The Kenya Highland Seed company has launched a fast maturing, high value and diseases resistant sweet pepper variety capable of producing 8 tonnes per acre in just 75 days. Normally, sweet or bell pepper has an average yield of 5-6 tonnes per acre and take at least 90 days to mature.
Dubbed Maxibell, this new variety is found in green, yellow and red colours and does well both in open field and in green houses. According to the company’s agronomist Peter Francombe, this variety is highly resistant to common vegetable diseases including tobacco mosaic, downy mildew, purple blotch and anthrocynin.
Maxibel sweet pepper performs well in well drained loamy soils with PH value ranging 5.6-6. Although this variety is meant for high rainfall regions, it can still be grown in semi arid regions through contact irrigation especially at the early stage. Over irrigation is however not recommended.
For an acre piece of land, at least 50grams of seeds which retail at Sh461 per 10grammes sachet is needed and sown in drilled rows spaced 15cm and thinly covered with soil. Seedlings take a maximum of 21 days to germinate. Thinning or pricking out should be done to a final seedling spacing of 5cm to allow for growth of healthy seedlings. Transplanting is done when seedlings measuring 10-15 cm at the age of 4-6 weeks.
Transplanting of healthy seedlings is done with the spacing of 60cm by 40 cm. With this spacing, an acre can comfortably accommodate up to 13,000 plants. Regular irrigation at intervals three hours is needed after transplanting. While planting, 40kg of CAN is needed per acre followed a top dress of double amount two weeks later. Regular weeding, trimming and irrigation is recommended for regular growth of bells.
According to Francombe, this variety requires less resources and energy to maintain as it is highly resistant to common viral diseases hence not much fungicide is needed. He instead recommended high farm hygiene and application of pesticides in low quantities to keep pests and diseases at bay.
After 68-75 days, bells are ready for harvest with each tree likely to carry at least 12 bells each weighing between 100-120grammes. This mean, a farmer with an acre piece of land is likely to harvest 130,000 pieces. Currently, a bell goes for Sh10 in the retail market, which means, a farmer is likely to collect Sh1.3 million from an acre per season.
For more information about this variety and seeds, kindly contact Peter Francombe on 070682555 or Kenya Highland Seed office on 0737000704