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Sukari F1 watermelon variety earns class eight leaver Sh2m gross income a season

Sukari F1 watermelon variety

Sukari F1 watermelon variety. The variety matures in 75-90 days. Photo: Zablon Oyugi.

A class eight school leaver who chose to grow Sukari F1 watermelon variety about ten years ago over other varieties in the market due to its sweetness and quick maturity is now making Sh2m per season out the venture.

Kariuki Musyoka sat for his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in 2002 at Ngeta Primary School in Mbeere, Embu County but he could not proceed with his education as his parents could not afford secondary school fees.

He then decided to help his mother in her rice farm in Mwea where he got an idea about watermelon farming from a friend. After saving some Sh30,000 from hustling in other farms he decided to go on his own to start Sukari F1 watermelon farming.

“One fruit of Sukari F1 watermelon yields 10 kilogrammes on average and it is best for small-scale farmers as compared to Lahat F1 variety, which basically has similar performance, but is green. Its cost per 100 grammes is Sh8,120,” the friend explained to Muayoka.\

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Sukari F1 is green with white stripes and it was introduced into the Kenyan market by Amiran Kenya’s in March 2016 to fit smallholder farmers who found it expensive to buy seeds of the other varieties.

According to Amiran Kenya’s Johnson Makau, Sukari F1 is pocket friendly, yet high yielding. One hundred grammes of seeds cost Sh1,856. This means that those farmers who cannot afford other expensive varieties are not denied a chance of trying their hand in this hot-selling juicy fruit.

A farmer would require 500 seeds per acre. The seed are bigger, almost twice those of Lahat F1. The seed rate is lower for this later variety per acre when compared to the March one.

“Sukari F1 or Zebra is a fast selling variety favoured by many. Having been derived from Sukari F1 type, its brix content is very high,” said Makau.

Its maturity period ranges from 75 to 90 days

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Currently Musyoka is already harvesting his fruits which he sell to traders from Kirinyaga, Kiambu and Nairobi who come to buy from his farm.

“I harvest on order from my buyers who call weekly quoting the amount of fruits they want,” said Musyoka.

He harvests about 60 tonnes of fruits each season from his 10 acres piece of plot and sells a fruit at Sh21, farm-gate price.

He spends about Sh80,000 on drugs, Sh100,000 on irrigation during dry season, another Sh100,000 on fertiliser and other farm inputs. This leaves him with about Sh1.5m net income every season.

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