Friday, July 19, 2024

Anthony Kinoti: Meru farmer making over Sh2 million per acre from dragon fruits

Since 2014, when Anthony Kinoti ventured into dragon fruit farming, the farmer has never looked back, and he now encourages other farmers to try the crop due to its high returns.

He is the owner of Gravity Farm in Kathuure village in Kiagu, Central Imenti, Meru County, which hosts over 40,000 plants.

Kinoti says he started growing dragon fruits after realizing their health benefits, which include boosting immunity and digestion, promoting healthy bones, preventing eye problems, and reducing the risk of diabetes, among others.

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“The dragon fruit story goes back to 2014. However, before then, I had been asking myself, ‘why are Asians or South American people long-lived and are always looking young’. I wanted to know what it is that they consume,” he told Utmost Precision.

“I asked myself, ‘if it grows in other continents, why can’t it grow in our part of the world’. That is where my journey with dragon fruit began,’’ Kinoti added.

He notes that he got his first planting materials from a friend and later started getting varieties from different parts of the world.

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How to grow the most profitable fruit per acre

Kinoti says unlike other crops, dragon fruit  requires very little maintenance. In addition,  it occupies little space and it can be grown on marginal areas.

“The requirements of dragon fruits are not as much as those of other crops. You will only need to ise manure and trimming up the posts,” he explained.

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He also noted that the fruit is not perishable and it has a medium to long shelf life, making it unique from other fruits.

“It is not perishable, it stops ripening once you take it off the vines. We have been able to keep unrefrigerated fruits for about 18 days and unlike other fruits, the dragon fruit doesn’t oxidize,” Kinoti stated.

He sells his produce at between Ksh 1000 and Ksh 2,500 per kg, with a single fruit fetching up to Sh950.

From an acre of land with 450 poles, a farmer can make about Sh2.5 million assuming  a production of at least 10kgs per pole.

Kinoti not only receives local visitors, but also International visitors from Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Malawi, DRC, Mozambique and Uganda.

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