Sukari F1 watermelon variety. Photo, Zablon Oyugi.
A Trans-Nzoia County farmer has almost tripled watermelon harvest with the application of an organic fertiliser which increases the fruits yields from seven kilos up to 17.5 kilos per fruit from a half an acre piece of plot.
Gregory Waswa in 2016 planted watermelons on a three quarter piece and harvested three tonnnes.
Due to market flooding then, he earned Sh60,000 from the sale of the five to 10kg fruits within Kitale town.
But in April 2018, Waswa soaked about 300 zebra watermelon seeds from Kenya Seed Company in DI Grow Green organic fertiliser before planting them directly in the seedbed a day after.
“After germination, I sprayed the fertiliser three times at an interval of seven days. Again just before flowering, I used GI Grow Red, which helped in boosting flowering. I harvested around eight tonnes by July from the a half an acre,” he said. From July until August, the supply for the watermelons was low, therefore, marketing was not a challenge.
The fruits were weighing from seven kilos to 15kg. The one that surprised him weighed 17.5 kilos.
The prices also varied according to the sizes, ranging from Sh100 to Sh250. But the 17.5kg giant fetched Sh300.
From the a half an acre, the gross income was Sh245,000.
“After 2014, I never wanted to go back to watermelons. I was discouraged by the poor harvest. I decided to test the fertiliser from Dynapharm with the melons again. It surprised me. Am not stopping soon,” Waswa said.
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Another lesson the farmer learnt from the agribusiness is timing to ensure that the harvest is ready when the demand is high.
For more details on the fertiliser, Mwangi can be reached on +254714925956.