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Why You Should Invest in Vegetable and Fruit Farming

Presently, the demand for fruits and vegies from Kenya has been temperate and high for both organic and value added products. Nonetheless, Most producers and companies exporting fresh fruits and vegetables from Kenya are both small and Medium with little if any investment capacity to broaden the production and take advantage of the market demand, and therefore have been unable to explore the export of value added products currently on demand in Europe and other International markets.

A good number of the current exports have been in raw fruits and vegetables and largely to the wholesale markets where competition is growing and prices going down. Currently, there are over 30 companies exporting fresh fruits and vegetables largely to the EU and, to a less extent, to the COMESA region, although the latter is largely informal. On average, the existing companies each exports 2 – 40 tonnes of fresh fruits per week, largely to the wholesale markets in Europe.

 Competitiveness

Competitiveness in Kenya rests with soils, irrigation, climate, opportunities, government policies as well as labour factor prices. Kenya has matchless comparative advantage for growing fruits and vegetables due to its warm, less humid tropical climate, plentiful rainfall and huge opportunities for irrigation. Soils of pH 5 to 6.5 are most ideal for the fruits (such as oranges, Avocados, mangoes and pineapples) and vast areas of this type is obtained in Kenya.

These soils are rare in the world.  Kenya’s climate is summer all year round: moderate temperatures (15 -30ºC) throughout the year with a bi-modal rainfall pattern. The soils have low levels of contamination due to prolonged periods of minimal use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides creating natural quasi-organic conditions in most areas.

The November to February harvest period in Kenya coincides with the northern hemisphere winter – a period of peak demand for fresh fruits and vegetables in Europe.

How to start Kienyeji chicken farming for eggs/chicks production

Justification behind vegetable and fruit farming

There is plenty of land in the country that can be devoted to fruit farming. The government owned irrigation schemes can provide ample land. Besides there is an increasing number of out growers complimenting the raw material supply effort.  The out growers however may be supported with skills, implements. An investor in fruit farming has the option of irrigating the fruit farms to ensure all year round production.

The demand for fresh fruits on a year-round   basis is increasing, and consumers are willing to pay higher prices for out-of-season fresh fruits.  Given EU market entry barriers, Kenya would rather target domestic, border and regional markets. Currently, there is an existing trade within the region supplying Southern Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda. The current production levels of fruits are yet to satisfy the domestic, border and regional demand. It is strategic to strengthen the existing trade which is not satisfied and yet expanding.

However, we have been advising our customers on the best practices that will ensure they sell their produce in  the International markets.

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Apple Farming – An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Many time we hear the phrase and think it’s just a proverb, but hey it is true. “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”

Apples have a good claim to promote health. They contain Vitamin C, which aids the immune system, and phenols, which reduce cholesterol. They also reduce tooth decay by cleaning one’s teeth and killing off bacteria. It has also been suggested by Cornell University researchers that the quercetin found in apples protects brain cells against neuro-degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease.

Apples are one of the most popular, flavorful and healthful fruits grown in the world. Three-fourths of America’s population, both young and old, name apples as one of their favorite fruits for snacking. They are also great with meals. Apples are pre-packaged in nature’s own wrapper. Several servings of apples and apple products should be included in children’s diet every day to help build a healthy body.

Today, the science of apple growing is called pomology. Over the years many people have worked together to refine methods to produce the best formed and tastiest apples. It takes about four or five years for apple trees to produce their first fruits. Apple trees are grown on farms, better known as apple orchards. In spring apple trees blossom with fragrant, sweet smelling white flowers.

Core facts about Apples

  • Apples come in many varieties– Apples come in a range of interesting flavors, offering a variety not available in most other fruits and vegetables.
  • Apples are convenient– One of Mother Nature’s original fast foods, they can be eaten fresh, or processed as sauce, juice and slices.
  • Apples are nutritious– Apples are a very good fruit for building healthy bodies.
  • Contains no fat, and contains no saturated fat – helps reduce risk of cancer.
  • Contains no sodium– helps reduce risk or high blood pressure.
  • Is an excellent source of fiber– helps reduce cholesterol and may help prevent certain types of cancer.
  • Has only 80 calories.
  • Contains no cholesterol.
  • Contains no artificial colors or flavors.

Related Story: HEALTHY BENEFITS OF LEMON AND HOW TO GROW THEM

 

COMMERCIAL APPLE PRODUCTION IN KENYA

Commercial apple production requires two essential preconditions: cold winters and relatively hot summers. Apples do well in areas with an annual rainfall of 800 to 1100 mm. Apples can do well in different soil types as long as the soil is deep, fertile, properly aerated and well drained. Sufficient soil moisture is desired during bud break and fruit set for proper fruit quality and yield.

Most apple cultivars are not sufficiently self-pollinating; it is advisable to plant other cultivars that act as pollinators, these include winter banana, Jonathan and golden dorset. A spacing of 2-3m between plants and 3-4m from row to row is ideal. Soil and leaf analysis will offer great insights and will determine the fertilizer program to be adapted.

Some varieties of apples that are popular in the country include Winter Banana, Anna and Top Red, all of which are viable in Kenya’s climate. Apples grow best in sandy to sandy-loamy soils that run deep and drain easily. The recommended pH for the soils is 5.5, which is slightly basic. If you are not sure what kind of soil you have, you can send samples to laboratories for testing.

You can start with a few seedlings, lets say 10 plants. Assuming that one will give you an average of 200-500 fruits within an year you have 2000 – 5000 fruits that you can sell between 10-15. This will approximately give you between 20000-50000 Shillings if you sell at Ksh 10 and between 30,000 and 75,000 if you sell at Ksh 15.

All you need to do is get out of your comfort zone and take that bold step. Order your seedlings today. Start early, plan well, and the returns are wonderful. Contact us today for more information.

 

Apples trees seedlings