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.
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.
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.