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Jukwaa la KTN: Water melon prodcution in Wajir county

THE WATERMELON VALUE CHAIN

Introduction to watermelons (Citrullus lanatus)

Family: Cucurbitaceae

Local names: Qara (Somali), Tikiti maji (Swahili)

It is indigenous to the dry plains of tropical and subtropical Africa

Nutritional value:

• 6% sugar, 92% water

• Source of vitamin C

• Contain a significant amount of citrulline & can be used to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it

• Citrulline - arginine relationship helps heart health, the immune system and is helpful for those who suffer from obesity and Type 2 diabetes (Texas A
& M University, 2008).

• Is mildly diuretic

• Contains large amounts of beta carotene - Precursor for Vitamin A which improves eyesight

Varieties:

Charleston Gray, Crimson Sweet, Sukari F1, Julie F1, Asali F1, Sugar Baby

Altitude

Watermelons can grow at altitudes of up to 1500 m a.s.l.

Temperatures

They grow best under hot temperatures (220 C and 280 C). Stagnation of growth occurs at temperatures less than 150 C.

Sites and soils

Grow best on sandy loam soils which are well drained and slightly acid.

Rainfall

Watermelon production is suited in low to medium rainfall areas with additional irrigation.

Propagation

Seeds, directly planted in the field.

Planting
Seed rate: 3 kg/ha.
Spacing: 1M X 2M

Previous status (Before May 2013)
i) Inadequate advocacy and lobbying skills among value chain actors
ii) Inadequate access to markets and market information among value chain actors.
iii) Inadequate linkages to markets and service providers.
iv) Watermelon value chain actors were not well organized.
v) Inadequate access to financial, insurance and weather/climate services and information by value chain actors.
vi) Use of inappropriate watermelon husbandry practices, water handling and irrigation technologies.
vii) Inadequate business development/management capacities among the value chain actors.
viii) Losses due to inadequate value addition for watermelons.
ix) Inappropriate post production handling techniques/practices for watermelons.
x) Low investment in the value chain by the value chain actors.

Interventions and activities undertaken
i) Organized watermelon value chain actors into functional and inclusive value chain groups.
ii) Linked value chain actors to local and external markets.
iii) Trained value chain actors on appropriate melon husbandry, water handling and irrigation technologies.
iv) Trained value chain actors on appropriate business development/management practices.
v) Equipped value chain actors with adequate skills on lobbying and advocacy.
vi) Linked value chain actors to financial, insurance, extension, input climate/weather information and social protection service providers.
vii) Trained value chain actors on appropriate value addition for watermelons.
viii) Trained value chain actors on appropriate post production handling techniques/practices for watermelons.
ix) Sensitized value chain actors on investment in appropriate irrigation, marketing and water harvesting technologies.

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