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Meru entrepreneur selling over 20 different varieties of fruit seedlings

soursop seedlings
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Soursop fruit seedlings in M’Tiiri’s tree nursery. Photo courtesy.

An agro-entrepreneur from Meru County with about 28 years experience in tree nursery is selling over 20 different fruit seedlings such as soursop (graviola), apples, pears, passion, macadamia, strawberries, lemon and tree tomatoes among others.

Henry M’Tiiri, an orchard management specialist started the venture in 1990 after discovering that most farmers from Mount Kenya region where he hails like growing the fruits for profit. However, the farmers sort the seedlings from a far distance something which hindered their production.

“Because of the favourable climate in this region, farmers are increasingly adopting the farming of different types of fruits for commercial hence providing affordable and readily available planting materials would be of help to the crop producers,” said M’Tiiri.

His turning point in his business was in 2016 when he sold about 600 fruit seedlings to the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni through the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture.

“Officials from the ministry were contacted by Museveni’s farm manager who was looking for clean seedlings, and having been in the business for decades, I was selected to provide the clones,” said M’Tiiri.

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Currently the orchard specialist have about 2000 soursop seedlings that he sells at Sh300 per seedling. M’Tiiri says the fruit is in high demand due to its nutrition benefits. “The fruit has all its parts from the root to leaves edible or has medicinal value.”

He adds that the soursop is a fast growing tree that starts producing fruit in the third year. The fruit is sold in some of the major markets in Nairobi that include Ngara, city and wakulima.

M’Tiiri, who also sells grafted fruit seedlings, deliveres a mix of crimson seedless red and green grapes, and his plants adapts well in most parts of the country and East Africa region.

He has about four varieties of passion fruits namely grafted purple passion, sweet granadilla, yellow passion and banana passion.

Orange seedlings, hass avocado and mango seedlings goes for Sh200 each while passion, pawpaw nad strawberry seedlings sells at Sh80 a seedling.

He has an acre farm in Meru and also opened another branch at Kasarani in Nairobi in order to reach more buyers. Grape seedlings are sold at Sh300 a piece and M’Tiiri, who has supply networks around the country, says that he does not have any specifications as to the minimum number of seedlings one can buy.

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He offers free transport from the farm to Nairobi for buyers from different regions of the country such as Western, Coast and Rift Valley who get their deliveries through courier services at buyers’ expenses.

M’Tiiri advices the farmers intending to plant fruits to prepare their land in advance in preparation for the onset of rains and plant the seedlings just after the downpour for easy establishment of the seedlings in the soil and better growth thereafter. He further recommends the use of farmyard manure instead of synthetic one.

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Henry M’tiiri: 0723992728

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