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Worried that your land is not big?

Sometimes, you might not have all the space you may need, but you need to grow something that will increase profits. The yields and market prices for your produce determine the success of your garden. For this reason, you need to grow high-yielding fruits that are easy to care for and fetch good prices in the local and export markets. Here are five high-value fruits that you can grow on your land:

Strawberries

The demand for strawberries has increased rapidly, and the supply has been relatively low. This has been fueled by their extensive use in value addition, in products such as ice-creams, juices, yogurt, jams, and perfumes. Currently, companies rely on imports as we cannot meet their demand. With excellent ecological conditions in most parts of the country, strawberry farming can be a lucrative venture to invest in. They mature within a short period of about 70 days.

You are not limited to growing strawberries on a specific size of land. For a beginner, an urban grower, or a farmer with limited space, an eighth of an acre can be enough. Prepare raised beds or invest in containers (and place them in your garden) and grow your strawberries. On average, an eighth acre can accommodate about 3000 seedlings. You can harvest between 30kg to 50kg per week if you use proper management practices. For Kshs. 200 per kilo, a farmer can pocket about Kshs. 24,000 to Kshs. 40,000 per month.

Passion Fruit

Don’t you love the passion flavor in juices? Well, now imagine the number of consumers of passion flavored products in different parts of the world. Like strawberries, passion fruits are highly productive and can give you high yields from just a small piece of land. Two varieties flourish in Kenya: the yellow variety, which produces high yields, and the purple variety, which thrives in high altitudes.

A quarter-acre can accommodate about 350 plants, while an eighth will need about 175 passion fruit plants. However, this varies depending on your spacing. One plant can produce 10 – 15 kg per year when proper management practices are employed. This equates to about 3500kg to 5250kg from a quarter acre. Locally, the fruits sell for Sh 50 to 100 per kg. They sell at Sh 70 – 100 per kg in the export markets. A farmer with a quarter-acre producing 3500kg can pocket about Kshs 140,000 to 350,000 per year while selling locally.

Hass Avocado

Hass avocado is a new goldmine with an ever-ready market, locally and in the export markets. Currently, we are yet to meet the demand for Hass avocado in the Europe, China, and Mauritius markets. With good care, avocado trees are highly productive and produce fruits all year round. On average, with proper spacing, a quarter-acre can accommodate about 30 to 40 trees.

Each mature tree can produce 70 to 100kg per year. Currently, 1kg of Hass avocado is selling at Kshs 176. A farmer can make between Kshs 12000 to 17600 per year from a single tree. This equates to between Kshs. 360,000 to 588,000 per year. The number of countries interested in Kenyan Hass avocados is still rising, with the demand rising in Russia, Singapore, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Libya, Egypt, Hong Kong, and Iran. Also, their use in value addition is still rising, which translates to an increase in demand.

Pawpaws

Many people do not know the opportunities that lie in pawpaw farming. The plants are drought tolerant and can perform well in drier areas. Besides, once well established, they require little care, mature faster, start bearing from the ninth month, and are highly productive. With a spacing of 2m x 2m, a quarter-acre can accommodate about 275 pawpaw trees.

Each plant can produce about 40 to 50kg per year, which equates to 11000kg -13750 from a quarter acre. By selling a kg with an average of Kshs 30, a farmer can pocket Kshs. 330,000 to 412,500 per year. Why not make use of your space and try pawpaw farming?

Bananas

Bananas are one of the most profitable fruit trees to grow. They are easy to manage and can produce high yields all year round. However, although banana farming is an easy process, you need to employ good management practices, apply manure regularly, irrigate on time, and mulch your plants. A quarter-acre can accommodate about 100 to 160 plants. A stem can produce a bunch weighing between 80 and 95kg if the plants are properly managed. Selling at a price of Kshs 20 per kg, a farmer can make about Kshs 160,000 per harvest. Try it out.

At OxfarmAg, we offer certified, high-quality seedlings to help you kickstart your fruit farming agribusiness. Besides, we offer agronomy support and competitive fruit farming packages to help you make the right steps. Invest in these high-value fruits and enjoy the profitability of fruit farming. Let OxfarmAg help you out!

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How to achieve an all year-round-harvest

It is the joy of every farmer to harvest fruits all year round. However, to make this possible, you need to choose the right varieties, extend the growing season, understand the climate, maintain the soil, and plant at different times of the year. Here are several tips that can make you achieve this and maintain a steady cash flow throughout the year.

Understand your climate

As a gardener, you understand how important the climate is when it comes to fruit farming. You need to study the climatic conditions in your area and understand what to expect at different times of the year. Besides, different fruit varieties prefer specific conditions such as temperatures, and growing them outside them can affect their performance and productivity. For instance, some trees prefer warm temperatures, chilling requirements, or cold temperatures. Grapes, for example, require temperature variations to increase acidity and enhance the tannin and flavor profiles. If you live in drier areas, you need to plan well on how you will irrigate your trees after the rains. Keep them well-watered and fertilized to keep them healthy and more productive. Mulch your trees to reduce heat stress and minimize water loss through evaporation, especially during hot periods.

Plant different varieties throughout the year

To maintain a year-round harvest, you also need to choose fruit varieties for both the cold and warm seasons. Most fruits such as melons, plums, strawberries, and apricots can be grown during the hot season. During the cold season, you can target harvesting fruits like guavas, passion fruits, avocado, and lemons. In some fruits, flowering and fruiting will be relatively lower during the cold season. You should plant varieties that are most suited to your area.

Maintaining your soil

The soil health determines the performance of your trees and the harvest you will get. Conduct a soil test to understand the conditions of your soil. This will help you know the nutrients present and what you should add to enhance soil fertility. Apply organic matter such as vegetable peelings, compost, and manure to have the best soil. Also, you can plant cover crops in your orchard, maintain the required pH range for fruit trees, and apply fertilizers at the specified rates when necessary. With healthy soil, you can keep your fruits productive throughout the year.

Prolong the growing season

Prolonging the growing season can help you harvest fruits for extended periods. To do this, prune your trees to enhance aeration and enable sunshine to penetrate to the plants, continue feeding them with fertilizers rich in potassium during the flowering period, and plant late in the season. This can be easier when growing your fruits in controlled environments. Here, you can regulate elements such as temperature, humidity, and light. Growing particular varieties in micro-climates can also help lengthen the growing season. Consult our extension officers at OxfarmAg Ltd to understand the best varieties you should plant.

Start growing

You do not need a large farm to achieve an all-year-round production. It just needs proper planning and care. Understand your soil conditions, the climate in your area, varieties to grow, and the best time to plant, and you will be good to go. Let’s get growing. Order certified fruit seedlings from OxfarmAg and start your journey to an all-year-round harvest.

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Did you know you can grow fruits indoors?

It is not necessarily that you need a large garden to grow fruits. You can make use of the small space and grow fruits inside. However, you should only consider dwarf varieties (for size) that mature at a faster rate when doing this. Also, go for grafted varieties since they can remain small without lowering the potential production. Fruit trees enhance the beauty of your home, and growing dwarf varieties can provide fresh fruits for your family and clean the air for your home. Isn’t that a win-win for everyone? However, it’s not all types of trees that can grow indoors. Besides, despite being a dwarf tree, it requires regular pruning to keep it in the desired size.

Here are five fruit trees that you can grow indoors. Dive in!

Strawberries

Since they are temperate fruits, growing strawberries indoors can, at times, be pretty challenging. They require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. When grown indoors, you can supplement this by putting them under a minimum of 12 hours of LED plant light. Use proper potting mix for optimum production.

Passion fruit vines produce delicious fruits for consumers, can be used to decorate patios and outdoor spaces and can offer a sense of decoration to your home when grown indoors.

Lime Trees

With little space, growing dwarf lime trees can be an excellent idea. They grow into manageable sizes and produce many fruits when cared for well. However, since you do not want bees in your house, pollination can, at times, be a challenge. You can also use limes to decorate your home and balcony.

Avocado Tree

Avocado farming is one of the most rewarding agribusinesses that has gained popularity throughout the country. Growing Hass avocado as houseplants is easy. However, you need to select the right seedlings and container or pot to use. Standard and semi-dwarf avocado trees grow tall and cannot make excellent indoor plants. Ensure that you place them in an area that receives bright sunlight.

Peaches

Fresh peaches are delicious fruits that you will love adding to your meal. Although they are temperate plants, peaches can also perform well indoors or on patios. Put loamy soil in large pots and plant your seedlings. Try it today!

Other fruits that you can grow in your compound include:

  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Lemon
  • Tangerines

Although it’s labor-intensive, growing fruit trees can be pretty interesting. However, you need to select the right varieties, choose proper containers or pots.

 Are you planning to grow fruits in your compound or on your patio? Oxfarm offers high-quality dwarf seedlings to help you enhance your indoor gardening experience.

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Can thinning apple trees increase production and fruit quality?

An orchard is an excellent display of our signature on nature. However, you need to do everything right when it comes to fruit farming, from planting to irrigation to plant care. This is done to maximize productivity and enhance the performance of your trees. Growing and caring for fruit trees can be labor extensive before you can begin enjoying the delicious fruits. If you are an apple farmer who has not been getting the yields you want or a new farmer who wants to get their desired yields, you should dive deeper into this article and explore a few tips that we have for you. They will help you boost your tree’s performance, increase fruit production, and lengthen your harvesting season.

Do apple trees need any thinning?

Apple tree branches grow vigorously, with some branches growing towards the center of the tree. The side branches that outgrow the primary branches should be pruned regularly to achieve a pyramidal shape. Apart from pruning, apple trees also require regular thinning. This is selectively removing certain young fruits to help the trees produce high-quality fruits, more yields, and keep them in good shape. At times, pears and apples naturally thin their fruits. However, additional thinning is essential to ensure that there are less chances of fruit rubbing together and occurrence of diseases such as fruit rot. Besides, it helps prevent biennial bearing. This happens when the trees crop heavily one year and bear little fruits the following year. If not thinned, some branches can become extremely heavy and may snap under the weight in some cases.

Thinning helps give the remaining fruits adequate space to become bigger and healthier. This is because they enjoy more energy, sunlight, and airflow, enhancing fruit quality. These fruits are more marketable and fetch good returns in the local and export markets than tiny, low-quality fruits.

How to thin an apple tree

So, the main question now is, how do you thin an apple tree? First, you need to have the right tools. You can use a sharp pair of pruners. However, a pair of scissors can also work, especially when the fruits are too close to each other.

Generally, apple clusters range from two to six fruits. To optimize the fruit quality, you need to thin them and have between one to three fruits per cluster. Start by removing any scarred or damaged fruits. You can also remove the odd-shaped fruit at the center of the cluster. Next, remove those that are awkwardly positioned and the smallest fruits. Continue thinning, leaving only the healthiest fruits.

Knowing when to harvest apples

After a long season of hard work, the moment of truth has arrived, and you need to harvest your fruits. But how do you know when they are ready? Well, nature offers several clues. The fruit color deepens and falls easily from the trees. The presence of windfalls is an excellent sign that they are ready for harvest. However, you should assess the orchard well and probably taste a few fruits. This can help if you are unsure whether they are ready to pick.

Do you need more help?

At OxfarmAg, we ensure that you take the right steps to enhance your apple production and enable you to produce high-quality fruits. We offer agronomy support to help you thin your apple fruits properly and harvest your produce at the right time. Let’s walk with you in every step, from seedlings to planting to plant management to harvesting. We have the right package for you. Contact us today and have a productive and profitable apple orchard!

Nairobi – 0769623300
Ms. Florence
Whatsapp: https://wa.me/254769623300

Eldoret – 0710588060
Mr Duncan
WhatsApp: https://wa.me/254710588060

Nakuru- 0740000044
Ms. Caroline
WhatsApp: https://wa.me/254740000044

Nyeri- 0742194880
Mr. Nick
WhatsApp: https://wa.me/254742194880

Western- 0706222888
Mr. Asman
WhatsApp: https://wa.me/254706222888

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How can a company’s CSR focus on fruit farming?

Trees are a beautiful part of the environment and maxing machines that help create a healthy ecosystem. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a self-regulatory business strategy that focuses on sustainability and positively contributes to societal goals. It involves providing fair wages, improving the company’s working conditions, reducing the effects of production on the environment, and helping the community. Also, it includes conducting ethical business practices and complying with local legal regulations. A company’s CSR contains four key types. These are:

  • Environmental responsibility
  • Philanthropic responsibility
  • Human rights responsibility
  • Economic responsibility

Environmental Responsibility

Engaging in environmentally friendly practices is crucial for companies committed to CSR. Small and large companies can significantly contribute to natural resource depletion, waste, pollution, and greenhouse emissions.

Over the years, companies have implemented environmental responsibility initiatives in their operations to reduce greenhouse emissions, pollution, and enhance the sustainable use of natural resources. This has seen a significant improvement in reducing the cost of production and external inputs, improved farming practices, and conservation of natural resources.

Environmental responsibility can take many forms depending on the size of the business. These include using sustainable materials, alternative sources of energy such as solar, investing in precision farming for companies in the agricultural sector, and planting trees. Also, it includes enacting a recycling program.

Agroforestry is an integral part of a company’s environmental responsibility. Planting fruit trees can be a win-win strategy for the company and the environment. They enhance a company’s reforestation goals, help restore the ecosystem, promote environmental sustainability and social development, and create green economies.

So, How will fruit trees help?

Fruit trees are not just attractive and productive. They also play an integral part in mitigating climate change and creating a sustainable future. They sequester carbon dioxide, absorb and store the excess CO2 in their roots, trunks, and leaves, and act as carbon banks. This helps carbon dioxide accumulate in the soil instead of escaping into the atmosphere. Fruit trees also produce food and are essential to feeding humans as global temperatures rise.

They reduce water loss through evaporation and transpiration, clean the air, and shield other crops and the company’s premises from strong winds. Besides, they offer shade and excellent protection from intense sun rays. In large farms, they minimize soil erosion and provide a serene environment with dense vegetation.

Planting trees for our future

Animals, humans, and the environment need trees for survival. As deforestation and the effects of climate change increase, we need to devise a way of putting back what we are putting away. This means that as a company, you need to contribute to global reforestation efforts by planting more fruit trees, increasing biodiversity, restoring damaged ecosystems, and mitigating climate change.

We have the power to help create a better future today – by planting fruit trees, caring for the environment, and creating sustainable and green economies. Keep environmental responsibility in the company’s DNA. Order certified and quality seedlings today at Oxfarm and enhance your CSR strategies!

Reach us through;

Nairobi – 0769623300
Ms. Florence
Whatsapp: https://wa.me/254769623300

Eldoret – 0710588060
Mr Duncan
WhatsApp: https://wa.me/254710588060

Nakuru- 0740000044
Ms. Caroline
WhatsApp: https://wa.me/254740000044

Nyeri- 0742194880
Mr. Nick
WhatsApp: https://wa.me/254742194880

Western- 0706222888
Mr. Asman
WhatsApp: https://wa.me/254706222888

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HASS AVOCADO PRODUCTION

Management Practices

Hass avocado farming has become the major project many farmers are undertaking in the country due to its high profit margin currently and in the future. The fruit being referred to as the Golden fruit. However, most farmers are not acquainted with the necessary information regarding Hass avocado growing till the production phase. Avocados are sensitive in terms of management hence the farmers should involve professionals in the production cycle. Professionalism refers to doing things right from the start that is; selection of quality and certified bodies, planting procedure, general cultural practices such as Fertigation, pest and disease management, pruning, harvesting and post-harvest handling of the produce.

Management practices are critical at every stage to boost the general production. The following practices are recommended to farmers;

  • Site selection

Avocados do well in drained soils with an altitude of 1000m-2500m asl with moderate temperatures of 180c – 250c. Avoid waterlogged conditions since hass avocado are susceptible to root rot.

  • Planting

Dig a hole 2ftx2ftxft and separate the topsoil with subsoil. During planting mix, the top soil with well decomposed manure and earthlee and return the mixture first in the hole to almost full. Make a small hole and put the seedling at the center, cover with the soil to the level of the soil nursery. Cover the seedling to make a ridge to allow water to flow free after irrigation. Water the seedling in the evening after planting.

  • Staking

This is essential to develop the tree leader early to establish the pyramid shape which is desirable in hass avocado production.

  • Irrigation

This is the crucial practice in the production phase. Before a farmer commences their projects they should give a priority on a clean source of water suitable for farming.

In avocado production, irrigation should be done 2-3 times a week depending on rainfall pattern. Excess watering should be avoided to prevent the root rot menace.

  • Mulching

This refers to the practice of placing grass straws around the tree to conserve the soil moisture. Mulches also decompose adding organic matter into the soil improving the soil structure, aeration, texture etc.

  • Weeding

Refers to the removal of foreign or unwanted plants around the field to minimize nutrients competition. Intercropping is encouraged for land utilization and nutrient balancing in the soil.

  • Pruning

Refers to removal of extra branches to create and develop a good framework with maximum production. Usually done after first harvesting (3years). However, nipping is usually done in the first two years.

  • Pest and disease management

This is the most crucial stage in crop development. Every farmer is required to start early monitoring for pests and diseases to identify controls through Integrated Pest Management.

Farmers require much knowledge in pest and disease management and hence should involve agricultural experts in their projects.

Common Diseases;

DiseaseSymptomsManagement
Phytophthora root rotTrees rot from the bottom/rootsPlant in well drained soilsAvoid excess irrigationPlant avocado trees on a ridge
Powdery mildewAsh like appearance on the leavesMaintain orchard hygieneUse mazao regain as a biocontrol
Armillaria root rotTrees start turning yellow and dry completely with timeSoil drench before orchard establishmentBurning plant remains of previous season and tree trunks.
BlightSevere and sudden yellowing Leaves browning and finally witherAvoid dump environmentSpray preventive products
AnthracnoseIrregular dark  sunken blotches on leaves and fruitsField hygieneUse copper based products such as Funguran, mastercop
   
PestSigns and symptomsManagement
Fruit flyAdultsUse of pheromone traps Biological pesticides
False codling moth Use of pheromone traps Biological pesticides
Mosquito bugs Use of pheromone traps Biological pesticides
Mites Early monitoring Field sanitation Avoid dusty Environment Spray preventive products

Effect of False Codling Moth in Avocado

Fruit fly

NB

A farmer should use an Integrated system during the production to produce fruits suitable for export market. The system includes;

  • Physical and Mechanical control

Use of sticky traps, pheromone lures

Setting up controlled growing zones such as Greenhouses or shade nets for crops such as strawberries.

  • Cultural control

Weed management, minimal tillage, changing on irrigation practices, nutrient management

  • Biological control

Predators, Parasitoids, Entomopathogenic Nematodes, Entomopathogenic Fungi, Nematophagous Fungi, Beneficial Soil Fungi and Bacteria, Viruses

  • Chemical control

This is usually the last option in the control system when the pest/disease incidences have exceeded the economic threshold.

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Growth in diversification and value addition in apple farming

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apple farming is a lucrative agribusiness that is gaining popularity in Kenya. This is due to its increasing demand, many health benefits, limited local supply, and competitive prices in the local and export markets. Currently, we are forced to import apples from South Africa and the Middle East to sustain the local demand. To diversify their sources of income, farmers should consider filling the market gap and venture into apple farming. In Kenya, the fruit is grown in highland regions such as Mt Elgon, Nandi, Kitale, and most parts of central province such as Kiambu and Nyeri. Here are a few tips that can help you start apple farming.

Purchase High quality seedlings

The quality of the seedlings is the first thing that determines how your plants will perform. With many roadside sellers, it’s easy to purchase low-quality seedlings that will ruin your entire fruit farming investment. You should ensure that you are buying your seedlings from certified nurseries. At OxfarmAg, each certified apple seedling costs about Kshs. 350.

Understand the ecological requirements

The orchard should be established in an area with deep, fertile, and well-drained soils with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. Apples flourish in high-altitude regions ranging from 1800 to 2800m and with moderate rainfall. However, they can also be grown under irrigation in drier areas. Besides, they require moderate temperatures. Always ensure that you plant varieties with low chilling requirements.

Apply proper management skills

Every farmer should use proper management practices to keep their plants healthy and flourishing. Apple plants require adequate moisture, a balanced application of nutrients, and timely pest and disease control. In drier areas, they should be irrigated regularly. Manure and fertilizers should also be applied to provide the trees with the necessary nutrients. A thick organic mulch should be used to minimize water loss and weed growth. Apples are attacked by pests such as fruit flies, aphids, thrips, and spider mites. They are susceptible to diseases such as Armiralia root rot, powdery mildew, and apple scab.

Productivity of apples

Under proper care, apple plants can be highly productive, producing an average of 500 fruits per growing season. On average, if appropriately managed, you can harvest between 10 to 12 tonnes per hectare.

Market and Value addition

Apples have a high demand in both the local and export markets. Locally, you can target supermarkets, open-air markets, juice makers, and food processing companies. To make more profits and minimize post-harvest losses, farmers should consider investing in value addition. Apart from fresh consumption, apples are used to make juices, cookies, biscuits and bread, jellies, jams, soft drinks, sauce, baby foods, and apple cereal flakes. Besides, they can be used to make pectin, ethanol, vinegar, cider, animal feeds, and produce industrial pigments such as carotenoids. They are also essential ingredients in fruit salad and desserts, such as apple crisp, apple pie, and apple crumble.

To penetrate the market, you should ensure that your fruits are high quality and focus on primary and secondary processing.

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Strawberry Farming

Strategies to increase strawberries competitiveness.

Strawberries are juicy fruits with a unique aroma and a bright red color. In Kenya, strawberries are high-value crops with high demand and competitive prices in the local and export markets. They have many health benefits and a high nutritional value. For instance, they are rich in dietary fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins.

Compared to other fruits, berries can be a regular source of income since they can be harvested up to three times per week. They are easy to care for, harvest, and mature within a short time. However, to succeed in strawberry farming, you need to grow the right varieties, employ the correct management practices, and use proper marketing channels.

Here is what you should do to succeed:

Plant the best varieties

Here is a list of varieties that you should grow in Kenya:

  • Chandler
  • Douglas
  • Domail
  • Pajaro
  • Rabunda
  • Tristar
  • Tribute
  • Tioga Selva

Understand the ecological conditions necessary for strawberry farming

Strawberry plants require moderate and well-distributed rainfall, although they can still be grown under irrigation in drier areas.

Although they can grow in a wide range of soils, they perform best in deep, fertile, and well-drained soils with a pH range of 5.5 – 6.5. It’s crucial to conduct a soil test before planting. This will help you make any necessary amendments on time.

Besides, they require at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day, cool temperatures, and an altitude range of 1500m to 2000m.

Ensure that you use proper spacing and planting practices

Unlike other fruit plants, strawberries only require little spacing of about 90cm to 120cm between the rows and 30cm to 60cm between the plants. An acre can hold between 15000 to 25000 plants depending on the spacing. During planting, ensure that you handle the seedlings with care.

To help farmers establish their fruit-farming venture, OxfarmAg Ltd has come up with a cost-effective package that includes:

  • Free consultancy
  • Certified strawberry seedlings
  • Organic well-decomposed manure (earthlee)
  • Labor (digging holes, planting)
  • Market connection
  • Lifetime agronomy support

Employ proper orchard management practices

Although they need little care, there are certain practices that you should employ for optimum growth and increased yields. Strawberries require regular irrigation, especially in drier areas or when grown in a greenhouse, due to their shallow roots. Besides, you need to ensure that the orchard is weed-free.

For optimum growth, you need to apply fertilizers and manure regularly. The plants tend to blossom earlier, and fruits ripen faster when the correct quantity of fertilizer is used.

Besides, you need to control pests and diseases on time. Strawberries are attacked by pests such as snails, slugs, ants, crown borers, leafhoppers, caterpillars, cutworms, red spider mites, aphids, beetles, and birds. They are susceptible to diseases such powdery mildew, anthracnose, Sclerotinia disease, grey mold, leaf spots, Fusarium and Verticillium wilt, and leaf scorch.

Harvesting and Post harvesting

Fruits are usually ready for harvesting 4 – 6 weeks after blossoming. You should harvest your fruits in the morning when they are still cool, and you can harvest up to thrice per week. Unfortunately, strawberries are highly perishable. They should be refrigerated if you are planning to lengthen the shelf life. Improper post-harvest handling lowers the fruit quality and makes them have an unpleasant appearance. This can cause massive losses to small-scale farmers. Farmers should consider investing in cold chain facilities and value addition to increase the shelf life of their produce.

Marketing

Over the years, the demand for strawberries has increased dramatically. Locally, it is highest in major urban markets, supermarkets, juice makers, and processing companies such as Trufood, Brookside, KCC, and Zesta. Farmers should target the high-end markets and consider following the value addition way to increase their revenue.

Strawberries are used extensively in making yogurt, sauces, jams, jellies, dehydrated slices, juices, and sweetened preserves. Besides, they are used in whole frozen berries and canned products.

To order for seedlings, click here https://wa.me/254706222888

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Why fruit farming?

A focus on Custard Apple

The rainy season is here, which tree should you plant? At times, making informed decisions on the type of tree to grow can be challenging. What will happen if the roots extend horizontally? Are they for shade or commercial purposes? Will they block sunlight from reaching your house make your house cold to unbearable levels? Do the growing conditions favor the growth of trees?

Commercial fruit trees are a long-term investment that requires one to make the right decisions when planning on what to grow, how and where to set up the orchard, and when to grow. Trees should be planted during the rainy season since they require a lot of water during the early growth stages. The moisture levels in the soil should be adequate before planting. On most occasions, especially in areas where irrigation water is limited, fruit seedlings should be planted when the evaporation rates are low, either in the morning or in the evening. In drier areas, the young plants should be mulched to reduce evaporation.

What should I grow?

Some of the fruits you should consider growing include oranges, lemons, macadamia, guava, tree tomato, apples, strawberry, grapes, Hass avocado, custard apple, and bananas.  

Will custard apples flourish?

Custard apples are sweet fruits with a high nutritional value. They are rich in magnesium, vitamin A and C, and have a low-fat content. Apart from retailing at premium prices, custard apples have a high demand in the local and export markets. For instance, 1 kilo of the fruits goes for between Kshs 120 to Kshs 150 when the demand is high and Kshs 80 during the off season.

The demand for custard apples has been rising due to their numerous health benefits and extensive use in desserts, savories, and salads. For instance, it’s recommended to those suffering from cancer and blood pressure. Besides, it enhances brain alertness, vision, detention, contains anti-cancerous properties, and boosts the immune system.

Custard apples are highly productive, especially when proper farm management practices are employed. For instance, the African Pride variety trees can produce an average of three to four bags each season. Grafted varieties produce fruits that can be harvested after every three to four months. With favorable growing conditions, each tree can produce between 50 to 70 fruits. The plants flourish in areas with moderate humidity, deep and well-drained soils, and a temperature range of between 20 – 30 degrees.

When space is not limited, farmers can grow several fruits in their gardens to boost their income. In Nyeri and Ukambani regions, for instance, one can grow custard apples, Fuerte and Hass avocados, mangoes, and strawberries.

Nurturing Custard Apple Trees

Custard apples are sensitive to frost and hence areas susceptible to such conditions should be avoided. Fertilizers should be applied every three to four months until the plant starts producing fruits. Regular application of manure is recommended. Although they do not require a lot of water, irrigation should be done regularly, especially in drier regions for optimum performance.

Take advantage of the rains and invest in fruit farming. OxfarmAg provides high-quality fruit seedlings and agronomy support to help farmers achieve success in fruit farming.

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Tips that can help you succeed in pear farming in Kenya

Pear farming is a lucrative venture attracting the attention of many farmers. It has little management requirements, can thrive in a wide range of ecological conditions, and retails at competitive prices in local and export markets. However, you need to embrace proper farming techniques to succeed in commercial production.

Why is the demand for pears so high?

5 key reasons have facilitated the increasing demand, which are:

The popularity of pears as a healthy and nutritious snack food

Growing awareness about the health benefits associated with consuming pears

Increasing consumer demand for organic, artisanal, and environmentally-friendly products

The growing markets locally and in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.

Strict food safety regulations in developed countries drive the demand for Exotic products like pears among consumers with a healthy appetite.

Where to grow pears in Kenya

There are several locations in Kenya where pears flourish. These include

 high-yielding areas with well-drained soils in the Rift Valley, Central, and Western Kenya. They also thrive in Coastal areas and drier regions of North and Eastern Kenya. Specifically, they flourish in cold areas such as Limuru, Molo, Kimende, Naivasha, Nyeri, Meru, and Western Kenya.

Tips that can help you succeed in Pears farming

To succeed as a pear farmer, remember to take good care of your orchard. Here are some tips that can help you know where to start, which varieties to grow, and the potential markets to target.

Get knowledge of proper pears farming

Before venturing into pear farming, you need adequate knowledge of the fruit. You need to plant the right variety, use appropriate fertilizers, and apply water in the required manner. Additionally, you need to create a healthy root system and understand the pests and diseases that attack pears. Also, you need to use proper harvesting practices and know the best markets for your produce.

It is important to be well versed in the different types of pears and their cultivation to produce quality fruit. This will enable you to identify which variety of pear best suits your farm site, climate, and other production requirements. Think about marketing your produce

Marketing is an integral part of pear farming. You will need to develop a plan to get the most out of your fruit, including pricing, packaging, and distribution strategies.

Choosing a variety

Choosing the wrong variety can ruin your entire pear farming investment. You should consider growing cultivars with low chilling requirement.

Choose the best soil

Soil fertility and aeration are critical for optimum fruit tree growth. You should understand the soil depth, pH, drainage, and structure to see if it favors the growth of the trees. You should consider growing your pears in an area with deep, fertile, and well-drained soils.

Control pests and diseases on time

Pears are highly productive fruits and are attacked by pests such as red spider mites, aphids, thrips, and fruit flies. They are susceptible to diseases such as powdery mildew, root rot, fire blight, rust, scab, and black spot. Ensure that you use effective pest and disease control methods in time to minimize their impact. For high-quality fruits, preventative control of pests and diseases must be done many months before harvest time, especially at the flowering and fruit set stage.

Harvesting and Post-harvesting

Mature fruits should be harvested carefully to avoid breaking or damaging them. If you wait until fruits are overripe, they will be tougher to handle and may lose flavor, color, and texture. Post-harvest handling should include proper storage, cold chilling, or canning temperatures. After harvesting, pears can stay for 2-3 weeks in the fridge. After that, they become slimy, unpleasant, and have a sour taste. You should consider value investing in value addition to lengthen the shelf life.

Marketing

Pears have a high demand locally and in the export markets. Currently, one pear goes for Ksh20 while a kilo has a price range of Kshs 100 to Kshs 120. In the export markets, the fruit has a high demand in Somalia, Belarus, Rwanda, Bahrain, China, and Europe. The Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany provide the largest market in Europe, while China offers the largest market in Asia.

Value addition

Farmers should consider processing their pears into value-added products to fetch more revenue. For instance, pears are used to make juices, chutneys, beverages, fruit salads, and dressings and sauces.

How we can help you

At OxfarmAg, it is our joy to see farmers succeed. We offer high-quality seedlings at a price of Kshs 300 each. Besides, we have come up with a fruit-farming package to help you kick-start your pear-farming venture. The package includes free consultancy, Kshs 150 seedlings for one acre, labor (soil testing, digging planting holes, planting), organic manure, market connection, and full-time agronomy support. Let us help you.