How profitable is managu farming? The lush green African nightshade commonly referred to as managu plants sitting on one acre can be seen from meters away on the farm in Ol jabet Laikipia county.

Alex, 26 the owner of the farm started the agribusiness in April 2020 after losing his job as an accountant at a children’s home in Nyahururu town due to covid 19 disruption.

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Alex leased an acre at sh 10,000 a year to grow the vegetables but started with a quarter-acre since he had no capital to invest on the entire farm.

However, he has since expanded his enterprise to cover the entire one-acre farm.

“I did research and understood the challenges farmers go through by selling to brokers. I thus chose to do things differently after my first harvest,” says Alex.

He opened a WhatsApp group dubbed nightshade weekly orders through which he gets customers orders every Saturday and delivers the produce at their homes.

“Due to high demand, I close the orders on Thursday evening to have enough time to plan the routes on Friday before I deliver on Saturday afternoon to customers in Nyahururu town, Nakuru, Ol kalau, and Gilgil,” says Alex who farms his produce organically.

How profitable is managu farming

“Managu needs very soft soils. I till the land, harrow, and then apply manure and plant the seeds direct into the soil. The plant requires plenty of manure and water which I get from the nearby stream,” explains Alex, noting tilling with a tractor costs sh 8000.

From a quarter acre that requires 120g of seeds and two pick-up trucks of manure go for sh 14,000, he earns 5000 weekly with the harvesting starting after about one month.

pests in managu farming

The farmer grows the crops at different times to ensure the harvest throughout the year. “My biggest challenge is whiteflies which are more severe during the dry periods and drought. Heavy winds in the area sometimes also cause damage.”

He packs the vegetables in different sizes of packs that go from sh 50 to sh 200.

“I have a motorbike that I use to supply the vegetables in Nyahururu town and I have a special arrangement with a transporter who delivers at a common collection center for customers in Nakuru and other towns.”

Daniel kamakia, an agricultural officer in Nyahururu says African nightshade does well in most parts of the country but requires adequate watering and rich soils.

“The crop should be planted in areas that receive rainfall of above 500mm annually or under irrigation. It’s short-season crop but needs good care for better results.”

Credits Waikwa Maina

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