Farmers from Naivasha in Nakuru County are counting losses which may run up to tens of millions of Kenya Shillings after conmen duped them into growing ‘Egyptian Giant’ pumpkins.
The plantation cover a total acreage of 10 acres, all covered with market size pumpkins which no commercial entity has agreed to buy.
The farmers were approached by seed sellers who claimed to have overseas market connections for the specific variety of pumpkins.
To enter into the contract, a farmer was required to buy seeds from the sellers at a cost of Sh 132,000 for one acre seeds.
In total the farmers spent over Sh 1.3 million. As part of the agreement, the farmers were also supposed to grow the pumpkins organically.
Further luring the unsuspecting farmers, the seed sellers told the growers that Britain has a ready market for the crop. A random market research proved that Britain indeed had the market.
The farmers bought the seeds and went right into farm preparation without thinking about post harvest.
All throughout farm preparation and seed propagation, the farmers had maintained constant talks with the seed suppliers and the alleged buyers of the crop.
Trouble started when the crop neared maturity and the proposed buyers couldn’t pick calls from the farmers.
It sounded alarm for the growers who now went wild into looking for buyers to buy over 10,000 heads of pumpkins.
The farmers are now desperately looking for market to sell the crop before it gets damaged in the field.
They have called upon local processors and retailers to help save the crop and prevent them from running into total losses.