Bishop Samwel Kitula a small-scale farmer, is passionate about farming and this is evident in his flourishing farm in Mwanza Tanzania. Good farming practices are visible for a leader keen and pro-active in leading OAICs food and nutrition security campaign in Mwanza Tanzania.
“Passion fruit is my latest discovery. It has a colossal market, it’s not time consuming and requires minimal effort and the returns are fantastic. I have done my research and no one else in this area does passion fruit farming. The crop takes between 6 to 7 months and sometimes it could take upto 9 months depending on the type of seed, ” says the Bishop.
Kitula has divided his 8 acre piece of land into several sections. He has set aside 1 ½ acres for passion fruit
farming which he passionately notes is his next big venture in Mwanza.The fruits are planted neatly in lines and small poles and ropes have been used to hold the fruit in place from one end of the section to the other for best results.
During harvest time, Bishop Kitula gets between 20 to 30 buckets of fruit per day. In a good month he could get up to 300 buckets of fruit. With each bucket costing approximately Tshs 20,000, this earns him Tshs 6,000,000 which equals 2,745 USD.
“We have just started selling passion fruits in Mwanza where sellers buy from us and distribute to hotelsand other areas. I’m sure during subsequent harvests they’ll come and collect them from the farm.
Some hotels and restaurants have also started putting in requests for supply. The villagers haven’t discovered this gold mine yet. I am grateful for Kenya as this knowledge I acquired while there sometime back. When I came back I decided to try my luck and the results are quite encouraging,” notes the Bishop.
Kitula uses organic manure – cow dung- and argues that one doesn’t require to add any artificial fertilisers to get best results. “I use natural manure from the Arizotipoli plant which is rich in nitrogen. John Amisi, a Farmer Resource Person from Kenya taught us how to use the leaves of this plant. I planted mine in March 2015 and I’m already using it. Its leaves are put in a compost pit and one waits for 3 weeks before adding Doom – insecticide -. More organic leaves are then added and left for a day and the manure is ready for use.”
Lucas Magaragara, the farm manager in Bishop Kitula’s farm ensures that the crop has sufficient water. When the seedlings have been transferred from the nursery to the farm, they require frequent watering to ensure that they survive. He also weeds regularly and sprays the plants with organic pesticides, waits for 3 or 4 days before watering them as this ensures that pests and diseases are kept at bay. The passion fruit plant continues to produce fruits upto at least five years. Then one can nurture new plants.
As a leader in Tanzania, Bishop Kitula’s expertise and entrepreneurial ability has empowered his congregations and community at large. He has also set aside land in his farm for young people and women whom he considers unable to own land, an important factor of production. He is a great leader revered by many as he seeks to empower his community by putting in place strategies for capacity building for his community and church members.
Other activities in the Bishops farm include growing of crops such as green amaranthus; beans; maize; cow peas; mango farming, bee and fish keeping.