Growing flowers for seed
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CTA. 2005. Growing flowers for seed. Rural Radio Resource Pack 05/2. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57187
Moses Kilusu grows ornamental flowers in order to harvest their seed, on his farm near Arusha in Tanzania. He works under contract to the Multiflower company.
Growing flowers for seed Cue: While the growing of flowers has expanded in certain parts of Africa in recent years, as a result of improved storage facilities and air links with European markets, it remains a minority farming activity. For small scale farmers, flower growing may only be possible if they have an agreement with a commercial company, who can provide the necessary seed and inputs, as well as a guaranteed market. For those who grow cut flowers, attention to detail is essential - if the flowers are to reach the customer looking their best, not only must they be expertly grown, but harvesting, packaging and transport must be done according to a very precise schedule. There is, however, another way to earn money from flowers, where the crop is not the flower itself, but the seed it produces. Selling flower seed is a big global business, and in some parts of Africa, farmers are benefiting from the profits to be made. Moses Kilusu, who lives near Arusha in northern Tanzania, is one such farmer. He spoke to Lazarus Laiser about his production of flower seeds. IN: ?Kisarian is a village situated? OUT: ? I am sure I will finish my house.? DUR?N 4?45? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Moses Kilusu, who grows flowers for seed production in northern Tanzania. Transcript Laiser Kisarian is a village situated in Arusha region just ten kilometres from Arusha. And I am standing with a farmer called Moses Kilusu who is living here in Kisarian and he has something to tell us about farming especially the high value crops that he is growing here in Kisarian. Kilusu (Vernac) The crop we depend on much as commercial crop is beans, but we have another one which is flowers. We started growing it when we discovered that it earns a lot of money. We get the seeds from Multiflower company Ltd. The type of flower we grow here in Kisarian are much productive which are hypomea, zinia, cosmo and targetta. But hypomea is the best and we grow mostly here because it can cope with our climate and soil type. Laiser Was it difficult to develop a market for the crop? Kilusu (Vernac) We have the company, they give us seeds free of charge with a condition of selling the seeds to them. So we have not got any problems of market but transport is upon us. Usually we are paid after three months. Laiser Why did you decide to grow this crop? Kilusu (Vernac) I left the other crops because their profit is very little. As you know that we get very little rain here. Crops like maize, beans, needs a lot of rain and yields are very few or poor. But these type of flowers only needs a little rain, it only receives rain three times and then you can get a ready yield. Laiser Mr Moses what are the difficult aspects of growing this crop? Kilusu (Vernac) There are difficulties. First you need to prepare your land or farm by digging it and once the rain has started you plant it. And after two weeks you need to weed it and spray to kill insects. Another difficulty is during the harvest. It is very difficult because you have to cut using a sharp knife and after that you have to collect them together and pound them in order to get off the husks. This process is the hardest one. Laiser What are the necessary conditions for the cultivation of crop to be a success? Kilusu (Vernac) What is important to consider carefully before we plant is the climate. Immediately the first rain you have to plant the seeds and the second rains you have to start weeding. Because once you delay in weeding they will not produce. The rain needed is only three times and this can be enough for harvest. We have this kind of rain in Kisarian. Laiser So you think that this crop is good to grow here in Kisarian? Kilusu (Vernac) It can fit very well here in Kisarian and the proof is that we have got a lot of profit from this crop. From one acre you can get 120-200 kilograms. If I sell them I can get six thousand Tanzanian shillings. This is a big amount of money compared to maize sales. From this farming, when I started other people are afraid of the big work that you need to do. But when they saw our success they have now joined us and they are happy with the profit they are getting. And I believe that others will continue to join. Laiser Mr Moses what are your future plans? Kilusu (Vernac) To rent land, to have more acres and expand the plantation of this crop to get many kilograms, and I will get a profit and I am sure I will finish my house. End of track