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Family adopts tree tomato after tea disappointment

SMART HARVEST
By Boniface Gikandi | March 26th 2016
Tree Tomatoes

After years of making losses from their tea farm, a family in Murang’a is now making a fortune from tree tomatoes.

John Githigia Kigo uprooted his tea bushes when he discovered he could make more money from fast maturing tree tomatoes.

“I had to abandon tea farming to try other crops that have high yields and better markets. For me, that crop is the tree tomato,” says Kigo.

Kigo is a former employee of Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA).

On average, his farm produces 150 kilos of tree tomatoes a season which have a ready market in Nairobi. A kilo of tree tomato fetches between Sh100 and Sh150.

Kigo, who hails from Mukoe area in Murang’a, says many farmers are yet to discover the tree tomato.

“Since the tree tomato is not planted by many, I earn better returns,” says the farmer.

His wife Margaret Wanjiru says the crop is better value fro money and advises other farmers to try it.

“In three years, we have transformed our livelihoods and taken our children to good schools,” said Margaret Wanjiru, Kigo’s wife.

John Waihenya, an agriculture specialist, says it takes a tree tomato 18 months to mature. “The are various varieties for areas that receive low rainfall and the highlands. On average, a tree tomato seedling goes for Sh300,” said Mr Waihenya.

The tomato seeds are readily available in agrovet shops across the country.

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