Turning Wild Melons Into Tidy Profits
Blessing Huzori is a farmer from Mutoko who grows wild melons to feed her cows and pigs. Sometimes she uses the melon pulp to make delicious nhopi with peanut butter or the seeds to make a traditional relish eaten with maize. People in Blessing’s community have also used the melon seed oil as a body lotion. But Blessing never realised wild melons could make her money until she started growing them for sale to Kaza Natural Oils and Kupanda.
“We plant the melons in November inter-cropped with sunflowers and groundnuts and we usually harvest them early June. When the mother plant starts drying up it’s a sign that the fruit is ready to be harvested. We harvest them without removing the stem, so the fruit does not start rotting,” Blessing explains. The crop is tough and does not require any fertilisers. It is also resistant to pests and diseases.
In 2019 Blessing earned enough money from the sales of her wild melon seed to buy a new breed of pig for her livestock project.