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Commercial viability of different fruits in Kenya

fruits basket

Oxfarm Organic Ltd encourages sustainable diverse cropping systems where farmers plant more than one crop including fruits. This ensures spread of economic risk and offers the opportunity of reducing production costs and increasing profits. The more farmers’ successfully produce more of one type of crop, the more they are whipped by low prices making them a victim of their own success. That’s the greatest irony of farming as dictated by the laws of supply and demand, hence the need for diversified farm systems.

With such diversified systems, you require thorough planning and close monitoring to cater for the different components. For easy management we recommend 2-3 main crops and a set of rotational crops, for example, we have a farmer initiating a mixed fruit orchard in Nyeri doing hass avocado, tree tomato and apples.

A serious fruit farmer should also embrace an integrated pest management strategy and maintain the farm in ways that make them attractive to beneficial insects and pollinators such as bees, and implement interventions to protect them.

Note That: No pollination, no fruit.

Start with what you can manage as you progress. Farming is a journey, more of a marathon than a short sprint. It requires more resilience and focus on a desired farming venture.

Failure is inevitable, the love and passion of your venture will play an important role in such times.

Below are some of the fruit varieties that are commercially viable and worth giving a try.

Passion Fruits

passion fruits farming in Kenya

The two common varieties are; sweet yellow and purple passion. Both varieties do well locally and there is demand for both in the local market. The export market prefers purple passion; Europe is one of the main markets. In the past few years farmers from Rift valley have shifted to passion fruit cultivation without regret and we are seeing a lot of activities in Uasin gishu, Bomet, and Kericho.

Mango Fruits

There are different mango varieties that thrive in different parts of our country, but so far there is high demand for the Apple mango variety that thrives in hot areas. Other popular varieties include; Kent, Tommy and Haden. There is an emerging export market for Kenyan mangoes in China, hope this holds up.

Avocado

The hass variety is the most preferred for those targeting the export market due to its high oil content, appearance and low perishability. There is a niche market for Fuerte and Pinkerton variety locally; there high perishability does not make them good candidates for the export market.

Citrus

New citrus orchards are being developed in the coast, eastern and rift valley by farmers who are targeting to meet the local demand. Most of the citrus consumed locally are imported because the local supply does not meet the demand. There is need for improving production and quality of local citrus. The different varieties cultivated are: Pixie, Minneola, Clementine tangerine, lemon, Washington navel, Valencia among others.

Apples

In the near future high quality locally grown apples will be at the shelves in your grocery store. New apple fruits orchards are cropping up in different parts of the country targeting the local market. Different varieties have been tried and tested in different parts of the country and the results are promising. These varieties include; pink lady, green apple, Anna, Golden Dorset, Gala, Red delicious and Braeburn.

One year old Apple

Strawberry

So far chandler variety is the most successful varieties to cultivate. Most farmers are producing for the local market. We are trying out Quinault variety and some other giant strawberry varieties to see their viability.

Tree tomato

A good number of farmers have ventured in tree tomato fruits cultivation to meet local demand. Red Oratia is the most grown variety. One can choose to cultivate grafted tree tomato or the non-grafted ones.

Grapes

This is one of the fruits whose potential remains unexploited by the Kenyan farmer despite it doing well in various parts of the country. Most commercial grape ventures are established by wineries and geared towards wine production. Grape plants grown in the country are mostly grown by home gardeners for personal consumption. The local demand for table grapes and raisins heavily relies on imports.

Pears and plums

A good number of farmers in Molo, Limuru and some parts of Kiambu have cultivated pears and plums fruits that they supply to the local market. There are low chill pear varieties that do thrive in warm areas. The hood variety is a low chill variety that has been proven to do well in Kenya. We have sold few seedlings to various farmers in western Kenya and Nyanza to gauge their performance.

Bananas

This is the most important fruit crop in Kenya. Banana farming has been gaining momentum thanks to attractive market prices and availability of quality propagation material through tissue culture. There are different varieties that perform well in Kenya, study what the market wants and go bananas.

Kiwi

In Kenya So far there are no success story on kiwi cultivation, we are still in the infant stages. However, We can confidently say that the kiwi plant thrives in Kenya. The oldest plant we are monitoring is almost 3 years old and we are seeing some signs of fruiting. The greatest challenge in kiwi production is the propagation material. Most kiwi seedlings in the market are propagated from seed; this takes long to fruit around 4yrs.

There also other fruits which are mostly grown for personal consumption or on a smaller scale. They include Pomegranate, custard apple, star fruit, guava, loquats, peach, fig fruit, rasp berry, jack fruit, apricot and dragon fruit among others.

In case of any queries feel free to reach us,

You can always contact us on;

Cell no. 0706 222888

Phone no:0740 000044

Website; oxfarm.co.ke

Email; info@oxfarmorganic.co.ke

info@oxfarm.co.ke

Fruitful season ahead and remember to consume at least one fruit a day before any meal.

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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.