When a group of Kikuyu men from Central Kenya visited Sabina Nyasuguta’s home on the outskirts of Kisii town in Kisii County to identify where they could sell grafted orange and avocado seedlings in 2015, she saw an opportunity to enter into the business since the seedlings were scarce in Kisii.
She constructed a private tree nursery next to her home where she began by planting grafted seedlings of avocado, and later added oranges, mangoes and bananas among others at her small farm.
Nyasuguta noted that lack of grafted species in the area motivated her to build the nursery and venture into the business saying that residents had only planted ordinary fruits that take a longer period to yield.
Some of the varieties of grafted seedlings that are planted at the nursery include Hass avocado, Chandler strawberry, Tissue Culture banana, Washington orange, Pepino melon and Jack fruit.
“A ripe ordinary avocado is sold at Sh.10 as compared to grafted one that goes for Sh.30. Grafted avocados are usually exported because they contain more fats and weight. They are also beneficial because a farmer can sell their scions, making good profits,” said Nyasuguta.
The grafted fruit seedlings farmer pointed out that dry season is one of her major challenges saying that customers who buy the seedlings are few and she is forced to incur losses because the seedlings overstay in the nursery.
“Though my business has established a wide market, the introduction of Covid-19 greatly affected it because most people lost their jobs and other sources of livelihood and hence, I have been receiving only one or two customers lately,” she added.
Nyasuguta urged women to start planting grafted seedlings because they only need a small piece of land and will get high yields that will improve their livelihood.
She also asked them to utilize small places to practice organic farming, saying sacks can be used to plant vegetables for home consumption rather than going to the market to buy vegetables on a daily basis.
By Augustine Mosioma and Mercy Osongo