This article focuses on arrowroots (nduma) farming in Kenya. Arrowroots farming is very popular in the marshy zones in Kenya. It is a water crop with high nutritional value.
Arrowroots are good sources of iron, zinc, thiamin, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, riboflavin and vitamins such as B and C.
Varieties Of Arrowroots Grown in Kenya
- Dasheen variety. It has large tubers.
- Eddoe variety. It is the most common variety in Kenya. It has smaller tubers compared to dasheen variety.
Ecological Requirements for Growing Arrowroots
- Well drained loamy soil.
- Soil pH of 5.5-6.5.
- Enough moisture.
- Well distributed rainfall throughout the year.
Land should be thoroughly and deeply ploughed before planting. Depending on the soil structure, harrowing should be done 2-3 times.
Propagation is by suckers, rootstock or rhizomes. The best rhizomes are those with 2 or more nodes. The suckers can be planted on ridges with a distance of approximately 1.0 by 0.75m.
Arrowroots can also be planted away from water bodies using the upland arrowroots technology. This is done by planting in trenches with polythene paper as long as there is enough moisture.
Pests and Diseases
Arrowroots are not susceptible to serious attacks by pests and diseases. Pests that may attack the plants include leaf roller and colopedes etheus. The pests can be controlled by using arsenical sprays and practising proper propagation methods.
Common diseases include leaf mosaic, bacterial wilt and banded leaf blight. They can be controlled by using foliar sprays and fungicides such as maneb and cooper.
Harvesting can be done after about 8-10 months. You can harvest once the leaves start shrinking and turn yellow in colour.
The Market for Arrowroots in Kenya
There is a wide market for arrowroots in Kenya. They are fast-selling and nutritious water crops with a high demand. They can be sold in open air markets, supermarkets, groceries, institutions such as hotels and restaurants.