Benson Maina planting strawberry seedlings at Jaick Agricultural Produce seedlings propagation site. The company contracts farmers to grow chandler strawberry variety. Photo courtesy.
Jaick Agricultural Produce (JAP) Company, specialists in horticultural farming and export is looking for more out-growers to produce chandler strawberries fruits under contract to meet increasing demand in the Middle East among other markets.
According to Benson Maina, the CEO of the firm, they have been exporting seven tonnes of strawberry fruits weekly against the demand of 20 tonnes over the same period owing to the various usage of the fruits which include raw consumption, processing for making jam, and as a food additive.
“Strawberry fruits have a wide range of application in the food industry because of their nutritional value, however, many farmers in the country have not realized the market value of the crop hence there is need for sensitisation and mobilisation for more producers to come on board,” said Maina.
Currently, the company is working with 50 farmers and there is still the need for more willing farmers from any part of the country to work with the firm.
Apart from the Middle East, JAP is also exporting to the East African neighbor countries especially to Uganda.
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How to work with JAP
First, willing farmers need to contact the company from where they will be undertaken through soil and water analysis process by the appointed company’s agronomist who helps the farmers in collecting soil and water samples for lab testing which costs producers Sh4,000 for soil and Sh4,800 for water tests.
“We recommend all these tests because we are in the business of organic production of strawberry fruits where we do not encourage the use of synthetic fertiliser and chemicals to boost soil fertility and prevent pests and diseases respectively,” said Maina.
“In addition, the water to be used for irrigation must be free from impurities that may compromise the quality of the produce.”
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After the analysis, the agronomist will declare the soil safe for production or recommend on how to boost the soil if any nutrient relevant in the crop production is lacking.
This is then followed by contract signing which is overseen by Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) where farmers are at liberty to buy JAP’s propagated seedlings at Sh30 each or buy seedlings of the recommended variety at any outlet of their choice.
“We recommend chandler strawberry variety because it is the ‘hot’ variety in the market as many consumers ask for it apart from its longer shelf life of 36 hours that make it easy to ship within 24 hours after harvesting,” said Maina.
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Jaick Agricultural Produce (JAP) Company’s strawberry nursery seedlings. Photo courtesy.
According to him, a single well maintained strawberry plant can give a farmer a kilo of strawberry fruits per year if well managed.
For instance, in a quarter piece of land, a farmer can grow 6,000 plants each producing a kilo per year as high input attracts high output.
According to the National Farmers Information Service (NAFIS), chandler strawberry variety exhibit vigorous, and high-yielding traits and produce very desirable fruits which are very large and firm within 60 -75 days.
During the time the farmer can decide to let JAP manage the project on their behalf to ensure maximum returns in their investments.
Interested growers can visit JAP offices at Mountain Mall along Thika Road opposite Garden City, Nairobi, 3rd floor room D24.
Or on 0723146885/0720977426