Kapelebyong RDC reaping big from watermelon production

Olinga decided to utilise three acres of land as a demonstration farm which he says has ended up putting a smile on his face.

KAPELEBYONG, June 18, 2024 – The Resident District Commissioner [RDC] of Kapelebyong, Tom Olinga Otukol is reaping big after a thoughtful plan to invest in watermelon production.

In March 2024, Olinga decided to utilise three acres of land as a demonstration farm which he says has ended up putting a smile on his face because of the profit made from the enterprise.

He says he injected Shs 4.3 million into the agricultural project and earned him Shs 10.5mln after selling the watermelons. “I sold two big trucks of watermelons to Kenyan traders at Shs  4.5mln each, while the watermelons on the small truck went for Shs 1.5mln,” he said.

This season, Olinga says he has planted 15 acres of watermelons and expects to earn not less than Shs 70mln from the harvest. “In this second project, I don’t expect to earn less than Shs 70mln because it’s bigger than the first one,” says Olinga.

He says what is needed now is enough rain to supporting the sprouting seeds. The RDC says watermelons can grow anywhere as long as a farmer dedicates time to the fruits. “Watermelon production is not not labour intensive but only needs special attention for better yields,” he says.

He urges the local communities in Kapelebyong learn from him and embrace watermelon production, saying it is a profitable venture that can help them to drive poverty out of their households.

“Most of the locals thought watermelon does not grow here but I have shown them that it does well, and there is market,” he says, adding that it although it matures quickly, it requires spraying.

Required soils for watermelon production 

According to Olinga, the soil must be thoroughly and deeply cultivated to obtain a good root system. This allows optimal use of moisture and helps to prevent soil-borne diseases. The roots develop at a depth of 30-40 centimetres and the soil structure at that level must be optimal. Soils must be free draining to below 1.2 metres.

Watermelon care tips

According to plant scientists, watermelon plants require the right amount of water, protection from diseases and pests, and the addition of extra nutrients to the soil. Watermelons also need full sun, preferably 8 to 10 hours of direct sun to thrive.

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