Better returns make Kenyan growers trade in sukumawiki cultivation for chillis

For years, Makutano farm in Kanduyi, Bungoma County, was specialised in growing the collard green vegetable, commonly known as sukumawiki. Unfortunately, this form of agriculture is not only labour intensive, but also has small profit margins.

However, the farm has since transformed to a chilli farm, with only very minimal traces of sukumawiki. Amos Sifuna, the farm's manager, specialises in growing the Bird's Eye chilli variety, which is characterized by small chillies and a strong aroma.

A week ago, he got his maiden harvest from this crop, and is looking forward to the next harvest in a few days.

Having planted it in April, he had anticipated to get the first harvest in August. But long rains delayed the crop's maturity. Still, Sifuna is hoping for a bumper harvest which will result to handsome returns. Chilli farming is a more lucrative agribusiness compared to sukumawiki. From one acre of chilli, Mr Sifuna anticipates to be making over Sh50,000 monthly. "I hope to be harvesting about 50 kilogrammes every week and sell at Sh250 per kilo," he says. He used to make Sh60,000 from sukumawiki farming annually and had to replant the crop after every season.

[ Sh100 = €0.88 ]


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