Many farmers in Bomet County engage in maize and tea farming, among other crops. Nevertheless, another cash crop is now gaining momentum in the county: passion fruit, which is known as ‘kirindila’, in the local dialect.
The crop is perhaps going to be the next frontier in the county, thanks to companies that purchase and export the produce to overseas.
Elisha Lang’at, 42, is among farmers who make a killing by growing the crop and selling the produce to a company that exports abroad. According to him, passion fruit farming is the best kind of farming he has ever engaged himself in.
Though he grows other crops such as tea, low prices of tea, compelled him to think outside the box, and he landed on passion fruits, after a field day that saw some farmers in the area taught about the ‘green gold’.
He grows the crop and sells to a Nairobi based company that buys from farmers, and exports the products to overseas.
“I started doing passion fruits farming three years ago. I started on 0.3 of an acre and currently, I am doing it on 0.7 of an acre,’’ says the farmer, who carries out this kind of farming at Teganda village, in Ndaraweta, some few kilometres away from Bomet town.
He was introduced to passion fruits farming by a friend, after attending a farmers’ field day in a place known as Boito, in Konoin constituency.
“I became interested and I started with two hundred and ten (210) passion fruit seedlings,’’ the farmer reveals, adding that out of the 210 seedlings, only 180 survived.
He ventured into the agribusiness with a capital of Sh10,000, and he says that it is a very lucrative one.
Lang’at, who depends on rains to grow his crops, grows grafted purple variety, sweet yellow and a variety he refers to as ‘Esther’ variety.
After preparing the land well, he plants the seedlings using organic manure. “I always use manure from cows and goats. Sometimes I top-dress with Yara liva nitrabor,’’ says the farmer, who apart from growing the crop, grows Hass avocados, tree tomatoes as well as potatoes and tea.
Currently, he harvests between 200 kilos and 250 kilos of passion fruits per week. He earns between Sh18,000 and Sh22,500 when he sells at Sh90 per kilo to the company. Per month, the farmer earns from Sh72,000 - Sh90,000. This means the farmer can earn between Sh864,000 and Sh1,080,000 if he sells the produce throughout the year.
The 42-year-old father of one reveals that he has grown over 500 plants which he harvests on his farm. He sells his produce at a price of Sh90 per kilogram, to a firm known as Diakim Fresh Limited, which exports the fruits to overseas.