Pawpaw farmers in Kenya are set to increase their yield by up to 200 percent, producing enough to fill the country’s huge deficit while supplying more the lucrative export market, enabling farmers to earn huge returns, thanks to new high yielding variety from Philippine expected to be shipped in by SeedMan Limited.
The Red Lady F1 variety has the ability to yield up to 54-120 fruits when the trees reach peak production in two years. Considering that an acre farm can hold up to 1000 trees, a farmer is likely to harvest close to 54,000 fruits in a season and a whooping 108,000 fruits in a year for the three seasons.
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With the current market price for pawpaw now at Sh30 on lower side, a farmer is likely to reap a cool Sh3.2 million from this venture.
A Red Lady FI Pawpaw has a reddish orange flesh and weighs 400-650g. This variety produces flowers which have both male and female parts and are capable of self- pollination. Other features include high resistance to ring spot virus, a long production span of up to 10 years very sweet fruits with uniform size and shape. Unlike most pawpaw varieties that produce twice in a year, Red Lady FI variety produces thrice per year
Just like other varieties, Red Lady variety grows well in well drained soils with a PH value of 5.5 to 7.0. It require warm to hot climates for growth, and an altitude below 2100m above sea level, with well annual rainfall of about 1000mm which is well distributed.
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A farmer can decide to make his own seedbed or saw Red Lady FI seeds directly in a farm at the rate of 4 seeds per hole before reducing them to one per hole when they reach 10-15 cm in height. The spacing of 2.5m in between rows and 2m from a tree to another is recommended.
Although the seeds are yet to hit the Kenyan market, farmers can source them online by visiting www.seedman.com where a packet of 10 seeds are sold for $3.94 or Sh400. This variety takes 9-10 months to produce first fruits after sowing.