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HomeWealthWalter Maunge: Investing In Dragon Fruit Farming, Kenya’s Most Expensive Fruit

Walter Maunge: Investing In Dragon Fruit Farming, Kenya’s Most Expensive Fruit

Walter Muange is a dragon fruit farmer from Masii, Machakos County where he has planted 200 dragon fruit plants.

Dragon fruits are native to Central and South America, the breed grown in Kenya has a bright red skin and red flesh.

The red flesh had black seed which are edible, and it tastes like kiwi.

The fruit is good for digestion as it contains high fiber content that reduce constipation as well as boosting immunity due to high levels of Vitamic C.

It also improves skin health, helps to manage diabetes and provides cardiovascular support due to antioxidants that help lower blood pressure.

Dragon fruit farming

Muange has planted two branches in each of the 125 posts that he has mounted in his farm.

Speaking to Red Fox TV, the farmer explained that he expects to harvest at least 50 fruits from each pillar in the farm.

“One stem should have five healthy branches and one branch can give you hopefully more than five fruits. Each pillar should be able to give you about 50 fruits,” he said.

Adding; “This is quite good as you know one fruit is retailing at about Ksh 1,500 a kilo; we sell as wholesale at Ksh 400 per piece or on low season KSh 600 per kilo.”

Muange uses old motorbike tires tied on top of the pillars to provide support for the dragon plants as they grow.

“When one stem comes through, you do what we call tipping so that it produces five more branches. You don’t allow it to overgrow,” he added.

The farmer uses one liter of water per week on the dragon fruit plants on normal temperature and two liters of water on hot temperatures.

He also uses extra lighting for faster fruit production.

“Instead of getting two harvest seasons per year, you can harvest it anytime of the year. That’s why I’ve put extra lighting; low energy bulbs,” Muange explained.

A dragon fruit bud takes 13 days to develop into a flower from a node after which it will open up for pollination on the night of the 13th day.

It is important to note that tis the only chance that the flower has to get pollinated, if pollination doesn’t happen then, the flower will not grow into a fruit.

Otherwise, it will develop into a fruit that will be ripe and ready for harvesting after 38 days since pollination.

Overall, it only takes 52 days from the day a fruit bud emerges to have a fruit ready.

Dragon fruits do well in arid and semi-arid areas with a temperature rate of between 20°c- 30°c and annual rainfall of about 40-60mm.

Pests that  attack dragon fruits include mites, thrips, ants, scale insects, mealy bugs, beetles, slugs, borers, nematodes, fruit flies and rodents.

Diseases include stem rot, anthracnose and fungal pathogens such as Fusarium spp. and Aspergillus spp.