Strawberries: Strolling into the exciting
Though it can be commercially produced on a small farm, strawberry remains largely unex¬ploited as the country spends millions of shillings importing the fruit
It is a favourite in jams, yoghurts, juices, cookies and milkshakes among other products and un-confirmed reports indicate that a prominent personality is growing them for export while manufactur-ers are importing the berries from Europe.
Other reports indicate that the government has directed compa-nies which produce/manufacture straw berry products using flavours to use natural fruits, that are rich in calcium, vitamin e; calcium, phos-phorous, magnesium and fibre.
The companies have started im-porting the plants and fruits since the local growers cannot satisfy the demand.
This also means there is a ready market for the fruits, which Mr Mureithi said can be commercially produced on a small parcel of land
"Strawberry farming has a high potential to employ very many of our jobless youth," said Joseph Mureithi, the Principal of Waruhiu Farmers Training Centre. During this year's annual farmer field day Strawberries on show at the rogita Consultant s stand at the Waruhiu Farmers training institute farmer field day i held at the centre in July, a straw¬berry stand was packed with curi-regular watering, fruits continu-export ones. making a path of 50cm between ous visitors, many as surprised as ously and harvested weekly. Strawberries are grown from the beds for easier spraying and the Horticultural News team with There are 42 varieties of straw-splits, and are suitable for tempera-watering. One has to prepare the the expert display of the fruits by berries, three for export and the tures of between 10 degrees C and bed well by leveling it with a rake. Rogita Plants Consultants. rest for the local market. Chandler, 30 degrees C therefore they can Mix the topsoil with manure at
According to Robert Gitau, Pajero and Sulphur fall in the hybrid grow in every part of the country. 20kg buckets per square metre Rogita's managing director, straw-category and are grown for export.To produce strawberries, one then water the bed well with water-berry farming may be easy but it Local varieties have a red stem has to prepare the land well. Make/ ing cans/drips. From the edge of demands dedication as it requires and a thick fur not found with the uplift the beds to one metre width the bed one has to leave a space ofworld of strawberry farming
15cm to make a small hole for the triangle to give the plants enough ply the planting chemical Molcap, healthy leaves. plants, 30cm from plant to plant and space to flower on all sides. Nembidicene 2gms per hole and During the rainy season, the 30 cm from line to line in an isolated Before planting one has to ap-mix with the soil then plant the split strawberry is attacked by fungal
firmly and level the ground prop-diseases which target the leaves erly. After planting, water every leaving brown spots. It is advisable evening. to spray with a fungicide like COTAF,
In the first month, deflower the Master to fight the diseases. first and second flowers to prevent Ants are also a big threat to premature cropping and top dress strawberries and it is advisable to with CAN at one table spoon/10gms spray with a pesticide like ATOM, per hole between the plants. This Tata Umeme, or Vapcomic helps the plants to take only what After every seven months, thin-it requires. ning is done to remove three splits
At the second month the plants pro-from every plant making them self-duce healthy flowers. Top dress with reliable.
plants, pruning is vital for the straw-er requires at least 1,000 therefore berry. It is done after every two not many people can afford them.