Most open places in the country have been an eyesore the last four or so months. Every available open place was plastered with campaign posters competing for attention. With elections over (on August 8, 2017) and removal of the posters going on sluggishly, it is welcome sight to see the the small yellow fruits all over Nyamira County.
It is the season of loquats and the fruits have calmly taken over interest from the campaigns and elections nuisances.
While they drop from trees all over the counties of Nyamira and Kisii, some entrepreneurs sell them in the markets or along the roads.
Between June and October, thousands of loquat trees flower and produce millions of fruits in the two counties.
When they ripen, the fruits appear in bunches of 5-20 and are succulently yellow, attracting the eyes from far.
Dinah Bosibori first planted five loquat trees in her village home in 1996 and she has reaped from the trees handsomely each year.
“When I started selling the very first loquats from my five trees a basket-full fetched a paltry Sh50. Now I sell the same in a good day for Sh600,” says Bosibori.
Through this venture, she is able to boost the family monthly financial kitty.
Her orchard now has 14 trees and she also sells loquat seedlings.
Historically, loquats are said to have originated in China and they are known as Chinese plums. How they came here, no one knows. Locals say they grew naturally in the forest.
Unlike Kisii and Nyamira where many of these fruits go to waste, elsewhere they are highly valued. They are used in the making of jam, chutney and jelly.
In China, loquats are used in making medicine for digestive and respiratory issues.
In Japan, they are used to make plum wine while in France they are key in making some perfume oils.