With the budget almost being read out lets take a look on ways to make money in the agribusiness. I was thinking of starting an orchard and the fruit that came in mind was the pawpaw. Pawpaw is a fruit surrounded by a lot of misconception and many farmers shun from it. Today, let’s take a dive in the stream of knowledge and find out what facts are and what just mere fictions are.
There are4 varieties of pawpaw trees in Kenya namely honey dew, Kiim Mountain, solo sunrise and finally Waimanalo. The pawpaw tree itself is in three different types
1. The female (pistillate) - this plant has all the female part but lacks the male parts. It is pollinated through cross pollination ( it is fertilized by another male plant pollen grain)produces fruits that are the sweetest in all the varieties
2. The male (staminate) - this type just contains the male parts and doesn’t produce any fruit.
3. The hermaphrodite- it contains both the male and the female parts on the same plant.
Pawpaw tree does well in climate that has a rainfall of about 1000mm with attitudes ranging between 0-1600 m above sea level. Temperature should be between 21-30 degrees centigrade. Soil is not a big issue as long as it can’t be water logged and has a ph of between 6.0 -6.5.
You can buy seeds from your local seed vendor but if you are a do-it-yourself just like me then it’s simple. Take seed from an already eaten pawpaw; remove the seed coat (sarcotesta) so as not to prevent it from germinating. Make holes of 1cm deep 15cm apart and put your 4-5 seeds then cover it. Give the seedlings 2-3weeks to germinate, you can reduce the seedlings to 3-4 after germination and give the seedling 4-5 weeks. At this time the seedling will be about 20cm tall.
You can now transfer it to your orchard. Here, put the seedling in a 60cm deep 60cm wide hole at a distance of 3m apart. Mix 18kg of manure and 60g of double phosphate fertilizer and add it to the soil and then top dress the seedling with 40g 0f CAN fertilizer. Remember, you will have to always add 200g of CAN or ASN each year for the next 4-5 years. (Although pawpaw has a life span of 10 years their economical value only spans for 4-5 years)
Pawpaw is a fruit with low calories, lots of potassium and vitamin A and C. it also helps in digestion and control of colon infection and cancer.
Assuming we are having 1hactare of land (2.5 acres) then, we will have1000 pawpaw trees each producing 30 paw paws. My simple mathematics tells me I get 30,000 pawpaw fruit per season. At local market price of Ksh 25, that’s an income of Ksh 750,000 per season. The expenditure is approximately Ksh 225,000 giving a profit of Ksh 525,000 per season. Pawpaw produces twice a year but under irrigation it produces 3 times a year.
This surely is a good venture. Don’t you think so?
Image source: ABC rural radio 2014