STEVIA “The natural Sweetener” By Lennick Makause
The Stevia Plant (Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni) belongs to the compositae(Sunflower family of plant). It’s origin is South America.
Stevia is a 100% natural sweetener and flavor enhancer; its sweetness is about 200 to 400 times sugar.
It has the following attributes:
1. Zero calorie
2. Zero carbohydrates
3. Low glycemic index: Suitable for consumption by diabetics
Its rage of natural molecules are found in the leaves of the plant.
Stevia crop does well in a variety of soils and climatic conditions. It requires moderate tending, pesticides and mostly grown in environment with 12hours of sunlight at 500m—700m altitude.
Temperatures of –60C to 430C would be favourable for Stevia and usually does well in infertile soils, acid soils but can be more cultivated on neutral soils of pH 6.5-7.5
It is propagated through cuttings which can be developed from a screen house for a period of 7 to 8 weeks.
Pure Circle, a company in Kenya is one of the leading producer of Stevia cuttings with several developed mother bushes for nursery establishment.
Exagris Africa has developed a good working relationship with the company as a source of planting materials. It has a good and knowledgeable management who work tirelessly at the farm making sure all agronomic practices at the nursery management is done properly.
This Company makes a lot of millions of dollars on the nursery as the supply the cuttings to all medium farmers as well as smallholder farmers across all region of Kenya. Exagris will be growing this in Salima and Rumphi farms thereafter will roll out to smallholder farmers.