- For Muli and his wife Janet, they decided to venture into large-scale sukuma wiki farming as water was no longer a problem.
- To grow the crop, he first starts by planting seedlings in the nursery, where they stay for about a month before he transplants them to the main farm in spaces of 30cm from one crop and 60cm from one row to another.
- Muli is set to expand his farming business after winning Sh5 million in the Angukia Chapa lottery two weeks ago.
- Farmers should choose seeds that are high-yielding, resistant to diseases, hardy, suited to the ecological conditions in the specific area of production and varieties which are required by consumers in the market.
The day was chilly as we drove to Matakutha village in Tala, Machakos County to meet Mathew Muli, a horticulture farmer.
After about a 20km drive on a rough earthen road, we arrive on his farm.
Muli, a recent winner of Sh5 million windfall from a lottery, farms a number of crops but mainly bananas, sukuma wiki (collard greens), pawpaws and tomatoes. Occasionally, he grows maize and beans.
Sukuma wiki, however, is his main crop, which makes customers flock his two-acre farm every week.
“I have been farming the crop for the last five years. This is where I have been getting my daily bread and using the money to support my family,” says Muli, noting before he settled on sukuma wiki, he was a maize and beans farmer.
The switch to the popular vegetable followed the inauguration of a water project by the county government, with extension officers asking farmers to grow vegetables.
For Muli and his wife Janet, they decided to venture into large-scale sukuma wiki farming as water was no longer a problem.
“I grow the crop all-year-round and the good thing with sukuma wiki is that it takes a short time to mature. That means we are able to earn a living throughout,” says Muli, noting he invested into the project about Sh10,000 he saved from his previous farming activities.
He has been expanding the farm using the money he gets from the vegetable.
“I have partitioned the farm into sections where I plant at different times to ensure I harvest all-year-round.”
To grow the crop, he first starts by planting seedlings in the nursery, where they stay for about a month before he transplants them to the main farm in spaces of 30cm from one crop and 60cm from one row to another.
“I normally apply DAP fertiliser in every hole during planting and top-dress after two weeks and add manure when the leaves starts to fold,” he explains, adding animal manure helps to make the plant’s leaves sweet and soft.
He sprays the crops after every two weeks to prevent pests like Diamondback moth and cut worms and aphids and diseases like Black rot, Black leg, Club root and Damping off.
CHOOSE BEST QUALITY SEEDS
The plants must be watered twice a day to keep them healthy.