Wiolliam Githinji, an agro-entrepreneur from Nyeri County is seeking to increase his pumpkin seeds intake form farmers from 50 kilos to 100 kilos to enable him meet his daily target of at least five litres from 2.5 litres of pumpkin seeds’ oi he is extracting currently.
Githinji who has only 1.5 acres piece of plot in Tetu Sub-county to grow the crop says the farm is not enough to produce adequate fruits that can provide the required quantity of the seeds for oil extraction as he also grows other crops.
“Other than a section of the plot being occupied by our homestead I use the remaining part to grow different crops besides pumpkin hence I am not able to meet my production target forcing me to source the produce from other farmers,” said Githinji.
His preferred pumpkin varieties include Israel, equatorial, Egyptian, dollar and South African giants because they produce many seeds whereby one fruit can produce up to 0.g kilos of seeds as opposed to traditional or local pumpkins.
Apart from the good amount of seeds the hybrid varieties are able to produce, he says the seeds do not have the hard outer shell which has to be removed first before the extraction process making it less time-consuming.
“Indigenous pumpkin seeds have a hard outer shell that has to be scrubbed off before the inner part containing the oil is crushed for oil removal. This takes much time and costly given I lease the extraction machine I use on a timeline basis,” said Githinji.
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Though he does not specify the amount he buys a pumpkin as he negotiates with farmers depending on the market price at the moment, for seeds, he pays Sh500 per kilo.
Besides the oil which he sells at Sh1,500 per 250ml, he also roasts the seeds and sells them at Sh400 per 100g.
He does not discard the remaining flesh as he cuts it into smaller pieces, dies them under shade to prevent the sun from killing its nutrients before crushing them into powder which he sells too.
Caption: Pumpkin seeds. Photo courtesy
Githinji can be reached on +254 719 504 157.