Giant Ugandan pumpkin (marrow) at Damugi F.S Farm Produce stand during Nairobi International Trade Fair last week. The pumpkin can grow up to 30kg.
Kenyan farmers can now access seeds of the Giant Ugandan pumpkin (marrow) variety which can weigh up to 30kg when mature and can stay fresh for a period of one year after harvesting giving the farmers enough time hustling for a better market and price for their produce.
The seeds which has been introduced into the Kenyan market by Damugi F.S Farm Produce in Kieni, Nyeri County has been tested by the farm for about two years now and it can do well in most regions in the country provided it is grown organically.
According to the farm agronomist, David Muriithi, farmers need only 70 seeds for a half an acre and about 140 seeds for an acre on a spacing of 5×3 metres.
“We advise farmers to leave a space of five metres in between the plants and three metres row spacing. This gives the crops enough space for aeration and weeding,” said Muriithi.
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Contrary to the other varieties in the market which can weigh between 8-15 kilos, Muriithi says that marrow can weigh between 24-30 kilos and this makes it a better choice for farmers.
According to him, the fruit can be eaten fresh, it can also be turned into porridge powder best for expectant women and children as it is rich in calcium, zinc, potassium, copper, iron and manganese.
“Our pumpkins can be eaten raw or cooked or even be dried and grounded into porridge powder which is good for children and women,” said Muriithi.
Studies suggest that consuming enough potassium may be almost as important as decreasing sodium intake for the treatment of hypertension, or high blood pressure.
A cross-sectional study of older African-American women showed that eating three or more fruit servings per day was associated with a decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration. It also led to slower progression of the disease.
Muriithi says that the pumpkin seeds are very rich in Omega-3 fats, magnesium, zinc and they can be eaten raw or roasted after drying.
“Currently because of their health benefits, the seeds are retailing at over Sh1,000 in various markets across the country while the fruit goes for Sh70 per kilo. This means only one marrow pumpkin variety weighing 30kg can earn a farmer Sh2,100.
Damugi F.S Farm Produce sells seven Giant Ugandan pumpkin seeds at sh100.
Muriithi can be reached on +254722923917.