Engineer finds sweet smell in parsley farm

Enterprise

Engineer finds sweet smell in parsley farm


parsley

A parsley farmer in Nyeri. The crop has a bigger export market. PHOTO PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • He reveals that the best Italian parsley seeds, which he grows, are sold at prices ranging from Sh1,000 to Sh4,000, depending on the package.
  • His produce is organically grown, using chicken manure or goat manure. He has planted the crop in an open area which is half an acre.
  • According to him, parsley takes three months to mature and can be harvested for up to six months since, during harvest, the cut stems keep growing.

Stephen Wachira is a communication engineer by profession. However, the 40-year-old father of three has a passion for farming. He grows parsley among other herbs, that enable him to earn extra coins.

“I’m a communications engineer by profession and I have an interest in farming. My parents were ordinary subsistence farmers and I had a desire to do more productive and profitable farming, other than just growing crops for our home consumption only, ”says Wachira, who grows the crops in Kimunyu, along Kenyatta Road, Kiambu County.

He reveals that he ventured into herbs farming with as little as Sh15,000. “I decided to look for farming (activity) that is more profitable,” he says.

However, before embarking on this kind of farming, Mr Wachira visited various herbs farmers to learn about parsley.

“Parsley is a plant that its leaves are commonly used by hotels to garnish food. Most of the parsley is for export since local usage is small, but it is growing with time. Parsley is also used for its health benefits since it is among the plants rich in vitamin K, ”explains the farmer.

He adds that growing parsley requires one to get good and certified seeds.

He reveals that the best Italian parsley seeds, which he grows, are sold at prices ranging from Sh1,000 to Sh4,000, depending on the package.

His produce is organically grown, using chicken manure or goat manure. He has planted the crop in an open area which is half an acre.

“I’m planning to expand my planting area to one acre soon. Once I plant, I do ensure weeding is done and parsley require proper care, ”adds Wachira.

According to him, parsley takes three months to mature and can be harvested for up to six months since, during harvest, the cut stems keep growing.

He says that one kilogram of Italian parsley goes for Sh100 to Sh150, depending on market demand.

“Local demand is growing with time, and some are used by herbal juice makers and hotel industry for food garnishing. Most of parsley is exported for international markets, ”explains Wachira, who can manage to make between Sh100,000 and Sh150,000 when he sells 1,000 kilos of the herbs at a price of between Sh100 and 150 per kilo.

Herbs such as parsley are mainly sold overseas, and local market is not large.

However, most farmers grow and sell them to exporters. However, some hotels buy the produce from local farmers. It is advisable for one to have a contract so as not to produce the produce with no market to sell to.

The farmer advises anyone who would like to venture into this or any other farming to ensure that they have tested their soil first.

1,000 kilos

“Visit farmers in the same farming you want to venture in, get high-quality seeds. Always seek professional advice, ”he advises, adding that water is essential in every farming activity.

“We are also doing a test on other herbs like chamomile and sage, which are doing very well. Chamomile is used to make chamomile tea, which relieves anxiety and depression. Our Facebook page is Joylandfarm, ”says the farmer.

The farmer harvests over 1,000 kilos of parsley per month. He has intentions of expanding his acreage and look for export market, so as to be supplying his produce directly.

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