How watermelon has turned into gold for farmers and fruit venture
If you are looking for agribusiness venture , then you should consider water melon agribusiness. This can be the best idea for both farmers and fruit ventures as it is making individuals rich and many are making millions out of it.
Kenyans have over time learned to embrace watermelon. Currently watermelon is one of the most sort after fruits on the market. Farmers and fruit ventures are now making a kill out of watermelon business and the fruit has now been branded as gold.
Some few years ago you would buy the whole bunch of watermelon just for Ksh20, currently a slice of watermelon is going for the same price and it is growing thinner and thinner everyday.
Watermelon is about 93% water but contains essential vitamins C,B and A. It is also high in protein, mangnesium and is essential in managing body temperature, body weight and blood pressure. Scientists say that watermelon’s high lycopene levels — about 15 to 20 milligrams per 2-cup serving, according to the National Watermelon Promotion Board — some of the highest levels of any type of fresh produce.
Lycopene is a phytonutrient, which is a naturally occurring compound in fruits and vegetables that reacts with the human body to trigger healthy reactions. It is also the red pigment that gives watermelons, tomatoes, red grapefruits and guavas their colour.
Stories of individuals whose livelihoods changed for the better when they ventured into watermelon farming and businesses have been told over and over again. One such is the story of Maureen Chemutai from Marigat in Baringo who has been selling watermelon since 2013.
Her long journey to success can be attributed to hard work and determination to see the business flourish. But then, watermelon was not so much consumed and was not as expensive as it is today.
After high school at Ngeria Girls’ in Uasin Gishu, Chemutai came face to face with harsh realities of poverty.
“I decided to do something to generate some income for the family. In 2013, I moved to Marigat from Eldoret town where the rest of the family was living and started selling watermelons from a wheelbarrow at the market place. I could buy melons worth KSh500 and make a profit of KSh400,” explains Chemutai.
The humble beginnings have seen Chemutai grow over years and now she buys melons in tons worth hundreds of thousands of shillings. Her fortunes have multiplied and when she looks back, she has no regrets.
There are around 14 varieties of watermelon that are found in Kenya. As a farmer who is practicing Agribusiness, or a business person who wants to venture into fruit venting, it is best to find out which watermelon variety will fetch the highest price and demand on the market.
In this article, we take a look at all you need to know about the different varieties of watermelon found in Kenya. In general all breeds of watermelons are easy to manage and maintain. Here are some of the common varieties of watermelon found in Kenya.
- Sukari F1 Hybrid- this averages 7kgs per fruit and is very popular due to its size and sweetness.
- Early scarlet F1. Early Scarlet F1 can weigh up to 12kgs and can yield 60 tonnes per acre. It has deep red flesh, with a dark green outer rind. It matures in 85 days
- Sugar baby, who fruits average 3-4kgs and crops mature early 62-80days.
- Charleston grey variety fruits that average 9kg and is late maturing 85-110 days. It is also the best drought resistant variety.
- Pato F1 it’s as sweet as Sukari F1.
- Sweet beauty- which it takes 80 days of maturity and has red-flesh.
- Golden midget which takes 70 days to mature. Bears petite, yellow skinned with pink flesh.
Also Read:Good People Still Exists | Man Returns Money He Found In Matatu To The Owner Maturity period, size, resistance to diseases and size of the water melon are some of the factors a farmer should consider when choosing the variety of water melon to plant.
Watermelon can either be planted directly on the seedbed. However some farmers prefer raising the seedlings first in a nursery before transplanting them to the farm.
Watermelons requires alkaline PH soil to grow well. It is therefore advisable to add lime to the soil so as to maintain the alkaline PH. This should be done at an interval of 3 years. Watermelon grows well in well-drained soils with a pH of between 6.0 to 6.8. This means that watermelon will do well in soils that are slightly acidic.
Considering a large percentage of watermelon is water, the fruit requires plenty of water for survival. Consider watering if you are not in the rainy season where the soil does not have enough water.
Climate conditions for watermelon farming
Watermelon grows better in warm weather with optimal temperature of between 22 decrees Celsius to 28 degrees Celsius. Lower temperatures can result to low yield. Watermelon can be grown in most parts of the coutry as the plant requires an altitude ranges of between 0 to 1500 metres above sea level, with rainfalls of 400 to 400mm per year.
Watermelon is one of the easiest crop to market as there is a ready market. Business people are buying the fruit in bulk and an sure you have seen watermelon being hawked around in almost every corner of your estated.