Saturday, June 22, 2024

Edwin Kipkoech: How I make a six-figure income from my 150-Acre passion fruit farm

Farming is one of the short-term investments that has proven to be lucrative for many who have tried their hand at the venture.

While many have succeeded, others have failed terribly, primarily due to a lack of knowledge. Experts say for one to succeed in farming, one should have a sense of business.

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They should be able to sell their product where and when it is most profitable, keep adequate financial records, and, above all, plan their production to take advantage of the most favorable markets.

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Edwin Kipkoech Rono is one of the farmers in the country who has been very keen on his farming business and its profitability.

For many years, Kipkoech practiced maize farming, but he had to ditch the crop in 2018 after cartels infiltrated the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), which was his main market.

Kipkoech would deliver 6,000 bags of maize to NCPB, but prices were unattractive, forcing him to get out of the business to avoid losses. He opted for passion fruit farming, a decision he does not regret to date.

Kipkoech began by researching the type of horticultural crops that can be grown in the area depending on soil fertility and market availability.

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He learned about a successful farmer in the region who he approached for training. With the proceeds he got from maize production, he invested Sh150,000 into passion fruit farming on a three-acre plot which enabled him to generate substantial capital to invest in large-scale farming.

He plants the purple variety and has since expanded his production to 15 acres, with his produce mainly destined for Uganda.

He harvests 10 tonnes per acre once a week and export to Uganda, where they fetch better prices compared to the local market.

“Ugandans love juice; hence all my produce I sell to Uganda at Sh100 per kilogram. If we were depending on our local market, I could not have ventured into it,” he said.

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In a good season, Kipkoech can harvest up to 30,000 kilograms of passion fruits. He also leases his land at Sh15,000 per acre annually, with the contract spanning three years.

According to him, passion fruit production is way cheaper than maize because the most cost in passion fruit farming is incurred only when applying pesticides for blight.

He said his business is usually at its worst during election years as prices fall to as low as Sh 20 per kilogram. To mitigate losses, he reduces acreage under the fruit until the end of polls.

With 28 Casual workers, Kipkoech credits his success to the application of appropriate production techniques and the availability of a ready market for the produce.

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