It’s usually the case where exotic fruits are alluring to consumers in an abundant amount. However, can they be profitable to farmers? Can they bring out higher profits in agriculture, especially in Kenya? Dragon Fruit farming has been seen as an attractive investment opportunity since it’s a high income generating crop that requires very little work once established. Here are the 3 main reasons why farmers should venture into dragon fruit farming;
1) Easy to plant and maintain
Dragon fruit plants grow rapidly reaching their full height of 2-3 meters within three years. The dragon fruit has adapted to survive under harsh conditions, making them ideal for subsistence farming in the tropics where the soil is less fertile and therefore requires little care once established.
They have spines on their leaves which protect them from predators. They are also drought-resistant, but they do need sufficient water at some point during the year if continuously bearing fruits. If there is no irrigation source near your farm then you can plan for rain harvesting structures to cater to this water need. Farmers can easily get an abundant yield from this plant, which is another reason why it is a good investment.
2) Low input and high returns
Many farmers have been able to get a good return from exporting fruit because of the demand in many countries around the world. The fruit has become increasingly popular and is increasing in value in the local and export markets. So far, there is a low supply and a high demand for dragon fruits. This makes it ideal for small-scale investors who might not be able to invest large amounts of capital but want to benefit from agricultural exports. To maximize profits, farmers should process the fruit, using it to add value to various products such as energy bars, ice cream, yogurt, juices, pastries, and jelly.
A single fruit weighs between 600 grams and 1.2kg. A kilo of a dragon fruit retails for between Kshs. 750 and Kshs. 1000 making it one of the most expensive fruits. It’s so expensive because of its supply and demand factors, whereby consumers are willing to pay more just to get it even if they do not know what it tastes like.
3) High nutritional value hence a high demand
The fruit is a mix of crunchy and juicy textures. It contains high levels of vitamin C, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, or iron which are important for good health. The fruit also contains fiber that helps the body to absorb essential nutrients from food as well as regulate bowel function. This means that the farmers will benefit from their investment because they can easily sell these fruits without needing any processing expertise, thus creating a higher return on investment.
Recommendation for farmers
The above reasons are the main drivers which make dragon fruit lucrative to local farmers. Because of its high demand in the market, one can easily get good returns on investment. However, there are some challenges which most farmers face like how to produce quality fruit for export and the best farm practices to apply when growing this crop.
We recommend that you should make use of local dragon fruit seedlings or rooted cuttings instead of using seeds since buying is more economical than getting the plant from an open field where it might have been exposed to diseases like bacterial wilt. Also, research on areas with suitable weather conditions before venturing into cultivation especially in terms of temperature and rainfall patterns.
Make sure you have a market for the produce before going into production since it takes up to 5 months from planting to harvesting. Ensure your farm is protected from birds and pests which can eat ripen fruits. Seek advice from established farmers who harvest regularly or experienced extension officers and know how to deal with any pest or disease that might affect your crop.
Farmers should do proper planning such as demand forecast, site selection and equipment purchase.
Weeds can be a hazard to strawberry production in many ways. They compete with strawberry plants for moisture, nutrients, and light. Strawberry plants are dependent on open space for good light penetration, good water drainage to prevent crown rot, and room for the plants to grow. To achieve this, it is necessary to control weed growth.
Strawberries are planted in raised beds to keep the fruit off the soil. As the berries grow, their foliage can touch the ground, making them more susceptible to weed invasions. To prevent weed growth in strawberries, you must take proactive measures before they even sprout their first leaf.
Watch for different weed varieties
Preventing weed growth in strawberries is crucial for strawberry fields, but some weeds are undesirable even if they’re easy to deal with. For example, wild morning glories spread rapidly by vines that grow into strawberry plant crowns and choke them out. In cases like this where a particular species of weed is particularly aggressive, it may make sense to try a different method of control on those plants rather than going through the whole field and risking damage from other varieties of weeds at the same time.
If you use herbicides, make sure you apply them at the right time and in the correct manner. If they’re applied too early or late, they won’t work as well. Throughout the growing season, strawberry plants will be especially vulnerable to weed growth if their leaves are nipped by frosts or damaged by hail storms. When this happens, weeds can grow into a thick patchwork that creates a monoculture of unwanted vegetation within a field of strawberries that would otherwise be producing high yields.
Weed seeds can be present in virtually any type of soil, so growers need to conduct a preliminary inspection of an area before planting strawberries there. One method is called “walkover scouting” where pairs of people walk through strawberry fields with wide spacing between each other and use their feet to feel for weeds that may have already sprouted or ones that are about to come up. If you find any seedlings, try using one of the weed control methods below:
Pull out weeds by hand while the soil is still moist
Use pre-emergent herbicide to kill any weed seeds before they sprout
Applying a pre-emergent herbicide after planting will not prevent weeds from invading strawberries, but it can kill any new arrivals. When applying this type of chemical, be sure to follow manufacturer instructions for use near strawberries. Once weeds reach about 3 inches in height, you can pull them up and remove them from the field, or cut them with a mower and leave the vegetation on top of the ground where it’ll eventually break down to a manageable size.
Keep Weeds Manageable Using Mulch
You can also prevent weed growth in strawberries by utilizing mulch around the plants, but this may not be an option for organic growers because of the risks associated with using artificial chemicals. Strawberries have shallow roots that benefit from being kept warm and moist. In addition to weeds, straw mulch helps reduce evaporation as well as regulate soil temperature, which is why it’s been used since ancient times. There are many ways you can manage strawberry beds using mulch:
Straw bale gardening – Grow strawberries between rows of straw bales and keep them off the ground where they won’t come into contact with weed seeds or soil
Weed fabric – Use a type of impermeable weed fabric that prevents seeds from poking through the ground and growing
Mulch mat – Take sheets of black plastic and cover the rows in between strawberry plants, then push straw mulch over the edges to prevent it from blowing away or seeping into the soil
If you’re Growing Strawberries organically…
Regular herbicides should never be used on organic strawberry crops. Instead, try tying up weeds with something like baling twine so you can trim them off once they die out. Be sure not to leave any living vegetation in your strawberry field because it could eventually begin to regrow and spread its seed throughout your crop, making it harder to keep weeds at bay.
Regardless of how you choose to combat weedy invaders, remember that weeding and killing weeds should be done early and often for best results. The most important time to keep weeds out of strawberry beds is between March and May, when weeds are at their prime and strawberries are just starting to emerge from the ground. Keeps a close eye on any new growth for hampering weeds so they can’t take hold in your crop, thus limiting the damage they could potentially cause during future growing seasons.
The Hass avocado is the most popular variety in the world, it originated in La Habra Heights in California in the 1920s and it was patented by Rudolph Hass in 1935, the trees are upright with high vigor which indicates that they will grow tall and require pruning.
The Hass avocado leaves do not produce aniseed smell when crushed; neither do new shoots produce red flecking on wood. The fruits are oval and medium shaped, the flesh recovery stands at 70%. The fruit skin changes color from green to purplish-black when mature and black when ripe, mature fruits weigh between 180 to 350 g. The hass avocado’s maturity is mid-season to late season, it also has one of the longest harvesting seasons and an outstanding shelf-life and good shipping characteristics.
Optimal Ecological Requirement
Altitude range between 1200-2500 meters above the sea
Well distributed rainfall range of not less than 1000mm
Optimum growing temperature range of 20℃ to 25℃
Deep, well drained fertile sandy or alluvial loam soil with pH ranging from 5.5-6.5
Trees should be planted at the beginning of the seasonal rainfall and as soon as the rain has deeply penetrated the ground. Trees planted at this time of the year have a full growing period ahead to establish themselves before the next dry season.
Site selection and Ploughing
In selecting planting site, a well-drained site is given top priority since avocado is highly affected by water logging and phytophthora root rot disease. Ensure there are no clay layers within a depth of 2ft. Hollowing is avoided where water accumulates even for short period, soil should be ploughed sufficiently to eliminate debris and clods, plough to a fine tilth. Avoid field operations when it is wet to avoid soil compaction and hard pans which affect proper root development. Soil analysis should be done at least 6 months before planting, to allow time for required fertilizers be applied and soil be conditioned ready for planting.
Planting and bringing the tree to bearing
The following aspects need to be considered when planting a new orchard
Availability of irrigation water
Cultivar to be planted
Spacing of Hass avocado can vary from 5m by 5m to 9m by 5m. To facilitate movement of orchard equipment between the trees for spraying and harvesting, a rectangular system should be applied.
The tree rows should be planted as close as possible in an east-west direction for maximum sunlight on both sides of the trees. The tree drip area should be kept clean of any growing crop but should be mulched.
Ensure that at the time of planting the soil is clean of weeds in the planting rows, the irrigation has been installed and is in a working condition and enough stakes are available for supporting the trees directly after planting.
Trees are kept upright and out of direct sunlight until they are physically planted. Planting holes can be dug with a hoe and spade and needs to be 2ft by 2ft by 2ft.
Bag is carefully cut open along one side without disturbing the root system. Loose soil is piled into planting hole so that the soil level of the avocado tree will be 1/3 above the ground. The tree is then kept upright and the hole is filled with soil and firmly pressed down, fill to the soil level of the planting bag.
Mulching is done around the tree to prevent drying out of the soil and keep the root system cool and active.
Supporting should be done using 1.8 to 2.0m treated poles/bamboo sticks, planted +/- 50mm away from the main stem of the tree. Fastening the trees against the pole should not be too tightly done rather loosely. Care should be taken to ensure the stake is not placed within the root zone.
Avocados have large soft leaved and evaporate a lot of water in warm weather, so they need regular watering in case of insufficient rainfall especially during flowering and fruit setting. The amount of water required for an avocado plant in a week is about 70 Litres on average.
When to irrigate
When signs of stress from lack of water begin to show, it’s the most efficient way to water. The following signs are indication of water stress;
Footprints or tire tracks that remain in the grass long after being made.
Many leaf blades folded in half.
If a soil sample sought from a profile 1-2 ft. deep is not pliable and shreds into soil droplets upon dropping to the ground.
Premature fruit drop and /or flaccid fruits on trees.
Rate of evaporation and the soil moisture content can also be used to know when irrigation should be done. In this case, moisture indicators known as irrometers are used to measure the soil moisture content. They should be placed at a distance of 30cm (12 inches) and 60cm (24 inches) from the top soil, since that is the root zone for an avocado plant.
Efficiency of water application
Efficient watering does not saturate the soil and does not allow water to run off.
Extremes in watering frequency and amount should be avoided since they lead to water runs off and wastage.
Light frequency on the other hand, is inefficient and encourages shallow/restricted root systems.
2-3 irrigation rounds per week in the peak irrigation periods is typically ideal. In case of rainfall, irrigation should be suspended depending on rainfall amounts.
Timing of irrigation
The best time to irrigate is in the early morning hours and/or late evening to avoid water wastage through evaporation if done during the day.
Avocados require 8000-9000m3 per Ha for the whole year including rain water supply. The moisture requirement varies in amount depending on the prevailing physiological stage. These stages include; flowering, fruit set, fruit drop, fruit sizing and fruit quality.
You got to love this,
This coming rainy season, OxfarmAg Limited is rolling out a hass avocado package plan amounting to Kshs.40,500 where we targeting 99 Farmers for 99 Acres with 99 FREE Beehives.
What is in the package? (40,500/- per Acre)
Our package comes with;
150 certified Hass avocado seedlings
Soil treatment using the organic manure for the 150 seedlings
Labor (digging holes and planting)
Free Beehive per acre
Transport (20/- per Km to & from any of our nearest branch)
Kenya is ranked 8th producer of Hass avocado globally with the production and ability to export 30 tonnes to Canada, Europe, UAE and China. With the rising demand Kenyan farmers are looking forward to expand their export market to South Korea, which is highly ranked in regards to the consumption of the fruit. In the export market each fruit retails between Kshs.10-20 but still not possible to satisfy the incoming demand.
Tree tomatoes prefer subtropical climate. For vigorous growth, they require well-drained fertile soil which is rich in organic matter. The soil must be permeable since the plants are not tolerant to water-logging.
Tree tomatoes grow naturally on soils with a pH of 5 to 8.5 and do not tolerate tightly compacted soil. Although they can be planted under irrigation, rainfall between 600 and 4000 millimeters is suitable. The crop cannot survive in areas with prolonged drought and must have ample water during the dry season. Application of mulch retains moisture in a tree tomato plantation and also reduces weed growth.
Annual temperatures between 15 and 20 °C are ideal for tree tomato production. It is intolerant to frost (below -2 °C) and drought stress. Tree tomatoes grow well in altitude of between 1,500m to 3,000M above sea level.
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The history of the mango tree can be traced back to the Bronze Age, or almost 4,000 years ago. Originally, a native of southern Asia, especially eastern India, the mango tree was introduced to Southeast Asian countries by Buddhist monks. Later, it was brought to Africa by the Portuguese, from where the mango tree spread across the world.
The English word ‘mango’ is an adaption of the Malayalam name for the fruit, which is ‘maanga‘. A member of the Anacardiaceae, or the cashew family, the scientific name of mango is Mangifera indica.
What are the medicinal benefits of mango leaves?
Now that you know the health benefits of eating mango, let’s look at some of the medicinal uses of mango leaves:
Decreases blood pressure: Extract of mango tree leaves has antihypertensive properties. As a result, having tea made with mango leaves a few times a day helps in decreasing blood pressure.
Helps in controlling diabetes: Tender mango leaves which are pink or purple in color are rich in tannins and anthocyanins. Juice of these mango leaves taken on an empty stomach in the morning helps in controlling blood sugar levels.
Treats oral problems: Clean a few old/mature mango leaves and boil them in water until the water turns slightly yellow. Add some salt to this water and rinse the mouth with it.
Eliminates free radicals: Mango tree leaves contain antioxidants and vitamin C. Consuming mango leaf extract can help eliminate free radicals and protect the body from oxidative damage.
Cleanses the stomach: Soak a few mango leaves in warm water and leave them overnight. Consuming this water on an empty stomach in the morning helps in cleansing the stomach and flushing out toxins from the body.
Other health benefits include;
Prevents anemia: Mango is rich in iron. Also, the vitamin C present in mango increases the absorption of iron.
Improves digestion: Being rich in fiber and polyphenols, mango aids in decreasing constipation and inflammation of the bowels.
Helps gain weight: Consuming mango with milk helps in nourishing the body and gaining weight.
Boosts immunity: Apart from vitamin C, mango also contains folate, zinc and vitamin B6. All these contribute greatly towards strengthening the immune system
Improves eyesight: Presence of an abundance of carotenoids which help in improving eyesight.
Keeps heart healthy: Mango is a good source of selenium and B6, both of which promote heart health.
What are the useful parts of the mango tree?
Mango bark: Consuming the powder of dried mango bark provides relief from diarrhea.
Mango gum: The gum obtained from the bark of the mango tree can be applied on cracked feet and areas affected by scabies.
Mango sap: The juice that oozes from the branch after plucking a mango can be applied on bee stings to relieve pain.
Mango seed: Obtained from mango seed, mango butter can be applied on the skin to soothe sunburns, remove and prevent stretch marks, heal scars and reduce wrinkles. It can also be used as a hair moisturizer. Mango seed extract has proved helpful in losing weight and decreasing obesity.
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Plantain, a major group of banana varieties (genus Musa) that are staple foods in many tropical areas. The edible fruit of plantain bananas has more starch than the common dessert banana and is not eaten raw.
Because plantains have the most starch before they ripen, they are usually cooked green, either boiled or fried, in savory dishes. The ripe fruits are mildly sweet and are often cooked with coconut juice or sugar as flavoring.
Plantains may also be dried for later use in cooking or ground for use as a meal, which can be further refined to a flour.Plantains are usually ready for harvest anywhere from 14 to 20 months depending on the climate and other factors.
Flowering usually happens within 10-15 months, while an additional 4-8 months is needed for fruit it develop and ripen.
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Do you believe in investing for generational benefit? Let me explain about sustainable Macadamia farming as a business.
It’s not a quick return investment that you plant today and you become millionaire after a month.
This investment need patience since from your initial investment, you get first returns after 3-4 years. And still you will have to wait another three years for you to break even and be profitable.
But why should you invest in this long term project of macadamia farming.
This is a sustainable agribusiness with guaranteed income like the case of real estate. Once you employ the patience needed you will be in for good ride.
An acre of land holds 80 macadamia trees. With good agricultural practices and weather, each tree can produce between 60kgs – 120Kgs per year of macadamia nuts at maturity. A kg of macadamia retails between Ksh 100 to Ksh 200.
This has potential to earn you the farmer Ksh (480,000 – 1.9M) per year.
Macadamia tree has a life span of more that 40 years. You will be pocketing above amount per year from your one acre, if you have bigger sized farm the better.
Investing your land under macadamia does not limit you, you have options to intercrop. Our OxfarmAg agronomists will advice you better.
Depending on your region initial startup cost include. Land, irrigation system, land preparation, certified seedlings, and management. Other recurring cost after the initial investment are weeds control, irrigation, pruning and general management.
Our estimation for an acre from land buying to setting up a system in place plus fencing ranges between (1m – 3m)
We came up with a package that helps farmer during initial setup stage that ensures farmer save on time and cost. We call it Oxfarm Macadamia Package. We assume a farmer has land, irrigation system and has done initial land ploughing.
Our agronomists will visit your farm for further advise as to how best you can make use of your farm.
This is what is inclusive of the macadamia package
Free consultancy (Normally we charge 5,000 but now it’s free)
Free beehive ( SAVE Ksh 6500)
80 certified Macadamia nuts seedlings. (Discounted at 15%)
Organic manure (earthlee) per holes (Equivalent to a bucket of normal manure). (Discounted at 50%)
Labor (measurement and digging of planting holes, mixing and soil treatment, planting) (discounted at 50%)
Life time free agronomy support.
All these you get at a cost of 37600 exclusive of transport. You can also opt to buy seedlings which we sell at Ksh 350 but we have discounted them for this season at Ksh 295 if you pick them in any of our demo farms. ( Nairobi, Nyeri, Nakuru or Eldoret) Talk to us 0706222888/ 0740000044
The avocado (persea Americana) is believed to have originated in south-central Mexico between 7000-5000 Bc, it’s a member of the flowering plant family lauraceae. Avocado fruit is a large berry containing a single large seed, the trees are partially self- pollinating and are often propagated through grafting to ensure fruit quality and quantity.
Avocados are cultivated in tropical, subtropical and Mediterranean climates of many countries, with Mexico being the leading producer of avocados, supplying 32% of the world total. Evidence suggests that there are three separate domesticated avocado landraces in the world.
West Indian landrace
The Mexican and Guatemalan landraces originated in the highlands of those countries, west Indian landrace on the other hand, is a lowland variety that ranges from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador to Peru.
In Kenya, avocado is an important commercial fruit for both local and export markets. The fruit is high nutritious, rich in proteins and cholesterol free. It’s a source of minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium. It is also rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C and D.
1.2 Varieties of avocado grown in Kenya
Over 40 varieties of avocadoes are grown in Kenya, with HASS and FUERTE varieties being popular. Hass is the main export variety and Fuertes is preferred for processing. Other commercial varieties are Pinkerton, reed, Puebla, endranol, Gwen, wurtz, nabal, hazard, sharwil and Shepard
Hass is the most popular variety in the world. The mother tree of all Hass avocados was born in a backyard in La Habra Heights, California in 1920s, and later patented by Rudolph Hass in 1935.
Hass avocado trees are upright with high vigour, meaning they grow tall and require cutting back. Hass are predominantly Guatemalan and flowers are type A.
Leaves do not produce aniseed smell when crushed; neither do new shoots produce red flecking on wood.
Fruits are oval in shape with small to medium seed.
Fruit skin turn from green to purplish-black when mature and black when ripe.
Skin thickness is medium and easy peeling
Fruit surface is pebbly and fruit has a great taste
Hass has a flesh recovery of 70%
Mature fruits weigh between 180-350g
Maturity is mid-season to late season
Hass fruit got an outstanding shelf-life and good shipping characteristics
It has one of the longest harvesting seasons
Fuertes is among the major varieties in export market.
The tree is broad and can grow very high, Fuertes are predominantly Mexican and flowers are type B.
Leaves produce strong aniseed smell when crushed, and red flecking wood of new shoots.
Fuertes is very productive, with pear shaped fruits with noticeable flat area on bottom corner.
Fruit has a smooth thin green skin which remains green when fruits are mature and ripe.
Creamy, pale green flesh, with flesh recovery of 77%
Fruit weight 140-425g
Fuertes mature early
Pinkertons are semi-dwarf tree with medium height and are predominantly Guatemalan with flower type A.
Leaves do not produce aniseed smell when crushed, neither do new shoots produce red flecking on wood.
Fruits are long, pear-shaped with small seed. Under cool conditions, the fruit can develop long neck.
Fruit are large and can weigh 225-510g
Fruit skin is of medium thickness, green with slight pebbling and excellent peeling
Skin colour is green which deepens as the fruit ripens
Creamy, pale green flesh with flesh recovery of 82%
Maturity is mid-season
Reed trees are semi-weeping column shape of medium shape; it belongs to Guatemalan race and has flower type A.
Leaves do not produce aniseed smell when crushed; neither do new shoots produce red flecking on wood.
Reed is a round fruit with medium seed
Skin colour is green even after the fruit is mature and ripe
Skin is of medium-thickness and of easy peeling
Fruit is medium to large size with weight of 225-510g
Creamy flesh with good taste and flesh recovery of 72%
It matures very late
Edranol trees are compact, medium size, Guatemalan race with flower type B.
Leaves are dark green in color and do not produce aniseed smell when crushed, neither do new shoots produce red flecking on wood.
Pomegranate plant is a small shrub with a maximum height of 10mtrs, our variety is Wonderful which goes for Kshs. 300 per seedling, it grows in semi-arid areas and can survive in both Alkaline and acidic soils, but extremely good in well drained heavy loam soils. Ph. of the soil between 6.5 and 7.5. Best propagation is through stems or cuttings, the plant survives for a duration of about 28-35 years so it’s important to ensure on the PH right, and to add sufficient Nutrients and manure to the soil prior to planting. Proper ploughing and establishing the nutrients will help in better root system and water management.
To purchase this fruit and to find out more about this fruit, kindly Call/Text/Whatsapp us on 0706222888