How to practice commercial gooseberries farming
Gooseberries are commonly known to grow naturally out in the wild or in the fields, however, today a farmer can grow them and earn from their sale.
Farmers.co.ke spoke to Stephen Mwanzia from Sun Berry Enterprise who commercially organically grows large scale gooseberries.
The plant and its fruit are commonly called Cape gooseberry.
Stephen shared with us the multiple health benefits of cape gooseberries such as strengthening bones, boost body immunity, boosts eye vision, regulates high blood pressure, helps lose weight and protects against heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Gooseberries can be value-added into making crumb cake, berry oil, cake, juice, jam, and wine. The leaves can also be used for making medicinal teas.
The berries when fully mature ripen into small orange berries.
The fruit is commonly-known in local dialects as nyamtonglo(Luo), nathi (Kikuyu), chinsobosobo (Kisii), ngondu (Kamba) and mboni or chelolo (Kalenjin).
The fruit can be enjoyed raw or used to make fruit salads or juice.
Growing gooseberry is easy and they are grown from seeds that take three to four months to grow to maturity.
The plant adapts well in many areas but thrives best in moist soils.
A farmer can grow them organically using farmyard manure from livestock waste.
To protect the fruits from birds a farmer should practice birds netting.
A farmer should prune for improved production.
The plant does not require fertilizer or sprays to keep off pests all a farmer needs is to ensure there are no weeds.
Mulching should also be done to preserve moisture, keep off pests and diseases, prevent soil erosion and decompose to manure on rotting for high yields.
Consumers are advised not to consume unripe cape gooseberries as they can be poisonous.
Harvested cape gooseberries have a shelf life of two weeks after harvesting.