Spider Plant Farming

Spider Plant Farming

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INTRODUCTION

Spider plant locally referred to as Mwangani (Swahili), Thageti (Kikuyu), Tsisaka (Luhya), Alot-dek (Luo), Saget (Kalenjin), Chinsaga (Kisii), Mwianzo (Kamba), Jjobyu (Luganda), Yobyu (Lusoga) is an erect herbaceous annual herb with hairy, often purple stems and many branches growing to a height of about one metre. The plant has edible leaves; each leaf has up to 7 leaflets spreading like fingers, which are usually 2-10 cm long and 2-4 cm wide. The flowers are rather showy, long and bearing many small white or pink flowers. The elongate fruit resembles a pod, but is referred to as a capsule, containing many small, dark seeds. It is a fast-growing plant that is ready for harvest in as few as three weeks. The fresh leaves are used as ingredients in other mashed foods, and the dried leaves are ground and incorporated in weaning foods.

PRODUCTION

Varieties All green, Green with white in middle, Green and white stripes.
Seed Rate 40 kg per ha
Fertilizer Rate 100 kgs/ha of phosphorus and 80 kgs/ha of Nitrogen. 20 to 30 tons of manure per hectare
Planting Spacing 30 cm between rows
Husbandry Propagation is done by seed. Seeds are sown directly. Shallow planting at one cm depth and with 30 cm between rows or broadcasting followed by raking on prepared seedbeds is recommended. Emergence is normally from 6 to 8 days after sowing and thinning is done three weeks after to leave 10 to 15 cm between plants. Keep weed-free at all times.
Pest & Diseases Pest Name Symptoms Control
Beetles See the bugs on the plant. Cover beds with wire mesh.
Maturity Duration 2 years
Climatic Conditions Spider plant grows from sea level to 2400 metres. The crop grows well during the warm season under irrigation. It thrives on sandy loam soils but does not perform well on wet, marshy and heavy clay soils. It requires exposure to sunlight. Seeds should be sown at the onset of rainfall. This ensures availability of adequate soil moisture throughout the growth period. When rainfall is inadequate, frequent watering is necessary.
Harvesting The first harvests consist of thinned plants. Plants are brought to the market with their roots attached; roots are removed just before selling to maintain freshness. Where possible, roots should be placed in water overnight to absorb moisture. Harvesting is repeated several times, depending on the soil fertility and moisture conditions. After several successive leaf harvestings, the plants are left to flower and produce seeds.
Post Harvest and Storage The harvested shoots are kept in a bag without water during the night. In the following morning, the shoots are dipped in water for 30 minutes. Sprinkle water on heaps of produce sparingly.
Growing Regions Central, Western, Nyanza and Eastern.
Expected yields 20 tons of leaves/Ha

PROCESSING

Processing Dried and stored for up to two years.

MARKETING

Place Marketed locally.
Price Kshs. 20-30 per kgs

CONSUMPTION

Products and uses The leaves are eaten as a cooked green vegetable.
Nutritional value – per 100 g / % Daily Values Contain 5% protein, 6% carbohydrates and are high in vitamins A and C, calcium, phosphorus and iron.

FACTS & FIGURES

Spider plant is believed to replenish blood and therefore referred to as a “traditional meat” by some Kenyan communities.

BUSINESS CASE

Income Per Hectare: Kshs 400,000 (20,000kgs * 20/-)Cost per Hectare: Kshs. 120,000 (30% of Income).NET:    Kshs. 280,000 (70% of Income).

Break Even Yield (Where Cost=Income): = 6000 kgs per hectare.

Income Frequency: Annually.

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