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Nyeri farmer banks on multiple health benefits of persimmon fruit to make profit

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Martin Ndirangu holds persimmon fruits on October 29, 2016 during the Kitale North Rift ASK Show. The fruit is on demand, with a kilo fetching Sh700 on wholesale. Photo by Laban Robert.

A Nyeri County farmer who has realised the various nutritious value of persimmon fruit, a red-brown or orange fruits that grow on trees like plums is now making up to Sh700 a kilo of the fruits thanks to raising demand of the fruit by institutions such as hospitals in the region.

Martin Muthui Ndirangu, a farmer from Tetu Sub-county supplies 14 kilogrammes, earning Sh9,800 from the fruit, which only takes 75 days from transplanting to the first harvest.

Ndirangu harvests between 20 and 25 fruits at a time from one tree. Eight to 10 fruits make one kilo, which they sold at a wholesale price of 700 per kilo.

On November 7, 2016, about 10 farmers sold 300 kilogrammes of persimmon fruit to Nyeri County Referral Hospital against a demand of more than 500 kilos the health facility and more others in the region were looking for.

RELATED ARTICLE: Rare fruit fetches KSh2,300 per Kg in Kenya

Health benefits

According to Hindawi Journal of Chemistry, the fruit is rich in vitamins A, B complex and C. Potassium, zinc, copper, Iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, among others are the other minerals consumers  benefit from eating it.

Besides the nutritional benefits, persimmon is anti-oxidants that also lower pressure, diabetes and cancer effects. In addition, it is poised to reduce inflammation as well as blood loss after cuts. It also has anti-ageing agents besides lowering damage to DNA. Fibre content in the fruit boosts digestion.

“I have been majorly propagating persimmon seedlings for a while for farmers, and growing a few for sale. Three hospitals and other traders are approaching me for more supply; I cannot meet their demand from my 500-tree plantation,” Ndirangu said.

RELATED ARTICLE: Farmer targets more income with rising demand for rare crops

By the end of the second week of November, he hopes to have doubled the plantation.

Othaya and Outspan are other hospitals eyeing the few farmers growing the fruit.

In big retail outlets like supermarkets, three fruits cost Sh325. On average, one fruit is retaining at Sh109, yet one can hardly weigh 150g.

“Harvesting is all year round. Proper application of manure, pest and weeds control, and other practices give more and prolonged harvest periods,” he said.

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He grows seedling at a spacing of two feet by two feet, and the holes are two feet deed and one and half feet wide.

The holes are wide to accommodate more manure for a firm tree besides being water and mulch holding cavities.

He sells seedling at Sh300, but the price is negotiable.

He can be reached on +254719545244.

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