Posted on

How Long Should Your Farming Enterprise Take To Become Profitable?

fruit and vegetable farming

Farming can be successful but for you to be successful, you have to think critically and out of the box. You must think like a modern tech farmer and not as that conservative traditional farmer. You must do away with the traditional methods and think as a business person, the traditional methods no longer work.

Most of the new farmers struggle because they follow passion instead of viewing farming as a business and a carrier. Whatever prevents you from getting into farming and succeeding can be done with. Let’s see what you can do to be successful if farming and how long it will take you.

Best methods to improve your farm profitability

Conduct Market Analysis First

If as a farmer you grow any type of crop without first knowing a specific market, you are bound to fail. Sadly, that’s what most people do. They rush into farming business without validating the market potential of their given crop.

Don’t look at what your neighbors are growing and decide, do your own analysis. Competition kicks in and the only way to stand out, is through lowering your prices. But that’s the best scenario, the worst case scenario would be the marketing dictating what price you get.

No one wants to lose control of how they price their commodities. But that’s what you’ll get when you fail to look for a market upfront. You’ll pay for the mistake by squeezing your margins dry. To be on the safe side, start by approaching all probable market outlets about your farming ideas and then choose an enterprise based on the feedback you receive. That way you’ll be sure that the market really needs what you intend to grow.

Hass Avocado and Macadamia farming will Improve Lives “ Kiraitu Murungi”

Make Sure You Choose The Right Crop

If you want to optimize on your probability, make sure you go for the right crop. Choosing the right crop to plant is the first step to optimizing farm profitability.

In any given market, consumers will demand more than one enterprise. As an entrepreneur under such circumstances, you’re face with a decision on what enterprise to select. My advice is simple, choose the one that has a higher market value.

The reason I say this is because the cost of production is almost the same across various enterprises. For example, whether you need to grow tree tomatoes or hass avocado you’ll require land, same land preparation, and same operation cost. But the difference is determined by how the market values a given crop.

Always Plan in Advance

Planning is important in all fields and those who ignore it do so at their own peril. It’s a fact that all professionals have plans – For instance, doctors follow a treatment plan, airline pilots follow a flight plan, and soldiers follow a military operation plan.

While we can’t guarantee your success – in fact no one can, having a plan dramatically increases your probability of success. The reason why most farming ideas no matter how great never live to see the light of day, is that they neglect this vital step.

Knowing this gives you unfair advantage over the rest of the folks. When you take your time to write a detailed farm plan, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration trying to figure what to do next.

And as with any agricultural produce, time is a luxury you cannot afford. Given the perishable nature of most horticultural produce, you’ll be messed up if you lack a plan of action.

Diversify Your farming Enterprises

Don’t try to specialize in farming. There are some other instances where specialization is paramount, but if you want farm profitability badly, you can’t afford to specialize.

You have likely heard the expression “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

For example, if you’re growing passion fruits for income, it could be a good idea to intercrop them with other vegetables such as, strawberries, onions, and spinach.

These intercropped short-term crops will enable you to earn some income before your main crop.

Stick to Your Plan

Starting a farm of your own is a fantastic way to give yourself some control and possibly earn an extra income at the same time.

Farming is risky, challenging, and not for the fainthearted. Farmers and agripreneurs deal with unpredictable situations, such as crop failures and market fluctuations. One year may produce a bountiful harvest, while another may bring total devastation and little or no income.

This is all part of the business of agriculture. Now, when you face such situation, the last thing you need to do is switch plans.

While some challenges might require a change of plans, it’s better to stick to your plan and learn from your mistakes. It’s all part of the process that eventually leads to farm profitability.

Invest in Yourself

You need to continually invest in yourself to become better at what you do. Grasp any learning opportunity to help you make better farm decisions.

While you do this, don’t worry about being perfect. If you worry too much about being perfect, you’re never going to get anything done. Get your farm set up as soon as you can, and you can worry about learning the ins and outs of the trade later. Learning events such as field days, open days, and libraries are all good sources of information. ​

Don’t Take too Many Short Cuts

Farming entrepreneurs have a role to play. A role to protect the integrity of the industry and restore faith in the quality food standards. Taking short cuts defeats the whole logic of protecting the industry’s integrity.

Compliance to quality standards and other farm operations is key. Therefore, to safeguard your farm profitability, you need to adhere to those standards.

Keep Clear Book Records

Always ensure you keep current, accurate records. Pay attention to details. Know where your money is generated and spent. Storing receipts in a shoebox and waiting to post figures at the end of the year is not a recommended recordkeeping system.

Good records will help you to measure your cash flow as well as to estimate the profitability of the enterprises. ​

Ensure Food Safety in Mind

Remember that you’re growing food for human consumption. And as such, food safety is key. The only way to ensure that you’re growing safe and high quality produce, is by following the best agricultural practices.

Internationally producers and consumers are embracing the practices and. It’s not just a requirement but an important component in enhancing food safety. Consumers will pay you more when you’re accredited and certified against such standards.

Seek Help

No one is perfect when it comes to farming. Therefore there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t ask for help when you need it. Many people, including oxfarm, are happy to help people out.

Conclusion

Farming takes time, therefore be patient and persistent. Follow the above few tips and you will be surprised how first your farming enterprise will grow.

 

Posted on

Ksh 2000 for an Apple? Here are the most expensive fruits in the world

What Kenyans don’t know is that fruit farming is a venture that is done everywhere in the world. Imagine on a hot day seated under a tree sipping an ice-cold mango juice! Fruits and especially tropical fruits are highly valued in the world. However, there are crazy people in the world who will pay thousands of shillings for just a single fruit, either for its sweetness or just for class. Below are some of the most expensive fruits in the world.

10. Buddha shaped pears

They are found in China. According to Chinese myth, if you eat a buddha shaped pear you can become a model. This myth makes its very expensive selling at KSh 8,000 for a pair.

9. Sekai Ichi Apples

The world when translated means number one. These fruits are huge (about 15 inches all round and weigh about 1 Kg). The fruits were developed in 1974 and are still the most expensive apples in the world. A normal apple will cost you around KSh 25- KSh 30 while Sekai Apple will cost you KSh 2,100.

8. Dekopon Citrus Fruits

Dekopon fruits
Dekopon

If you are a lover of oranges, then you will definitely like dekopon citrus. They are larger than the normal oranges (size of softball). They are considered as the sweetest oranges in the world. Dekopon fruits were first grown in 1972 and only the perfectly grown make the cut and are shipped in the stores. A pack of 6 fruits costs KSh 8,000.

Read: Why buy vegetables while you can have your own bag garden?

7. Sembikiya Queen Strawberry

These are the most beautiful strawberries in existence. The appearance is what you pay for. They are red all over and the leaf on the outside is perfect and its totally dark green. Those who have eaten them say that they are so beautiful that eating them makes you feel guilty. If you are interested, be ready to part with KSh. 8, 500.

6. Square Watermelons

Melon fruits
square water melons

These are grown in Japan and were first shipped out of japan in 2014. They are square shaped because they are grown in a box. A single square watermelon weighs around 6.5Kg. They are only for the rich because those who buy them don’t even eat them, they display in their homes for decoration. If you are interested, be ready to part with KSh 80,000.

Read: Why You should shift gears to Hass avocado and Macadamia farming

5. Pineapples from the lost gardens of Heligan

The fruit was nurtured over two years using traditional and very expensive Victorian gardening techniques at the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. Horticulturalists created tropical conditions using small greenhouses heated using a chemical reaction between 30 tonnes of manure, urine and piles of straw. The gardens have been growing pineapples the same way since the 19th century, when they used to rent them out to wealthy Victorian families as a dinner table decoration. If you are interested in you will have to part with KSh. 100,000.

4. Taiyo no Tamango Mangoes

The name means eggs in the sun although they do not taste like eggs-they are just named after eggs. They are very sweet and do not have high sugar content. The highest paid price for these mangoes is KSh 300,000.

3. Ruby Roman Grapes

If you are obsessed with eating grapes in supermarket while you shop, this is not something you can do with ruby roman grapes. They are grown in Ishikawa Japan and they are known as table grapes. Normal grapes say in Kenya would cost you KSh 600 a kilo while Ruby Roman will cost you KSh 400,000 a bunch.

2. The Densuke Watermelon

densuke-watermelon fruit
densuke-watermelon

They are much larger than the typical melon with an average size of 10kg. Instead of having a green color, they are black. Grown in Japan where only 10,000 are grown yearly. Normally these watermelons are bought by the rich (the rich like rare things). One watermelon costs KSh 610,000.

Read: How to control various soil diseases in our farms

1.Banana Art

These are normal bananas where artists develop some art on them and sell them to the rich people at very high prices. Many Kenyans would ask why they would pay thousands of shillings just for a banana that won’t last forever. Well, in this world there are crazy people who have much money and look for ways to spend it.

Read: Cost and returns of establishing successful dairy farm

In our motherland Kenya, for you to be counted as a farmer, grow hass avocados, tissue culture bananas, Mangoes, Kiwi, Macadamia.

 

 

Posted on

Earn Ksh500,000 Per Acre/ Year by Growing Pawpaw

One acre under Pawpaw can hold 450 plants at a spacing of 3 by 3 Meters. Let’s now take an approximation of one pawpaw plant producing a minimum of 50 fruits sold at the farm at a price of KSh 25 per fruit. The gross returns per acre during the year will be 450X50X25 = 562500. The total cost of establishing such an orchard is approximately 100,000 with production expected only in the second year. From the second year onward, the plantation can offer returns of regarding KSh four 562,000 per annum with a little maintenance value of about KSh 60,000 giving a gross margin/income of about KSh 502,000 per acre/ year. The investment pays back in a very short time because the crop grows considerably quicker than most alternative fruits taking about 9-10months to mature.

Related Content: How to establish grafted purple passion Fruits Orchard

The pawpaw (fruit of genus Carica papaya) is a tropical plant typically grown in tropical climates. Pawpaws are general delicious fruits that are available all the year round in Kenya. The productive lifetime of a pawpaw plant is about 5 years. Thus, once you have established the plantation, financial gain can flow with very little effort provided you’ve got a prepared market. Pawpaw need warm to hot climates for growth and temperature vary from 21-30°C, and an altitude vary of 0-1600 m higher than water level, with annual downfall of about 1000mm that is equally distributed.

Pawpaw seeds are often directly planted into the farm at a rate of half-dozen seeds per hole then reduced to four plants per hole after germination, and step by step reduced the to 1 plant per hole after flowering so as to balance male and feminine flowers. Generally, pawpaw takes six months to flower and another 5 months to mature for harvesting. This makes a complete of eleven months. Thirty to a hundred and fifty fruits per tree are often attainable annually betting on the extent of management.

Related content: Why Hass Avocado is the new Cash Crop

For more information, visit our offices. If in need of seedlings, book now!!!

 

Posted on

Cultivation of Mangoes in Kenya

The mango industry in Kenya has expanded considerably over recent years, not only in size but also in the geographical location of commercial and homestead plantings. Mango is one of the most important fruit crops in the tropical and subtropical lowlands. It is native to India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Malaysia, but can be found growing in more than 60 other countries throughout the world.

Also Read: Tips on how to get over 20Kgs/Tree from Tree-tomato farming

Counties Where Mangoes can be grown in Kenya

No longer is commercial mango cultivation restricted to the Coast region, as significant plantings of improved cultivars now also exist in the Makueni county,Meru County, Murang’a County, Nairobi County, Nakuru County, Siaya County, Taita-Taveta County, Tana River County, Tharaka Nithi County, Bungoma County, Kitui County, Embu County, Machakos County, Kiambu County among other regions.

 

Basically, In Kenya 7 out of 8 provinces produce mangoes. But the generally arid eastern region produces 61 per cent of all mangoes, followed by Rift Valley at 30 per cent and Coast, which produces 28 per cent.

 

As a result of this expansion, the mango fruit is becoming more popular with the local population. Despite this increasing popularity, only a few consumers and potential growers are familiar with the characteristics of the many different cultivars of mango that are now grown and available in the country.

 

Varieties of Mangoes Grown in Kenya

These include Apple, Ngowe, Kent, Keitt, Tommy Artkins, Van Dyke, Haden, Sensation, Boribo, Sabine among others. Main characteristics that differentiate varieties are the fruit shape, size, aroma, sweetness, colour, fibre content, taste, seed size and resistance to diseases. Proper selection of a mango cultivar for production has to take into account the following criteria:

  • good adaptation to the local conditions (e.g. rainfall and dry periods)
  • alternation of flowering and fruiting
  • tolerance to pest and disease infections
  • designated use and market requirements

 

The mango is best adapted to a warm tropical monsoon climate with a pronounced dry season (>3 months) followed by rains. However, information from other countries indicates that crops

cultivated for a long time over an extended area show a high degree of diversity due to varied environmental influences

Economic Importance of Mangoes include;

  • Consumed as fresh fruits
  • Source of income
  • Source of foreign exchange
  • Source of employment
  • Combats nutritional disorders

Also Read: How well-planned are you for tree fruit farming this season?

For more information about mangoes farming visit our offices. Also, book your seedlings today!!!

 

Posted on

Why Record Keeping is Important in Fruit Farming

 

Production record-keeping is an important task for any fruit or crop farm, whether small, medium or large.

Currently, government agencies, lenders, and insurance companies are requiring better and more accurate records. Not only bushels per acre, income and expenses, but also weather records are becoming increasingly necessary.

An important tool for any Fruit or crop production farming operation, regardless of size, is having and maintaining a recordkeeping system for crop production. A common question that often gets asked is why should I keep production records? There are several reasons as follows: keeping records meets the requirements of various farming regulations; complete and accurate records help demonstrate your protection of soil, water and other environmental resources; records will help you analyze the performance of your farm’s cropping system; records may provide liability protection in the event of a complaint or lawsuit concerning your farming operation; and complete records demonstrate conformance with regulations.

The Recordkeeping System for fruit Production is designed for recording pesticide applications, nutrient applications, manure applications, animal burial and composting, irrigation, employee training, and pesticide drift management plans.

Also Read: Why Hass Avocado is the new Cash Crop

Lenders and Insurance Need your records

From the business aspect of the operation, record keeping is needed for future analysis of production methods, cropping history, and decision making. Record keeping provides valuable information concerning what worked and what did not and possibly, the reasons why something did not turn out as planned. As we all know, the best production methods and hybrids can fail due to weather conditions. Keeping daily records of precipitation and high and low temperatures is easy to accomplish and you can have a fairly accurate weather station. A high/low thermometer, rain gauge, something to record them on, and about ten minutes a day is all that is needed.

One set of accurate records should be enough to satisfy all your needs. If you keep good records of production, expenses, income, and weather, you should have all the required information for any purpose, from crop insurance to lenders to your own needs. You should be able to make informed conclusions regarding the past and to plan for the future.

Good records lead to better decisions and hopefully higher returns.

For more information on recordkeeping for fruit or crop production, contact Oxfarm Organic Ltd, Extension horticulture educators for tree fruit Production.

Also Read: how to grow peaches and nectrines

 

 

Posted on

Passion Fruit Farming: How to get 15-20 tonnes per hectare

Passion fruit, a climbing vine, may be a versatile crop whose demand is growing in  export as well as domestic markets.

The fruit are often eaten fresh or consumed after extracting the pulp and creating juice.

The juice is used in a very  many forms of products and also the pulp could also be added to completely different dishes. A large range of cosmetic merchandise and food flavours are derived from the fruit that’s made in Vitamins A and C and carotene.

Varieties

Yellow and purple varieties exist. Purple varieties do higher at higher altitudes than the yellow varieties. Yellow varieties, on the other hand, tend to yield higher and is more resistant against diseases.

The purple selection is acidic, varies in style and succulence with intense aromatic scent and spherical in form. The yellow selection is greater, with similar taste however presumably less aromatic, a lot of acidic and is also additionally spherical in form.

Both varieties are green before ripening, and they are big for industrial and domestic functions.

Ecological necessities

Passion fruits perform well in a very wide selection of altitudes from 1200m to 1,800m on top of water level East of the Rift valley  and up to 2,000m on top of water level West of the Rift valley.

Optimum temperature for purple passion fruit is between 180C to 250C and 250C to 300C for yellow passion fruit whereas the rain ought to be well-distributed, between 900mm to 2000mm p.a..

Excess rain causes poor fruit set and encourages diseases principally leaf and fruit rusts. For good production, passion fruits do well in a  variety of soils, that ought to be moderately deep and fertile with soil PH going  between 6.0 and 6.5.

In high rainy areas, the soils ought to be well-drained as plants won’t face up to waterlogging or flooding. Some passion fruit enterprises that were doing well in Uasin Gishu County some 5 years ago  folded thanks to soil acidity (pH < 5.0), that reduces nutrient uptake and accelerates Fusarium wilt disease that causes rot of roots and stems finally drying of the entire plant. Farmers are encouraged to use manure and lime within the holes and whole field to cut back the soil acidity effects.

Planting and trellising

Passion fruit are often grown from seeds however grafting often produces improved stock. Yellow passion fruit is best for production of rootstock thanks to superior disease resistance whereas purple is sweet for fruit production.

Seeds germinate in four weeks after removal of the pulp and drying. Production of seedlings in plastic luggage is that the most used methodology.

Up to 3 seeds are planted in every bag then reduced to 1 after emergence. Seedlings would force up to four months to achieve an acceptable transplanting growth stage. After about seven weeks of growth following transplanting, each plant ought to have up to four healthy lateral stems.

Transplanting ought to be done at the start of the season around April-June. Passion fruit has deep roots, therefore soils ought to be well-tilled. Transplant to a field with posts having wire trellis to support the growing crop and fruits made.

The vines are sometimes directed in order that growth is in each directions on the supporting wires. Yields are highest following a regular fertilization regime. Old or dead shoots ought to be pruned. Intercropping with vegetables or different annuals is suggested to maximize free area particularly once the crop is young.

Once established, the vines grow speedily and the fruit ought to flower after about seven months. Ideally, young passion vines ought to be set within the field early in the season when there’s no danger of drought.

Passion vines are planted 2m from one row to the opposite and 3m from one plant to the other. Horizontal trellises have cross-pieces at the highest of every post with 2 to four wires set up horizontally 60cm apart on the highest of every cross-piece.

Vertical trellises accommodate significant posts without cross-pieces, with 2 to 3 wires set up on the row like wire fencing, hooked up to the posts from the highest down at intervals of regarding 30-40cm apart.

Trellis wires ought to be size nine or ten galvanized steel. The posts got to be stout enough to face up to the load of the vines and fruits produced throughout a season that unremarkably includes the blow of robust winds. Ideally, they ought to be long enough to produce a trellis height of 1.5m, with 45-75cm within the ground. Trellis rows ought to be oriented north-south for max exposure to daylight, and also the vines ought to be allowed to conjoin on the trellises to market cross-pollination.

Read Also:The role of an Agronomist

Fertilizer application

At planting, use 175g of Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) and one ‘debe’ (about 20kg) of yard manure and mix well. To get high yields, regular fertilization is critical.

Apply 300g of metal nitrate (CAN) per plant p.a. in 2 applications of 150g each during rainy season. Spraying with foliar feeds and trace components is additionally suggested.

Crop protection

Weeding is crucial once the plants are in initial stages. Diseases is sometimes sufficiently controlled by crop rotation as plantations are not kept for over 3 years.

Infected stuff ought to be pruned and destroyed and vines kept as open as attainable to permit thorough application of sprays. Diseases may be controlled by combination of excellent management, smart plantation hygiene, and an acceptable spray programme.

Pests lower fruit quality and will be controlled by often checking the areas round the plantation for signs of build-up. If necessary, spray to manage the pests before they unfold to the crop.

Harvest

When prepared for harvesting, the skin of the fruit is deep purple or yellow. Its pulpy interior is bright yellow, full of tiny black seeds. For contemporary market or use, the fruit is picked once color changes occur.

For processing, the fruit is allowed to drop to the bottom and picked a minimum of each second day. At this stage, the fruit is shriveled however quite appropriate for process. Yields decline every year till harvests don’t seem to be adequate within the four year.

Yield and incomes

Yields of over 15-20 tonnes/ha are attainable. In one year, a farmer might earn up to Sh1 million per acre as compared to Sh35,000-Sh60,000 for wheat or maize.

Read Also:The benefits of certified fruit seedlings

For more information visit our offices. Book your grafted purple passion seedlings today.

 

Purple passion fruit seedling

Posted on

Pruning, Hedging and Topping Mature Hass Avocado Trees

The need and desirability to prune or control the growth of mature avocado trees has been a matter of debate for many years. We have found that pruning does not increase fruit yield in Kenya. Continual and severe pruning generally stimulates vegetative growth at the expense of fruiting, so pruning should be done only when absolutely necessary. There are, however, situations in all avocado-growing areas where tree control by pruning is necessary and desirable.

Reasons for Pruning

  • To reduce harvest costs. Increasing harvest costs are becoming a major factor in avocado production. Fruit produced in the tops of tall, upright trees are more difficult and costlier to harvest. It is questionable in some cases if the cost of harvest is compensated by the return. Reducing and maintaining the height of the tree at an economical level is a practice followed by many even though the total crop may be reduced.
  • To prevent wind damage. Major damage and breakage may be prevented in areas of extreme winds by lowering the height of fall-growing cultivars.
  • To allow more effective pest control. More efficient and effective spray coverage may be achieved where there is less congestion between rows and when tree heights are not excessive, so pruning may be justified in areas which require chemical pest control.
  • To permit effective irrigation. Some pruning may be necessary in orchards that are sprinkler-irrigated to assure a uniform water-distribution pattern. Low-hanging branches may interfere with the pattern of low-head sprinklers. These branches should be selectively removed. Similarly, overhead sprinklers may be obstructed by tall trees and tree height control must be practiced allowing uniform coverage.
  • To permit cultivation and mowing. Low-hanging branches may interfere with cultivation or mowing where these practices are used. It is best to selectively prune the low branches rather than risk breaking them off accidentally with cultivation or mowing equipment.
  • To delay crowding. The need to thin an orchard may be delayed for a year or 2 by selective removal of branches on temporary trees which will later be removed. This provides more illumination to permanent trees and prevents loss of lower foliage and production. Such pruning does reduce the yield of the temporary trees, but reduced production for a year or 2 is preferred to no production at all on the temporary trees.

Methods of Pruning

Selective pruning

Selective pruning is accomplished by hand tools or power-assist hand tools in which the cuts made are individual and selective. This is preferred in most cases and is the only type of pruning adaptable to the terrain on which some avocado orchards are planted. Selective pruning, as the name implies, allows the individual selection of branches which are to be removed. It may be upright shoots or branches to limit or reduce the height of the tree,

overhanging side branches to reduce crowding, low-hanging branches which interfere with irrigation or other

cultural operations etc.

Prune sparingly and make cuts as close to a lateral branch as possible when such pruning is necessary. The greatest growth stimulation is nearest the cut. Removal of large branches will stimulate vegetative growth over the entire tree.

Read Also: how to grow peaches and nectrines

Mechanical hedging and topping

Hedging and topping are non-selective types of pruning which are being used today by economic necessity. Relatively little topping and even less hedging has been practiced in Muranga. However, the use of hedgers and toppers in southern Florida for avocado tree control has increased in recent years and has become an accepted cultural practice.

Hedging and topping are done by large machines which are non-selective in their cutting but which remove growth at a lower cost. The lower cost of this type of pruning may well compensate the temporary loss of production that results and the repeated tree control necessary with the following regrowth. It should be noted that the vigor and productivity of avocado trees vary depending on the cultivar and climate in which they are grown. We are not sure that frequent non-selective cutting to control growth would be a sound or economical practice in climates and with cultivars such as we have in Muranga. More information is needed concerning these practices in other areas. Chemical growth inhibitors to retard the regrowth of pruned trees or to initially train them to a more compact size has been investigated. There are currently no satisfactory materials for use, even though some have shown promise.

Time of Pruning

Light selective pruning may be done at any time of year. Heavy pruning is best done after the crop is harvested but before late summer or early fall. Late pruning may stimulate growth.

For more information, visit our offices. Book your hass avocado seedlings today.

 

Posted on

Why farmers should embrace new Hass avocado variety

Kenya produces an estimated one hundred and fifteen thousand metric tons of avocados annually. Out of this, 70%  are grown by small scale farmers. The local market has been a major beneficiary of these avocados, but lately, this has changed drastically. Many farmers have begun commercializing to the export market thanks to new variety; Hass,which has high demand in the European market.

Other varieties grown are Fuerte and Pinkerton. Initiatives by the Kenyan government have seen a major boost to the avocado industry to fully comply with global market standards and regulations. KEPHIS has been actively involved in monitoring and educating farmers and exporters. Increased investment by county governments also plays an important role in boosting farmers who have consistently struggled with low prices from middlemen.

For instance, Murang’a County one of avocado growing areas, many farmers have embraced avocado cultivation following the County government initiative of distributing free commercially viable Hass variety seedlings to farmers. They have also directed that the price of one piece of export avocado should be at least 10 Kenya shillings.

An avocado farmer reveals that they used to cultivate fuerte and pinkerston which were not high yielding. Since they embraced Hass variety they have seen an emergence of many buyers such as; Kakuzi, Vegpro, Olvando among others.

Also see: The role of an Agronomist

How to plant avocados

Most people in Muranga used to depend on coffee as their source of livelihood. Farmers attests that avocados are easy to grow unlike other fruits as they do well in different types of soil and do not require a lot of water and attention. They are fairly resistant to drought and average distributed rainfall is adequate for proper crop plant development. There are two ways of planting avocados.

  • First they are planted as seedlings which involve digging huge holes to retain water when the plants are young for a better growth. Manure is also required during their initial stages for a strong and better root development.
  • The second method is planting the ordinary avocado seeds. Top working entails cutting a whole tree and when it starts to shoot up again, we graft the emerging branches with the Hass variety to achieve a new tree which is highly productive.

Grafted hass Avocados

Grafted avocados trees take close to three to four years to be ready for fruiting and fruits can be harvested to a period of four months. On average, a single tree can yield to a maximum of 500 fruits in a season. The harvesting season for the fruit in this region is between the months of March to June.

One farmer attests that for them to have a bumper harvest, they usually have to crop manage their plant to the latter. This involves removing excess branches which reduces yields and application of ash to control mites which feeds on the base of the trees causing them to rot and eventually to dry. White flies are a major challenge they grapple with and to control them, they do regular sprays as well use traps.

On their three acre piece of land, a farmer can garner an average of two hundred and fifty thousand shillings in a season. Boniface a farmer in Muranga usually sell at forty shillings a kilogram to the established companies in the area and sometimes seven shillings per fruit to middlemen who transports the fruits to Nairobi, Thika and other major towns.

Oxfarm Organic Ltd is a licensed company that deals with seedlings. A part from growing avocados for sale, we run an avocado nursery as well. This entails planting ordinary avocado seeds in small black polythene paper bags and once they sprout and attain a height of three centimeter, we graft with the scion of the Hass variety before transplanting and selling the rest.

This process takes a period of four months for the grafted plants to be ready for planting. The demand for grafted avocados has increased by a great margin and we are are receiving orders from various people within all over the country.

We also graft and sell other seedlings as can be seen below. Book now for the next rainy season!!!

 

 

Posted on

How To Start A Lucrative Fruit and Vegetable Farming Business In Kenya

Kenya has a vast abundance of land, resources, and climate variations that allows it to produce different varieties of food and cash crops in its agricultural sector. This industry goes on to employ up to 70% of the Kenyan workforce, while contributing about 80% of the country’s GDP.

In the light of the economic output agriculture contributes to the economies of various African nations, the widespread demand and consumption of fruit and vegetable products in fast growing urban and rural areas has made fruit and vegetable farming in Kenya or Africa a lucrative agribusiness to venture into.

This opportunity is driving knowledgeable farmers living in Kenya to take advantage of the fast-growing market by either expanding their fruit and vegetable farms or to setup fruit and vegetable farms as one of their agribusiness subsidiaries.

What Is Fruit Farming About?

Fruit and vegetable farming is the cultivation of fruits and vegetables for human consumption. They can be grown by planting them in hanging baskets and window boxes or sown into dry or moist ground, and are widely consumed in many places around the world.

Facts and Benefits of Fruit Farming

Fruits and vegetables are one the world’s most popular source of food.

  1. China is the world’s largest producer of vegetable crops.
  2. fruits and vegetable farming is a great source of employment.
  3. Some fruits like tomatoes are very high in the carotenoid Lycopene. This means that eating them can lower your risk of cancer.
  4. A large amount of the nutrients in potatoes are just below the skin layer.
  5. Most vegetables don’t have to be stored in a fridge, but should be kept dark and dry.
  6. The Green-Yellow-Orange vegetables are rich sources of vitamin B-complex, vitamin-C, vitamin-A, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and beta-carotene.
  7. Fruits and vegetables are nutritious no matter their variant.
  8. Fruits and vegetables have a lot of fiber.
  9. Some fruits and vegetables contain toxins.
  10. Apples give an average human more energy than coffee.
  11. Tomatoes are botanically fruits because they have seeds.
  12. The skins of most fruits and vegetables are the most nutritious, and so, are better than the actual fruit.
  13. Orange peels are healthy because they contain a lot of fiber.

Business Opportunities in Fruit and Vegetable Farming

1). A Great Source of Food:

Fruits and vegetables have been feeding both humans and animals as far back as history has recorded. They’re highly nutritious and can serve as emergency meals in situations where cooking certain meals may take a long time to complete.

Some commonly consumed fruits include:

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Mangoes
  • Strawberries
  • Avocado
  • Tomatoes
  • Water Melons
  • Paw Paws

2). Consumer Goods:

Asides just serving as a great source of food, fruits and vegetables are also used in the production of consumer goods like hair dye, olive oil, jam, foot rub, and metal polish.

 

Setting Up Your Fruit and Vegetable Farming Business

1). Select the Fruit And/or Vegetable Crop You Intend to Cultivate:

The first step in starting a fruit and vegetable farming business is to decide what type of fruits or vegetables you intend to grow. As earlier stated, there are vast numbers of fruits and vegetables to choose from, and picking the right one or set is critical to growing a successful fruit and vegetable farm.

Some questions to ask yourself in your decision-making process are:

  • How resistant is this crop to pests and diseases?
  • Is there a large demand for this crop?
  • What are the risks of growing this crop?
  • Where and how will the fruits and vegetables be sold?
  • What volume of this crop should I first produce?

When you’ve answered the questions to the best of your knowledge and are satisfied with the preliminary results your fruit or vegetable crop of choice may fetch you, you can go ahead to start a fruit or vegetable farming business in that regard.

2). Choose A Suitable Farmland:

Depending on the type of fruit and/or vegetable crop you’ve decided to plant, you should choose a farmland that’d work perfectly for it. Some factors to consider in choosing a farmland include:

  • Access to sunlight
  • Topography
  • Demographic
  • Availability of water
  • Soil type

Every fruit and/or vegetable crop has the best type of soil or conditions in which it can grow, and your second job as a farmer is to choose the best farmland that’s suitable for the fruits and vegetables you’ve decided to grow.

3). Apply Manure and Start Planting:

Mix a soilless mix and a balanced manure that contains equal percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium with the soil. Soilless mixes are sterile and will help rid the soil of weed and diseases, and provide great drainage for the vegetables.

Next, separate each vegetable per container and plant the seeds at the correct depth. Also ensure there’s enough spacing between the plants.

4). Irrigate

Water the plants carefully, at least once a day to keep the soil moist, and re-fertilize the soil when the plants begin to grow.

5). Harvest & Market:

After a couple of months, depending on which type of fruit and vegetable farming business you ventured into, the next step is to harvest your crops, keep them in optimal storage locations, and sell them through your supply chain network.

Challenges of Fruit and Vegetable Farming

Some of the challenges of fruit and vegetable farming in Kenya and many parts of Africa include:

1). Lack of experience

2). Land tenure insecurity

3). Low and unstable investment in agricultural research

4). Financial Constraints:

  • High interest rates.
  • Inaccessible credit due to tough conditions.
  • Expensive for manually irrigated and controlled environment.

5). Storage Constraints:

  • Poor storage methods.
  • Lack of post-harvesting preservation skills.
  • Theft.

6). Farm Inputs Constraints:

  • High prices of farm inputs.
  • Choice of variety to use.

7). Infrastructural Constraints:

  • Inaccessible roads.
  • Poor market facilities.

8). Marketing Constraints:

  • Price fluctuation.
  • Presence of middlemen.
  • Competition.

 

Fruit and vegetable farming in Kenya or Africa, is one agricultural sector with a lot of highly profitable sub-sectors. Whether you choose to focus on growing a fruit or vegetable, there’s an abundant market for the products, both locally in the country and for exportation to many parts of the world.

Book your seedlings today.

 

Posted on

Make money by Growing Passion fruit in Kenya

The creation of juice making companies in Kenya is gradually opening up avenues for Kenyan farmers to make money by producing raw materials for these industries. Until recently, Passion Fruit farming was done by major companies in Kenya. Passion Fruit has huge market potentials in the country and it is highly sought after in the international fruit market.

The passion fruits

Passion Fruit, (Passiflora edulis, a close relative to violets, is botanically part of the Passifloraceae family. There are more than 500 species in this family and more than 50 of them are edible. However, only the purple passion fruit and the yellow are grown commercially. The main variety for producing juice and juice concentrate is the yellow variety.

Passion fruit’s unique, intense, aromatic flavour characteristics and its “natural” ingredient make it viable for juice blends. It has also been described as a natural concentrate and it blends so well with other juice flavors. In Germany, one of the largest juice consuming countries in the world, passion fruit concentrate and banana puree constitute the base of almost every “multivitamin” juice produced. These “multivitamin” juices are second only to apple juice in popularity among Germans. In Brazil, the fruit is used in fresh beverages made both at home and in “stalls” or juice stands popular throughout the country.”

How passion fruit grows

The passion fruit is a vigorous, climbing vine that clings by tendrils to almost any support. It can grow 15 to 20 ft. per year once established and must have strong support. It can produce for five to seven years if good agronomy practices are adopted.

Related Post: Farmers already earning more from Macadamia nuts and hass Avocados

Planting the fruit

A farmer is expected to plant the vines in full sun except in very hot areas where partial shade is preferable. The vine can be rather rampant, so it is important to plant it next to a chain link fence or install a strong trellis before planting. The plants can also be cultured into an attractive arbor. Pruning is necessary to keep the vines within bounds, to make harvest easier and to keep the plants productive by maintaining vigorous growth.

Soil requirement

Passion fruit vines need fertile soils, probably additional fertiliser, and they appreciate all the compost and mulch you can spare. A healthy soil, teeming with worms and microbes and lots of organic matter is your best bet.

Irrigation

The root system of passion fruit is small for the size of the plant it has to sustain. Especially while a passion fruit is fruiting, it needs a lot of water. It needs a very regular water supply at all times. However, passion fruit can’t handle waterlogged soil. Make sure your site is free draining.

When to harvest

When the fruits are ripe they will drop. Dropping on the ground does not hurt the fruits. Passion fruit can be collected in bags and stored for weeks.

Market for passion fruits

There is growing consumer interest internationally in general and this means opportunity for Kenyan farmers.  According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, the international market for passion fruit is growing due to the consumer trend of seeking more and more exotic fruit varieties.  The FAO Trade statistics in recent years show that the United States, EU, Japan and China are the largest importer of tropical fruits.

In addition, if you buy passion fruit seedlings from us, we guarantee a market for you. Call us today and place your order.