Paul Munyaga, a Kenyan farmer, had an interesting journey to becoming a successful pumpkin farmer. He had originally secured employment at a friend’s coffee farm but this job did not last long due to his employer’s passing. Fortunately, Munyaga was able to find another job where he learned about the intricacies of farming pumpkins.
Munyaga told The Star that former Ng’enda MCA Michael Kuria allowed him to work at his farm where he learned about pumpkin farming and how it was a lucrative business. Kuria gave Munyaga organic pumpkin seeds which he had brought from Israel after an agricultural tour. This marked the beginning of Munyaga’s journey as a pumpkin farmer.
Munyaga uprooted the coffee plants he had in his own farm as he felt they were not profitable enough. He had already gained knowledge of what he needed in order to grow pumpkins so it was not difficult to start. He planted the first batch of pumpkins on his two-acre farm in 2017. From his initial harvest, he made Sh200,000 which to him was a huge blessing.
Munyaga sold his produce in Ngara when a broker spotted him and bought all of them. The broker sold the pumpkins to a Chinese company at Sh50 per kilogram, making Munyaga realize how lucrative this venture was. By 2021, he was planting 600 pumpkin plants on his farm, which would in turn produce 15 to 20 tonnes of the vegetable. One kg pumpkin goes for Sh15 to Sh50 while a 15kg pumpkin fetches him between Sh300 to Sh700.
Just by selling 15 tonnes to a trader contracted by the United Nations in 2021, he made Sh300,000 after selling for Sh20 per kilogram. According to Munyaga, the vegetable was very profitable and one didn’t even need much to grow them. He only needs water and two lorries of manure, which were at the time going for Sh70,000. He does not worry about the market since apart from selling them to businesses, he can sell to locals. There is also the added advantage that harvested pumpkins can stay up to five months without going bad.
Munyaga emphasized that as long as the correct methods are followed while planting the crops, the yields would be good. One