Pixie farming has become a lucrative venture for the youth to undertake and rake in millions in the process.
Pixie is a fleshy, easy to peel, and highly nutritious fruit that is yellow-orange in colour. The crop has been gaining traction in Kenya with the market extending to the Eastern and Coastal region such as Machakos, Kitui and Voi.
The yellow-orange fruit is mistaken for normal oranges but in the case of Justus Kimeu, a large-scale farmer of pixie crops in Makueni, the rare fruits yield more profit as opposed to oranges.
"Pixie does very well in arid and semi-arid areas. Further, the prices per kilogram of pixie fruits are three times higher than for oranges. When oranges are retailing at Ksh50 per kilogram, pixie retails at Ksh150 making it a highly profitable business," Kimeu told Kenyans.co.ke
He noted that he had ventured into orange farming at first but it did not yield the desired profits- which later led to him considering planting pixie fruits.
Kimeu pointed out that the said fruits attain their maturity age within 18 months, whereby the farmers can start earning the income.
"In the case of cross-cutting, depending on whether you're doing it for rainfed, or irrigation, give it a maximum of 250 trees since some areas might be dry and multiply it with the retail price of Ksh150 per kilo, you get Ksh37,500 yield per acre.
Kimeu has 6.5 acres in which he has planted pixie, tangerine, and Washington native plants. Out of these fruits, he pointed out that pixie yields the highest amount of profit.
"Talk of ten tonnes of pixie from an acre of land, multiply it with Ksh150 per kilogram, you get Ksh1.5 million sales for the harvest, that is good money and note we have gone with the lowest number of pixies per acre," Kimeu stated.
He noted that for oranges to yield the same results, a farmer would have to harvest 30 tonnes from their land.
Pixie thrives in arid and semi-arid areas although it performs best in sandy soils. For optimum performance, they ought to be grown in well-drained soils with a 6.5-7.3 pH range.
The fruits thrive in ideal temperatures. The plants are, however, sensitive to extremely low or high temperatures.
The fruits grow well in altitudes of up to 2,100 meters above sea level,,
When planting pixie orchards, proper spacing should be considered (a spacing of four meters by five meters for an acre of land.)
The holes should have a diameter of two feet by two feet and two feet deep.
The topsoil should be mixed with manure in order to improve soil fertility, drainage and aeration. Mulching and planting of the cover crops is encouraged to minimise the growth of weeds.