In Summary
  • To start out, he bought 300 seedlings from the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) at Sh250 each.
  • Mr Mambo says he has been growing the trees since 2004 when Mumias Sugar Company, in collaboration with Kalro, introduced the plant
  • One acre accommodates 42 palm trees, according to Mr Mambo, and a stem of the crop yields up to Sh5,400 a year.
  • Titus Omengo, a Kakamega county official, says palm tree farming is in the County Integrated Development Plan as one of the crops which need to be promoted.

Dressed in navy-blue trousers and a matching T-shirt, Joseph Abuti holds a tiny fruit from a giant palm tree.
The fruit is one among a bunch produced by the tree on his farm in Lunza, Butere.

The farmer switched to growing palm trees for oil after ditching sugar cane, whose fortunes have greatly dwindled.
Today, he is steadily reaping the fruits of his new venture. “I grow palm trees on five acres,” says Mr Abuti, who embraced the agribusiness in 2011.

To start out, he bought 300 seedlings from the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) at Sh250 each.

His farm now boasts of 250 palm trees, from which he harvests fruits to process oil.

He is among tens of farmers in Matungu, Mumias West, Mumias East and Butere sub-counties who are growing the palm trees.

Away from Mr Abuti’s farm, we meet Saleh Mambo on the outskirts of Mumias Town.

Mr Mambo says he has been growing the trees since 2004 when Mumias Sugar Company, in collaboration with Kalro, introduced the plant.

Mambo, one of the pioneer farmers of the crop in the region, says after training several farmers, the miller then distributed seedlings and established three processing plants at Nasira in Busia, at Alupe Kalro station and at the Mumias Sugar factory. The project, however, did not thrive as planned.

One acre accommodates 42 palm trees, according to Mr Mambo, and a stem of the crop yields up to Sh5,400 a year.
The crop takes about six years to become productive and yields for a maximum of six years continuously.

“Harvesting is a continuous process because our farm has over 250 palm trees,” says Mr Mambo.

LABOURIOUS EXERCISE

Harvested fruits are threshed to remove berries from batches and then cleaned.

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