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Farmer sees future in passion fruit

By P.C KIPNGENO
Alloys Barasa at his passion fruits farm in Butula, Busia County.

 

He began venturing into passion fruits farming last year, and since the agribusiness seems to be a profitable venture to him, he has made up his mind to soldier on without turning back.

Alloys Barasa, who hails from Butula, Busia County, has also been farming other crops such as bamboo, sorghum, bananas, among others.

But since the other crops, for instance; bamboo and bananas take long to mature and benefit the farmer, he decided also to venture into passion fruits farming, which he says will enable him to earn within a short period of time.

Barasa, who likes reading newspapers, says that he decided to venture into passion fruits farming after reading an article in one of the dailies, about a farmer who was carrying out passion fruits farming in Kakamega County, and decided to contact him.

“I called the farmer and he told me that he had seedlings, and I bought from him,’’ says the farmer, adding that he bought 100 seedlings and the seller gave him 13 more seedlings for free.

However, out of the 113 seedlings he planted, only 105 survived. “I bought them at Sh10 each. I had already dug planting holes and applied chicken manure,’’ adds the farmer.

He says that only a few farmers indulge themselves in passion fruits farming in the area.

The farmer uses quarter acres to grow his crop. He reveals that during planting, he leaves a space of 6m by 6m between the plants.

Barasa has erected a fence made of bar barbed wire so as to protect his plants and fruits from being destroyed by animals and to protect them from being stolen. “People who steal fruits make farmers give up in growing the plants,’’ the farmer laments.

He practices mulching by using sawdust, which he applies around the plants. This, the farmer says, helps conserve moisture in the soil, especially during the dry spell.

In addition, since he has bamboo plants on the farm, he collects dry bamboo leaves and uses them as mulching materials. Besides preserving moisture in the soil, the leaves also improve soil fertility when they decompose.

In the beginning, he did not reap many fruits. Nevertheless, he expects to reap much more as time goes by. “In the first season, I harvested only two bags of 90kgs of fruits. A 90kg bag sells at Sh3,000 locally here,’’ says the farmer, adding that the amount could have doubled, had he sold them in markets in Busia and Kisumu towns, where such a bag goes at Sh6,000.

The farmer reveals that there is a supermarket in Mumias that has offered him a contract so as to be supplying the fruits. Nevertheless, he reveals that he does not want to sign a contract with the supermarket before beginning to produce the fruits in large quantities.

According to the farmer, pruning is vital for one to reap well. “When you prune the plants, they grow well and bear big fruits,’’ he says, adding that he has a friend who is an agronomist, who advises him on how he ought to tend to his plants.

Albeit the farmer has other crops that he grows in his farm, Barasa reveals that he will not turn back in passion fruits farming.

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