33.3 per cent from Sh115.3bn in 2017 to Sh153.7bn in 2018
Kirima can be reached on +254 722 696 180.