A farmer from Mukurweini in Nyeri County who has learnt the art of growing and making money from courgettes is now fetching over Sh100,000 per season from the crop by planting it within a range of two weeks to spread his harvesting, making daily sales to avoid post-harvest loses.
According to Simon Gachere courgette takes about 45 days to mature and once the first fruit appears, harvesting begins almost on a daily basis hence planting the whole farm at once can cause overwhelming harvesting leading to most of the fruits going bad before they are all sold.
“I plant my crops after every two weeks to create a gap in time during harvesting which is unbelievably done on a daily basis since onset of the first fruits as the fruits grow overnight amazingly meaning if there is no ready market, a farmer can lose most of the fruits to waste,” said Gachere.
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He grows his courgettes in a quarter acre piece of plot out of his four acre farm which he also grows other crops such as tomatoes, capsicum and coffee among other crops.
“Most parts of my land is still virgin as I need to clear many parts, tilling and planting. This allows me do crop rotation which has upped my yields besides eliminating some diseases which might be introduced in the soil by growing one type of crop repeatedly.”
He takes his crops on a daily basis to Nyeri town selling to the local market, the mama mboga kiosks and traders from Nairobi who flock the town daily to buy fresh produce to sell them to bigger markets in the city such as Muthurwa, Gekomba and City Market.
“I harvest almost daily in a week getting over two bags of the fruits per harvest. I sell a kilogramme of the fruits at Sh50 making an average of Sh30,000 in a week. This is my third week of harvesting and the process has been tiring because of the heavy rains making the crops to grow and mature faster,” said Gachere.
In spite of the heavy rains challenge, courgette is still a major boost for him because it brings him quick cash that he uses to run his farm.
I rows the F2 Ambassador Variety, which grows faster and yields attractive deep green cylindrical fruits, he said.
Gachere had invested about Sh10,000 in the venture.
“I used Sh8,000 to buy the certified seeds from a Starke Ayres Kenya company outlet in Nyeri Town and used Sh2,000 to prepare the land. I involve my family in much of the labour to reduce my production costs.”
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He says, unlike other crops courgette costs less to plant and maintain.
In addition, Gachere is also one of the luckiest farmer in the area as his land is next to Bura River which provides water for irrigation especially during dry spell as he crop requires moist condition to thrive and lack of enough water or much rainfall can affect yields.
Gachere can be reached on +254 718816301