A former police officer has set out to change this practice by engaging in commercial mixed farming.
He keeps bees, dairy cows and poultry and grows watermelon, pineapples, passion fruits, cashew nut and a variety of trees, all on 20 acres.
He went into farming after taking early retirement from the police force after 32 years of service. He invested about Sh.1 million.
Of the money, Sh.700,000 went to buying the 20 acres. He bought the farm in parts over time while still working in the police service.
His 100 cashew nut trees offer him at least 250kg of raw nuts every year. He sells each at Sh.40 to a factory in the region.
From the one-acre watermelon farm, the farmer gets 650kg after every three months.
He sells a kilo at between Sh.15 to Sh.20 to middlemen at the Malindi market.
He grow the Sukari F1 and Sugar Baby varieties that perform well when planted with manure that I get from my five dairy cows that provide milk for my family, he said.
Away from the melons, he keeps bees to assist in the pollination of watermelons. Watermelons and other crops cannot do well if they are not pollinated. As a farmer, he realised that he cannot rely on wild bees, which is why I keep mine and harvest honey for domestic consumption.
He also grows yellow passion fruits, starting first in the nursery where he currently has about 50,000 seedlings.
The passion variety is drought-resistant and he expect to start harvesting in August. He will also sell seedlings once I have stabilised the business.
He further has 35,000 pineapple plants on five acres. He get suckers from the existing plants and transfer them into dug pits after putting organic manure. Each growing mature plant produces about six suckers. I sell the fruit from Sh.40 to Sh.50 each.
Next to the pineapple farm, on a two-acre plot, is a forest of casuarina, blue gum and indigenous trees, which total 1,400.
He sell the casuarinas and blue gum, 4-inch in size at Sh1,000 a pole. Most of those who buy are people in the construction sector.
At another section of his farm, he has planted rice.
The Kongowea and Malindi markets are the major outlets for his produce.
He will lease the land to grow maize to supply to secondary schools. Horticultural crops like melons and pineapples too have big market.
His biggest challenge is market, as he is forced to sell his produce to brokers at low prices.
By Dominique Lao
Content created and supplied by: DominiqueLao (via Opera News )
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