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Youth venture in macadamia farming

By KAMAU NJOROGE
The Mutuuri Munor self-help group members with Thika MP Patrick Wainaina at their macadamia orchard in Kilimambogo area. PHOTO: KAMAU NJOROGE.

 

Farmers in Kiambu County are increasingly adopting macadamia farming, which is proving to be a well-paying venture.

A group of 15 youths from Thika sub-county are the latest to throw their efforts behind the lucrative agri-business venture and are optimistic they will generate high proceeds from their farming.

Mutuuri Muno self-help group has already leased a one-acre piece of land in Kilimambogo area in Thika East where they have already put up a mother orchard with macadamia 100 seedlings with a view of increasing the number to 500 in a month’s time according to the group’s Chairman Peter Maina.

Maina who spoke during a tour of their project said that the group initially was growing and selling tree seedlings in the area until a farmers training was brought to the area by Jungle Nuts Ltd proprietor Eng Patrick Wainaina.

“That training changed our course of thinking and is the reason we have decided to grow and graft macadamia seedlings. We learnt the importance and benefits of growing trees with a value like avocado and macadamia. But we have decided as a group to focus on grafting macadamia seedlings,’ Maina said.

He noted that they have plated various varieties including Kiambu-3, Murang’a-20, Kirinyaga-15, and Embu-1.

Maina said that the group officials were further sponsored by Wainaina, who also doubles as the Thika MP, to training at Bob Harris Farm in Murang’a County where they learnt how best to grow and graft the macadamia seedlings.

The Chairman said that the group anticipates making profits from the sale of grafted scions which they will generate from their seedlings. He noted that a single macadamia seedling is currently selling at Sh500 adding that within six months the group might make over Sh500,000 from their farm.

“The demand for the seedlings is currently high because many farmers, especially in Kiambu County, have realized the treasure in macadamia. Therefore, we are banking on the demand to make profits from the sale of our grafts,” Maina said.

While noting that the group has leased the land for Sh6,000 per year, Maina said that the group is anticipating purchasing their own land for macadamia planting from the proceeds, they will generate from the sale of grafted seedlings.

“We anticipate embarking on extensive macadamia farming in the future whereby we will not be depending on selling grafted seedlings but selling macadamia nuts too. The prices for the nuts are augmenting every season. Currently, a kilogram of raw nuts is going for Sh170,” he pointed out.

The group is expected to receive a major boost in their farming as they have been listed as one of the groups that will benefit from Uwezo funds which will be disbursed soon. The group will receive Sh100,000 to improve their project.

MP Wainaina who initiated the Thika Youth Support Program recently said that he will assist the youth in training them on a better orchard and rootstock management for proper development of scions which will translate to increased productivity.

Wainaina told youths in the region to embark on agricultural activities to beat unemployment and poverty saying that farming is highly profitable.

“Youths including graduates must stop over-relying on white-collar jobs and instead go back to the farms because that’s where wealth is, currently. I urge them to form and register groups so that they can be able to access government funds which will assist them to improve the projects they will embark on,” Wainaina said.

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