Income From Passion Fruit Farming Cannot Compare To My Salary As A Banker

From a far, the beautiful passion fruit farm looks like a big flower garden neatly divided into sections with each plant in its proper place.

Most of the motorists on the busy Baricho–Kerugoya Road slow down or even stop by to admire the beauty of this farm. It is an outstanding display of the passion in farming of one young man George Kuria, 27, an International Business Administration graduate from the United States International University.

George Kuria in his passion fruit farm: Kirinyaga, Kenya

Kuria quit a high-income job at Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) in 2013 after working for less than a year to venture into agribusiness. His main activity is passion fruit farming, but has an eye for other money making fruits as you will see. 

However, nothing has come easy or as he expected, but as Kuria recounts his story on his farm at Mombasa Ndogo in Mukinduri, Kirinyaga County, you will see the point in his optimism that “money is in the soil” - or what we say in our slogan, "Udongo ni Mali."

By 2015, two years after quitting the banking job, he was making some very good money from his agribusiness, ranging between Sh2,000 and Sh3,000 per day and going up to Sh4,000 on good days.

His two-acre farm curved out of his family’s 12 acres has three main fruits – pawpaws, tree tomatoes and passion fruits. Passion fruit occupies the biggest portion, earning him the highest income and is harvested regularly besides having the longest profitable life.

“Today I sit in the farm and get calls from buyers,” he says, adding: “All I need to do is confirm that the fruits are available then I prepare the package for each of the buyers for collection after they have paid on mobile money.”

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“Before I started this venture, I had learnt a lot about fruit farming during my regular visits to the local farms and the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) in Embu.”

Kuria started his crop farming venture with capsicum and watermelons, but he later switched to fruits. He planted 100 tree tomatoes, 100 pawpaws and 100 passion plants.

In 6 months, the grafted passion fruits started to bring him a harvest of Sh500 daily. With each harvest, the yield went higher and so more money started flowing in. Seeing this, he increased the plants to 300 and now the fruit occupies the biggest portion of the two acres.

He sells forty kgs of passion fruits making a total sales reaching Sh3,000 daily. This season has been particularly kind to his efforts as his income has gone up to Sh4,000 daily where it has stabilised since October last year.

Kuria is now a well-known farmer and one of the largest passion fruit grower in Mukinduri ward inhabited by over 20,000 residents. Living in an area where residents shun fruit farming, his is a huge eye opener in the area, supplying daily to about 20 retail traders based at the main Kerugoya open air market.

Kuria also supplies pawpaws worth over Sh75,000 every two months and tree tomatoes worth Sh15,000 every month.

All the three fruits are long-term crops and require “intensive work of regular pruning, monitoring and spraying while passion in particular requires large capital of posts and wires and labour, which puts off many farmers,” he says.

Passion fruits, which remains productive for up to six years are “heavy feeders”, according to Kuria, which means one must always have animal and compost manure. To get quality manure, an animal needs to be fed with good pasture and the manure must also be stored and handled properly to reduce loss of nutrients.

This is a tall order for many farmers used to traditional methods especially in areas where the old control land use, says Alex Njenga, a Ministry of Agriculture agronomist in Kiambu.

To become successful in fruit farming, information is the most important asset. If you need help in setting up your fruit farming business, do not hesitate to call us on 0724698357. 


Anonymous said...

Bi that's very encouraging, that a man can quit being a bank employee to do farming, keep it up

Anonymous said...

Am in Malawi and am so interested in fruit farming,the challenge is marketing

Anonymous said...

Am in Uganda I have the land and the information about passion fruit farming but my challenge is the middle men who exploit the farmers. How do I get connected to the exporters and who are they?