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P. 43

WEALTH CREATION

Nursery                                    Chomba reveals that at the early stages,   SACCO Star that it costs about Ksh.100,
“I start by preparing sunken nurseries     he uses high phosphorous foliar feeds      000 to produce 1 acre of tomatoes.
or by growing the tomato seeds in          and then substitutes them with high
polythene bags. They germinate within      nitrogenous and potassium foliar feeds.    Moses explains to us that for him
5 to 7 days,” he says.                                                                achieve his target of 3 harvests a year,
                                           Watering                                   he plants in 3 different sections of his
At the nursery he manages to keep his      “I water twice a week unless this is       farm, thus practicing rotational farming.
plants free of diseases by using DAP,      substituted by sufficient rainfall,”
pesticides and fungicides to avoid         Chomba says.                               “If the 3 harvests are successful, I make
cutworms, crickets, dumping off and                                                   sales of about Ksh.3, 750, 000 a year out
blight.                                    Pest and disease management                of tomatoes only,” he adds.
                                           Chomba has a schedule to spray once
Chomba says that watering and              a week. However, in case there is a         What is your word of advice to
weeding is key to producing a healthy      disease, pest threat or breakout he         beginners?	
seedling. Within 21 to 28 days his         sprays his crops twice a week.              •	 Prepare well, buy the key farming
seedlings are ready for transplanting.
                                           “The most problematic tomato pests              assets first; pumps, pipes major
“Ensure the seedlings do not overgrow      in this area include Tuta absoluta,             inputs and have ready money for
to avoid retarding problems,” he           whiteflys, spidermites thrips and aphids.       labor.
advises.                                   The diseases include tomato leaf curl       •	 Be near a permanent source of
                                           (commonly known as Gathuri) bacterial           water.
Land preparation                           wilt, yellow blight, early and late         •	 Seek advice from farmers who have
Chomba ploughs the land and digs           blights,” he adds.                              done it before.
trenches about six inches deep and 60                                                  •	 Start small and grow steadily.
cm apart. He then partitions them at       To manage these diseases well, Chomba
three meters apart for ease of holding     advices farmers to use hybrid varieties     What is your major challenge?
water and general management.              which are more tolerant to diseases.        •	 Unstructured market systems and

Transplanting                              Staking                                         value chains.
“The best time to transplant is late in    This refers to propping up or supporting    •	 Harsh weather conditions
the afternoon to avoid midday sunlight     a plant. Chomba says that this is an        •	 Poor assistance from extension
which is harmful to the seedlings,” he     important practice which should be
says.                                      done as soon as the tomatoes start              services.
                                           flowering.                                  •	 Poor rain patterns hence water
After thorough watering is done at a
spacing of 60cm from plant to plant,       “Staking allows easy spraying, weeding          rationing
then application of a compound             and watering and prevents the crop from
fertilizer is done 7 to 10 days after      contacting the ground.                      Where do you see yourself in the next
planting.                                                                              3 years?
                                           Harvesting                                  •	 I will be producing enough to
Fertigation                                This season, Chomba is looking forward
Chomba starts with a compound              to harvesting approximately 50 crates a         directly market in Nairobi.
fertilizer, for instance DAP at 10 to      week, for a period of 5 weeks.              •	 I plan on having my own trucks to
20gms per plant to offer a strong start
and strong root formation.                 From these 250 crates, Moses projects           ferry tomatoes to the market.
                                           that the pricing will be approximately
“3 weeks after, I boost it with Yaramilla  Ksh.5000 per crate.                         Your final word
cereal and after 3 more weeks, I use                                                   •	 Youths should not look down on
Nitrabor as a top dress,” he says.         This totals to a gross income of Ksh.
                                           1,250,000 per acre. He indicates to the         farming, as it is a profitable venture.
                                                                                       •	 Farmers should observe P.H.I to

                                                                                           avoid chemical residue related
                                                                                           diseases.

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