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Monica Waiganjo: Retiree Involved in Dragon Fruit Farming Shares How Farmers Can Make Up to Ksh 2 Million Per Acre

Monica Waiganjo
Dragon fruit farmer Monica Waiganjo PHOTO/Nation

Monica Waiganjo is among a small group of farmers who made the bold move of quitting their jobs to venture into farming.

In 2022, she retired from her job at Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) to venture into dragon fruit farming.

Monica has since found success in her new venture, and she also sells other fruits including avocados, pawpaws and pomegranates.

Here is her story as told by EAFeed.

Monica, a horticultural expert, said she settled for dragon fruit farming because it is the most economically viable compared to other fruits.

She started her cultivation with cuttings she had obtained from mature dragon fruit plants.

“Dragon fruit is easy. It can grow anywhere in the country, the olive variation is that it will do well in hotter areas,” Monica shared in an interview.

In terms of how much land is needed, Monica said even a quarter-acre land is enough for commercial dragon fruit farming.

She recommended minimum of four seedlings per post.

“If you do a spacing of 2.5 and 3 metres, you can get about 155 posts. From those you can get a good amount of income,” she shared.

Monica advised small scale farmers to consider dragon fruit farming due to its advantages which include a long lifespan.

While one plant can yield up to four kilogrammes, farmers can also do value addition to by making wine, juice, jam and crisps from the fruit.

“The juice prepared comes from the skin. The fruit is rich in fiber and helps strengthen the immune system. It has lycopene which is a valuable element in the control of cancer as well as magnesium. The seeds are also rich in Omega 3,” Monica said.

Monica added that farmers can make up to Ksh 2 million from one acre of land, in two harvesting seasons.

Dragon fruit
A dragon fruit farm PHOTO/Climate Lens

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.

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.

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