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Kenya: Water Scarcity Hurts Nakuru Fruit Farming

Lack of water for irrigation is the major constraint to the production of fruits in Nakuru and other Central Rift Valley districts, an agricultural society official has said. "Soils in this region are sandy and fruit plantations are quickly stressed by lack of adequate moisture during the dry spell," said the Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers (Nakuru Chapter) chairman Samuel Gitonga.

Kenyan Fruit Vendor

He said that most of the fruits produced by farmers in the area were processed by individuals locally due to lack of processing factories around the region. Mr Gitonga cited tomato and passion fruit juices as some of the products currently being processed by individuals using blenders and sold to hotel owners around the town.

Farmers in the Rift Valley Province produce about 2,000 metric tonnes of passion fruit and more than 3,000 metric tonnes of mangoes annually. Mr Gitonga said farmers in Bahati and Subukia grow fruits under rain-fed conditions due to lack of reliable irrigation schemes.

"Fruits such as water melons and papaws sold in Nakuru Town are grown at Perkerra Irrigation Scheme which is managed by the National Irrigation Board," Mr Gitonga said. The province produces about 4,000 metric tonnes of papaws and more than 8,000 metric tonnes of pineapples annually.

The agricultural official said that the production of oranges was greatly hampered by plant diseases and called on farmers to source for their planting materials from disease-free nurseries. Banana production is on the increase owing to the availability of high yielding and disease resistant tissue culture varieties, Mr Gitonga said.

The province produces between 20,000 and 30,000 metric tonnes of bananas and about 5,000 metric tonnes of avocados annually.


Publication date: 10/3/2007


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