Peter Mwaka is a citrus farmer from Makueni County and the founder of Joyland Farms.
In an interview with K24 TV, the farmer disclosed that he has planted over 400 trees of pixie and minora orange varieties in his farm.
Pixie oranges are good for consumption, they are known for their sweet and juicy flavor, and are often seedless.
The trees are smaller than other types of oranges and are a good choice for small-scale farmers.
On the other hand, minora oranges are often used to make juices or garnish cocktails due to its sweetness and flavor.
This variety of oranges are rich in important nutrients including vitamin C and antioxidants.
A seedling of pixie oranges go for Ksh 500 and it can take up to two years in a seedbed before being shifted to the farm.
When planting the seedling, the hole must be at least two feet deep and two feet wide with a small hole at the middle for planting the seedling.
Manure and a lot of water is also required when planting the pixie oranges.
After planting, the orange will take at least two years before it’s first harvest, with a single tree producing over 200 fruits or 200 to 300 kilograms.
Pixie oranges which perform well in arid and semi-arid areas mature and start bearing between 2-3 years.
These oranges thrive well in sandy loamy soils and they should be grown in fertile and well-drained soils with a pH range of 6.5 – 7.3.
It ia important to note that pixie trees grow vigorously and proper spacing should be considered when setting up pixie orchards.
Common pests that affect pixie oranges include mites, bark-eating caterpillars, mealybugs, aphids, leaf miners and fruit flies.
Diseases include gummosis, collar rot, twig blight and damping-off.
A farmer seeking to venture into citrus farming will need between Ksh 200,000 to Ksh 300,000 if you have land.
However, the fruits have a handsome return on investment with a farmer pocketing at least Ksh 4.5 million in every harvesting season.
A kilogram of oranges sell Ksh 150 at a maximum.
Mwaka was introduced to orange farming in the late 1970s, and he planted 600 seedlings from which he harvested one tonne two years later.
“Somebody introduced me into orange farming in 1976. I planted 600 trees then I grafted and in 1978 I did my first harvest of about one tonne,” he said.
He sold the oranges as Ksh 5 per kilo.