Must Read

Ann Nyaga: The CAS who made millions from watermelon farming

CAS Ann Nyaga: In January this year, the Embu County CEC in charge of Agriculture Ann Nyaga was appointed...

Annie Nyaga: The 28 Year Old Watermelon Millionaire

Farming has always been associated with illiteracy and the older generation. But one young lady has debunked all this...

Tomato Farming Kenya: How you can make millions from tomato farming

Tomato Farming Kenya: The picturesque is complemented by patches of blossoming horticultural crops in many parts of the county...

Watermelon Farming in Embu: Dr. James Kanya has been a watermelons farmer since 1996 in Mbeere North, Embu County. Here is his story as it was  written by Joseph Muchiri:

“I started planting water melons in 1996 with the excitement of a newbie. But along the way, I encountered thorns. I harvested all these tonnes of melons then there was no market. It was so frustrating I quit.”

He says he had grown the best melons in the land, yet there were no buyers.

Purity Kagwiria: Why I stopped giving my relatives money at every request

“I harvested 20 tonnes from one acre but it all went to waste. I could not find buyers and the one who turned up was offering just Sh5 per kilo. This could not even meet the cost of production. I let villagers take as many as they could while the rest rotted in the farm,” he says.

After that experience, he went back to academia and buried his head in research until last year when he started farming afresh with renewed vigour.

Soil testing

He had visited a friend and was impressive how he was doing well with horticulture farming. That prompted him to revive his dream.

To avoid making mistakes, he decided to do things the right way. He conducted soil testing and found out that water melons and tomatoes can thrive in his ecological zone.

To roll out, he put two acres under tomatoes last year and they did so well. He made Sh1.5 million in profits in just four months.

“Second time round, I was a master of sorts. I researched on good husbandry and the market component.

So when the crops were ready, I had somewhere to take them. That was especially critical given that tomatoes are perishable crops,” Dr Kanya says.

So what are his secrets to successful horticultural farming?

First, he says, is a reliable farm manager.

“Given that you cannot be on the farm 24/7, you need a hardworking and reliable hand, otherwise it will be a disaster. My farm manager Jackson Nyaga, is so committed and professional, he gives me peace of mind.”

He adds: “Most times I give only strategic and technical advice. My manager keeps me abreast of the goings on at the farm during my absence.

How Gakuyo took Sh. 1 billion from unsuspecting investors to fund lifestyle

He sends me photos of crops at nurseries, those being transplanted and the growing ones. That way, I am able to concentrate on my duties at the university as I also farm.”

Equally critical for profitable farming is, embracing technology which helps to cut on labour costs.

Diversification

Diversification also matters, he says.

“As a smart farmer, you cannot put all your eggs in one basket, that is why I invested in watermelons. In case tomatoes fail, I can bank on my melons,” he advises.

In January, this year, he planted watermelons on four acres and the good news is that they started maturing. He expects them to do fairly well.

However, cultivating big and blossoming melons does not come cheap.

He used 2kgs of hybrid seeds which cost Sh36,000. Moreover, he applied manure, planting and top dressing fertilisers.

The crop was sprayed with fungicides and pesticides to keep diseases and pests, such as melon flies, at bay.

“The melons were affected by serious shortage of water for a week after River Ena dried up.

“If this had persisted for another week, we would have lost the entire crop,” he says.

The onset of the rains was God-sent as the watermelons revived. He expects an acre of water melons to yield at least 15 tonnes, which he sells at between Sh20 and Sh40 per kilogramme.

Timing is everything for successful farming, he notes.

Six weeks ago, he planted tomatoes on two and half acres and put two more acres under tomatoes shortly thereafter.

“I expect to start harvesting the older tomatoes mid this month. I have started planting tomatoes so I can have a crop to harvest every month.

Maximise yields

“This is crucial as it helps me maximise my earnings since market gluts occur only a few times in a year,” he says.

He prefers the hybrid Rambo variety which does well in the area.

He plants them in seedbeds which eases transplanting.

Kanya describes agribusiness as a lucrative enterprise if one goes into it after proper researching, planning and having adequate capital.

He says from a farming investment not exceeding Sh1 million, a farmer can make a profit of Sh1 million in just four months unlike in rental houses where one takes several years to recover his costs. Watermelon Farming in Embu. Watermelon Farming in Embu.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

190,412FansLike
11,005FollowersFollow
243FollowersFollow
302SubscribersSubscribe
WhatsApp
Telegram

Recently Published

LG Donates Puricare Wearable Air Purifiers To Frontline Healthcare Workers

LG Electronics in partnership with Opalnet Limited have donated PuriCare wearable air purifiers worth Kshs 5 million to the Kenya Medical...

Wokabi: Is the 2014 Toyota Probox worth buying?

2014 Toyota Probox: The Toyota Probox has been in production since the year 2002. It started sipping into the Kenyan market around 2010 and...

Sossion: All teachers to go on strike in January 2021

KNUT vs TSC: Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary general has threatened that teachers will go on strike in January unless a string of...

Otieno Ochieng: How my Ngara shoes business makes 300k monthly

Ngara Shoes Business: 31-year-old Jannes Otieno Ochieng' entrepreneurial journey started way back when he was a second year university student at Kenya College of...

DT Dobie Opens Body Shop To All Makes of Cars For Re-Sprays

DT Dobie Opens Body Shop To All Makes of Cars For Re-Sprays When a re-spray is needed for cars, or SUVs which are treasured possessions...

More Articles Like This