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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.