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AGRIBUSINESS FLOURISHES WITH UNIQUE DRAGON FRUIT VENTURE

A dragon fruit also known as pitahaya or strawberry pear, is a tropical fruit known for its vibrant fruit known for its red skin and sweet , seed speckled pulp. The fruit is commonly found in the Far East Asian Countries making it a unique fruit to be grown in Kenya.

As part of supporting Micro Small and medium enterprises in the Agribusiness subsector, the MSEA Meru team visited Mr. Anthony Kinoti Mugambi, the agribusiness entrepreneur and owner of Gravity farm in Meru County who is also referred to as the ‘King of Dragon Fruit’ due to his extensive dragon fruit farming on his 5 acre land in Muujwa, Imenti South Sub-County.

Mr. Kinoti informed MSEA officers that his interest in growing the dragon fruit plant emerged after he was offered one by a friend, he later researched and learned that the fruit comes in yellow and pink varieties. Further he learned about its many benefits which include high levels of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, vitamin A and C. Geographical, the fruits grows well in arid and semi-arid areas.

Mr. Kinoti Mugambi, showing his farm produce.

His farm in Meru County is in a semi-arid area which further fueled his desire to start dragon fruit farming in 2013.The farm has more than 40,000 fruit stems, in the peak season each fruit stem can produce up to 5kgs which sells at Kshs. 1,000 per kg. Key point to note, is that each fruit can weigh between 500gms to 1kg. The plant matures after 12 to 18 months if planted from its vines through propagation, although it can also be planted from seedlings but takes more time.

The farm has not only received local visitors, but also International visitors from Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Malawi, DRC, Mozambique and Uganda.

Mr. Kinoti plans to venture into value addition of the fruit to more products i.e crisps, food color, lipstick, soap, shampoo, moisturizers, jam, juice, yoghurt and wine among others.  The Authority will support his venture through exposure to markets access opportunities locally and regionally as well as offer capacity building through the business development trainings.

Some fruits from gravity farm

Mr. Mugambi preparing to fufil an order

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