Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Micheal Musyoka: Kibwezi farmer making millions from growing high value fruits

Dr Micheal Musyoka is the manager in charge of Corporate Research and Sustainability at Isuzu East Africa where he has been for the last 28 years. He is also a part time lecturer.

Despite having a top office in the white-collar job chain, Dr Musyoka is also in the agriculture field. He is the owner of Mbotela 3J Farm situated in Kibwezi East, Makueni County.

However, his farming business is strictly a side hustle; a lucrative side hustle. His farm specializes in fruit farming, with a variety of fruits including pixies, pomegranates, lemons, papayas, mangoes, apples and dragon fruits.

Dr. Musyoka started his farm in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He worked from home for about 7 months and then began fruit farming on a 2-acre plot with his children, starting with around 250 pixie plants.

Within two years of planting, Dr. Musyoka harvested his first crop of pixies. Currently, his harvests from the plants are plentiful. Each pixie plant can yield up to 400 pieces of fruit. It takes 2-3 fruits to make up a kilogram, which sells for approximately Sh. 250 – Sh. 300.

Dr. Musyoka’s Mbotela 3J farm make use of drip irrigation. To prevent insects from damaging his pixie fruits, Dr. Musyoka employs the use of insect traps.

He is committed to organic farming practices and avoids using any chemicals to control pests on his farm.

Dr. Musyoka opted for pixie farming because they fetch higher prices compared to tangerines and traditional oranges, selling for between Sh. 200 and Sh. 300 per kilogram depending on availability.

“By the end of the season, we will be dancing to the market and all the way to the bank because the money will be there,” he said.

Dr. Musyoka pointed out that previously, most Kenyan pixies were imported from South Africa and other countries. However, the situation is gradually changing as more local farmers have started cultivating them.

The Isuzu manager and part time lecturer has also ventured into pomegranate farming. He explained the health benefits of pomegranates, such as their anti-cancer properties, suitability for those with hypertension, and virility enhancement properties.

Moreover, Dr. Musyoka has ventured into dragon fruit farming. He described dragon fruit as a plant belonging to the cactus family thus is well-suited for dry lands. Currently, he has over 500 dragon fruit plants on his farm.

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He first planted 3 days before the August 2022 general elections. Now, 2 years down the line, he’s already harvested his first crop. Dr. Musyoka sells dragon fruit for Sh. 800 to Sh. 1200 per kilogram.

Sometimes, when supply is low, he can sell it for up to Sh. 2000 per kilogram. He utilizes concrete pillars, with each pillar having up to 4 dragon fruits at each corner. He explained that he sourced his dragon fruits from farms in Meru and Laikipia.

Dr. Musyoka noted that the dragon fruit has medicinal properties, stating its benefits for diabetic and hypertensive individuals, as well as its anti-aging properties.

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