Kenyan farmers urged to embrace strawberry farming
By Bisola Adeyemo
Farmers in Nyandarua County, Kenya have been advised to embrace strawberry farming as a way to boost the county’s economy.
An agronomist, Mr Thiong`o Mathenge, who gave the advise also added that the climate around Nyandarua County was suitable for its growth, therefore farmers should use the climate opportunity to plant strawberries, KNA reports.
“Strawberries can grow in almost every part of our county provided there is constant water supply and stable temperature in the range of 10 – 30 degrees Celsius.
“For a beginner, 1/8 of an acre is enough to venture into strawberry farming as one requires 3000 seedlings. Each seedling goes for Sh 10. Additionally, those in urban settings can still plant the seedlings in containers and place them in their backyards,” said Mathenge.
While giving testimonies on how profitable strawberry is, a farmer, Loise Mumbi, said strawberry farming has boosted their income due to high demand from people from different locations.
“I have been farming Chandler strawberries since last year and the sales so far are great. I have not encountered any losses. Instead, my customers place orders that I sometimes fail to meet their demand. My main customers are bakers, hotels and supermarkets in neighbouring Ol Kalou and Nyahururu towns,” she said.
Speaking also Hannah Wambui, a strawberry farmer, said she ventured into strawberry farming as it takes a shorter period to grow and produce fruits.
“Strawberries take around 70 days to produce the first fruit although the bumper harvest is expected on the 6th month. Each plant produces around 25 grams per week which sums up to roughly 80kgs weekly,” Wambui said.
She however regretted that strawberries were being attacked by pests, caterpillars, aphids and fungi of which they were using rabbit’s urine to counter.
“I would encourage farmers to adopt strawberry farming since there is a high demand for the fruit as people are quickly warming up to the idea of incorporating strawberries in their diets after realizing the fruits’ nutritional value,” said Wambui.