News and knowhow for farmers

Farmer grows short-term crops to earn big in just 67 days

organic sukumawiki 1 kales

A thousand headed kales variety. The veriety produces about eight tonnes which is equivalent to eight thousand killograms per acre in a season.

Paul Serut, farmer from Kericho County has ventured into growing crops that take between 60 and 75 days to mature such as kales, zucchini, okra and tomatoes to enable him earn quick income in a short time than coffee he used to grow four years ago which he had to wait for up to three to five years to see the first fruits and wait for an extra nine months to start harvesting the fruits.

From 2007 to 2014 Serut grew coffee until August 2014 when he attended a farmers’ field day in the county which was organized by the county agricultural ministry to educate smallholder farmers on the need to grow fast maturing crops for sale.

“I discovered from the event that there some crops such as vegetables that I could harvest and take to the market more than three times a year than wait for coffee fruits to mature  in nine months and wait for another three months for the payments from a processing company,” said Serut.

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He now grows a thousand headed variety of kales which take 60 days to mature harvesting about eight tonnes per season from his one acre part of his land. He has five acres of land which he has divided in portions for his various crops.

He sales a 50-kilogram bag of kales at Sh700 farm-gate price and Sh1,200 market price translating to about Sh112,000 a season. His markets include Kericho Town and Kisumu’s Kiboswa market.

He grows tomatoes in his two greenhouses measuring 8×40 metres. One greenhouse has a capacity of 1250 tomato plants which translates to 2500 plants. A single tomato plant can give him around Sh500 totaling to Sh1.3m a season.

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I grow Anna F1 tomato variety which take only 75 days to mature, I sell from my farm to trders who come on order and take some to the market,” said Serut.

“I can harvest this variety for over a month as long as I keep my greenhouses clean and free from pasts and diseases.”

Okra and zucchini which takes one and a half an acre. But he grow okra in one acre while zucchini in the remaining a half an acre because okra do not require much time and money to produce.

“Okra, especially the spineless variety I grow does not need strict and costly management after sowing like tomatoes or kales. This variety yields up to 10 bags an acre.”

Besides selling the fruit raw for consumers, he also sells a kilogramme of dried okra seeds at Sh150 while most farmers prefer to sell their produce when still in pods for more profits.

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The zucchini squash he grows matures after 60 days after planting and the crop lifespan is 5-6 months. According to him, immature tender zucchinis are picked twice a week at a length of 15-20cm.

Though Serut admits that it is challenging to give every crop full attention, but it is a full-time job he has chosen to do-with success being the only alternative.

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