A growing number of growers are following the pattern as demand for dragon fruit in the Kenyan market increases. This is due to the dragon fruit’s scarcity and high intrinsic value in the African market.
A prosperous fruit plantation owned by Priscilla Nyairia and her husband is located in Laikipia County. Pomegranates, apples, peaches, mulberries, and other fruit trees may be found on their farm, Wonderful Heaven Orchard.
Their primary investment, however, is going into growing red-skinned dragon fruits.
Priscilla Nyairia revealed in an interview with Lynn Ngugi that her husband, whom she had met while they were both on attachment during their campus days, had introduced her to the practice of growing dragon fruit.
Her husband had a strong agricultural background but was pursuing a Business & IT course at SEKU. While they were in college, Priscilla was majoring in computer science.
The couple’s journey began when they brought their first seedlings from The Philippines. Each seedling cost $10, and an additional $10 was required for shipment. Consequently, the total price for each seedling was $20.
They started farming modestly, planting 100 dragon fruit trees in 2020. The farm was expanded at a cost of Sh. 200,000 by multiplying cuttings and transferring them as the dragon fruits continued to flourish.
They made Sh. 800,000 in earnings during their first season after selling more than Sh. 1 million worth of their 200 dragon fruit trees’ harvest.
The couple has never looked back since their accomplishment. Many Kenyans, according to Priscilla, have reservations about the possibility of dragon fruit growing on Kenyan soil, but their perseverance and experience have shown that this is not the case.
For instance, a couple consulted an agronomic 9 months after propagating the seedlings. The agronomist raised doubt about the viability of growing this fruit, which is regarded as the most expensive fruit in the entire world.
A single dragon fruit plant has the capacity to produce up to 50 fruits during each of the four harvest seasons that can occur in a year.
Due to increased market rivalry, the price of dragon fruits in Kenya has dropped to Sh. 300. A kilogram of dragon fruit can still be purchased for between Sh. 700 and Sh. 1,000.
More Kenyans should join the initiative to grow this enigmatic fruit, according to Priscilla Nyairia. More than 10 farmhands and countless casual laborers in her town now have jobs thanks to her efforts.