Animated Social Gadget - Blogger And Wordpress Tips

Monday, 23 June 2014

Matwiku farmers urged to grow Stevia

By Bob Aston
Matwiku farmers have been urged to grow Stevia plant as it has a high return and has low carbohydrate. Speaking while addressing Matwiku Horticulture Growers Self Help Group in a meeting organized by Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) at Matwiku in Ng’arua Division, Mr. John Njoroge Muiruri, Laikipia West PureCircle Ltd Director informed the farmers that they can improve their livelihood by investing in Stevia plant.
Stevia plant has been attracting attention with the rise in demand for low-carbohydrate, low sugar sweeteners. The plant has been introduced in Kenya by James Finlay Kenya Limited through PureCirce Kenya Ltd.
Mr. Njoroge addressing members of the group
Mr. Njoroge informed farmers that Stevia is a natural dietary sweetener and sugar substitute made from the leaves of the plant species stevia rebaudiana. Originally from Paraguay in South America, the plant has now been introduced in nine (9) counties by PureCirce Ltd.
“Main advantage of the plant over the common cane sugar is that it contains zero calories hence becoming a golden substitute especially for the diabetics,” said Mr. Njoroge.
He said the plant can be grown as a cash crop hence boosting the agro-economic activities of the farmers involved.  He said that one Stevia leaf is several hundred times sweeter than ordinary sugar.
He said one has a potential of getting up to 600 kgs of the Stevia plant in a one acre piece of land when dried. Currently a kilo goes for around Ksh 100 thus a farmer can manage kshs 60,000 gross income after every 3 months as production increases with every successive harvest.
“The plant needs no pesticides because most insects dislike the sweet juice in the plant’s leaves and it is also advisable to use organic fertilizer rather than the synthetic ones,” said Mr. Njoroge.
He said the plant has a ready market as they normally transport it to Malaysia for processing. He said that they require 3,000 Stevia farmers in Laikipia County adding that payment is normally done on 5th of every month and they do not grade the plant harvested.
He added that they are planning to set up a demonstration plot in Muthengera. Two farmers in the group also offered to given out land to be used as a demonstration plot. The farmers also decided that they will travel to Maili Saba in Nyahururu on 3rd June to visit one of the farmers who has planted the crop.
Post a Comment