Guava fruit juice. KALRO is sensitising farmers in a campaign aimed to promote farming of underutilised fruits of which guava is one. Photo: Zablon Oyugi.
Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) in partnership with USAID is distributing over 55,000 guava, gooseberry and jack fruit seedlings to farmers in Busia County in a campaign to entice farmers to take up farming of underutilized fruits such as guava, gooseberry and jack fruits for commercialization purposes.
The campaign which started late 2016 has seen KALRO and its partners move from region to region to educate farmers on the fruits farming, marketing and their value addition in a bid to eradicate the negative perception that locals have had towards the fruits.
“People from the local communities in kenya understand some of these fruits especially guava to be a fruit of to be eaten by the herders tending to their herds in the field or just for birds to feed on. There has never been a thought that guava fruit for example can be used to make guava juice through value addition that can earn farmers good money,” said Owen Indiya, a partner with KALRO in the campaign since 2011.
“Gooseberry on the other hand can be used as a cake flavour and its juice used to cook some foods besides being liked by nutrition conscious consumers due to it benefits such as improving of appetite, preventing heart diseases, helping in digestion and controling diabetes among others.”
Other fruits targeted in this campaign include pomegranate and tamarind fruits with the first training having finished at Muguga South in central Kenya and the other one to be conducted in Busia this Month.
“We are targeting more than 5,000 farmers in this programme. We are now in Busia distributing the seedlings ahead of a farmers’ open day scheduled for 21st this month at Busia Agricultural Training College,” said Indiya.
Jackfruits. The value addition derived from it includes jam, antibiotics, wine, ethanol and multivitamin. Photo: Zablon Oyugi.
Already 20,000 guava fruit seedlings, 20,000 jackfruit seedlings and 15,000 gooseberry seedlings have been distributed to various farmers in the county ahead of the event which will be used to educate farmers on the tools, process, packaging and marketing in the fruits’ value addition.
“Guava value addition is where we want to move our farmers to and to achieve this, farmers must first be equipped with the necessary materials, skills and experience in value addition chain,” said Indiya adding that mass production of guava juice at Busia Agricultural Training College sometime back is a good experience for a start.
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According to Indiya guava fruits are currently imported from Israel and Egypt yet Kenyan farmers have the capacity and potential to produce the fruit.
There are two varieties of guava; red or pink and white varieties. KALRO guava seedlings cost Sh20 each though the white one can cost slightly higher due to its nice taste that makes many consumers go after it.
Red guava seedlings. The seedlings cost Sh20 each. Photo: Zablon Oyugi.