Kiwi are small edible berry of a woody vine in the genus Actinidia. . It has a fibrous, dull greenish -brown skin and bright green or golden flesh with rows of tiny, black, edible seeds.
Health benefits of consuming kiwis include maintaining healthy skin tone and texture, reducing blood pressure, and preventing heart disease and stroke. It also decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality.
Kiwi fruit contains high amount of vitamin C, vitamin E and polyphenols which protect the cardiovascular system.
Kiwi plant has the highest density of any fruit for vitamin C and magnesium limited mineral in the food supply of most affluent countries and a nutrient important for cardiovascular health. Among the top three low-sodium, high-potassium fruits, kiwifruit ranks number one, having more potassium than a banana or citrus fruits.
Kiwi plants for them to thrive best require the following conditions, fertile well drained soils, provided with wind
shelter ,adequate water content in the soil, warm temperatures and maximum sunlight.
Kiwi plants after transplanting take an average of 3 to 4 years to mature and produce fruits and have a long lifespan of up to 30 years depending on the care given to the plant.
Kiwifruit vines require vigorous pruning, similar to that of grapevines. Fruit is borne on one-year-old and older canes, but production declines as each cane ages. Canes should be pruned off and replaced after their third year.
Kiwi Fruit Market
Kiwi fruits should be graded according their size and weight. Fruits above 80 grams should be graded as grade A. Fruits above 40 to 80 grams should be graded as grade B.
Kiwi fruits have a shelf life of two months. the storage facilities should have high humidity for the fruits to stay long enough.
Grade A fruits fetches 100 Ksh in local market while grade B fruit fetches 80 Ksh.
The Kiwifruit farming in Kenya by majority of small farmers is a very encouraging attempt. We can see that Kenya has all the possibilities in the world as the climate and altitudes are very suitable for its farming which are helpful to be a major force in Kiwifruit production. We have huge exportable market of it. Reliable supply chain, guarantee of quality, competitive pricing and a sound storage system that could help kiwifruit to grow.
Find a good spot in your farm for your kiwifruit. Make sure conditions there are suitable.
You will need adequate space for your kiwifruit plants to grow.
Most kiwifruit plants grow best in either full sun or light shade.
Kiwifruit generally need slightly acidic soil that has a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. If your soil is too alkaline, you can try to acidify it to make conditions right for growing kiwifruit.
The soil must be moist but well-drained
Build a sturdy trellis for your plants. Remember that kiwifruits are vine plants that can grow up to 30 feet long and weigh a fair amount. Like other vines, they grow best across vertical structures that provide support and greater access to light.
Kiwifruit vines can grow on most types of trellises, gazebos, and fences.
Commercial kiwifruit growers use six-foot-high wire trellises with T-bars spaced 15 to 20 feet apart
Transplant the young plants. Transplanting kiwifruit plants is largely the same as other types of plants. The major difference is that you must space your plants so that each is at the base of its own support structure. Simply dig a hole for each plant that is a little bigger than their current pots. Carefully lift each plant out of its pot, including the roots and the dirt they cling to, and place the roots into the holes you just dug. Finish by filling in the edges of the hole with loose dirt.
Try to disturb the roots as little as possible to avoid shock.
If you plant to grow fruit, keep as many plants as you have room for. Once they flower, which can take up to five years, you can identify the male and female plants and cull the extras.
Protect your kiwifruit from animals. Even if all other conditions are perfect, your plants may be destroyed by various pests. Kiwifruit plants will be especially vulnerable until they have fully matured.
The leaves of kiwifruit plants can sometimes attract deer. Keep your young plants safe by keeping domestic animals out of your yard with either a fence around it or chicken wire surrounding your plants.
Cats respond to kiwi leaves similarly to catnip. If there are outdoor cats in your area, take measures to keep them out of your garden. Example strategies include building a fence, putting chicken wire around each of your plants, and spraying with repellents.
Unlike many other commercial fruit-bearing plants, kiwifruit do not have many insect enemies, so regular pesticide use is usually unnecessary.
Tie shoots to supports. As your kiwifruit plant grows, it will begin to send out shoots. You will need to train these shoots to grow on the support by wiring the vines to the trellis. This will ensure that the plant will grow a strong “trunk” section.
Prune your plants regularly. You should prune your kiwifruit plants once a year. Trim excess canes (vines that have grown a bark-like skin) and any lateral shoots not supportable by its trellis. Lateral shoots are branches that go off to the sides. Your kiwifruit vines will not be able to support the weight of such shoots on their own until they’ve reached the top of your trellis (when using the T-support system). Once the vines reach the top of the trellis, they will be able to grow more horizontally across it.
The optimal time for pruning female plants is late winter while the plant is dormant.
Male plants can be pruned sooner, right after flowering.
Cull the male plants. Kiwi plants will usually flower within 3-4 years of planting. When this happens, you can identify the male plants by the bright yellow, pollen-covered anthers in the flower’s center. The female plants have sticky stalks (stigma) in the center instead, and white ovaries at the base of the flower.
Since only the female kiwi vines produce fruit, you’ll want one male plant to pollinate every 8 or 9 female plants, rather than an even split between the two. Remove the excess males and space the survivors an equal distance apart among the female vines
Harvest your fruit once it’s ripe. After a few years (or even that same year for hardy and super-hardy kiwi), your plants should start producing fruit. Yields may start out small but typically increase every year as the plant matures.
Kiwifruit usually ripens in September and October. If frosts typically happen by then in your area, you will need to harvest the fruit before it’s ripe and let it finish ripening under refrigeration.
Snap kiwifruit off at the stalk when their skin begins to change color (to brown for common kiwifruit). Another way to check for harvest-readiness is to look for black seeds in a sample fruit
Internationally Kiwifruit is considered as one of the best and high valued fruits. Currently in Kenya one piece of a kiwifruit costs Ksh100. Let’s think and work in its farming and production. Book your seedlings today!
A kiwi-fruit costs more than KSh 100 in Kenyan supermarkets today. Have you ever asked yourself why Kiwi-Fruit is that expensive?
Kiwi-fruit as we have said in our earlier posts is an amazing fruit with amazing benefits. A customer who had eaten Kiwi-fruit in U.S.A visited our offices earlier last week seeking to know where he could get seedlings. He told Oxfarm that he has never eaten a fruit that is so delicious and with so much benefits like a Kiwi-fruit. His worry was why Kenyans are still importing Kiwi-fruits while they can grow it in their homes.
Where to Grow Kiwi-Fruits
Kiwi is a temperate fruit that can do well in the temperate regions of Kenya like, Western, Central, Rift Valley, Upper eastern and Many other places. It’s also hardy and can tolerate extreme cold and extreme hot temperatures but being favored by warm climates.
Kiwi-fruit is known to do extremely well in almost any soil but it prefers well-drained that has a PH of 5.0-6.5. Kiwi-fruit does not need much fertilizer and as Oxfarm we discourage use of fertilizers since exposure to a lot of fertilizer results to burning of the roots, therefore, you simply need to use compost manure.
Due to its shallow rooted nature, it requires frequent irrigation for maximum yield. This property also helps the tree to absorb water fast in areas with little rainfall hence surviving such climate.
As I had said earlier, Kiwi-fruit is very expensive in Kenya. This is so because the demand is higher than the supply. Although Kiwi fruit is a new thing in Kenya, people have embraced it and the market is not shy as well.
As we have continued to preach the kiwi-fruit gospel; its benefits and farming methods, people have heard us and although a few farmers have started planting and selling the fruit, more people are demanding it. The average kiwi vine takes 2- 4 years to mature and start producing fruits.
The first few harvests may however not be as productive but this tends to improve throughout the plants mature life. Once you taste it, you will need to taste again. However, its yet to pick on commercial scale. This gives you an opportunity as a farmer and a business man. Take the advantage of the low supply and the high demand, plant more supply more and reap big.
What to Invest in Kiwi-Fruit Farming
At Oxfarm, we are known to have almost all kinds of tree fruits seedlings. We have looked at you as a farmer and we have made it possible for you to have Kiwi-fruit seedlings at an affordable price of KSh 400. We will also take you through kiwi-fruit management practices. Basically, all what you need is a land, seedlings, enough compost manure, trellis (same as those used in passion fruit farming).
Returns to Expect in Kiwi-Fruit Farming
Approximately, one acre of Kiwi-fruits carries about 650 vines. The first few years as we said might not be as productive but the third – fourth year ought to produce around 20 fruits per vine. The current market price for a kiwi-fruit is more than a 100 but let’s use KSh 50 as selling plice to the market.
Many modern farmers in Kenya are now growing the wonder Kiwi fruit. Kiwifruit is a delicious berry of a woody, twining vine and is popularly known by its shortened version as ‘kiwi’. It is native to China and is referred to as the country’s national fruit. Originally known as ‘Yang Tao’, kiwi is an oval-shaped, dull brown colored fruit with a fuzzy texture. The inside pulp is a vivid, semi-translucent, bright green flesh with a radiant pattern of lighter-colored spikes, freckled with a few tiny, edible black seeds. Kiwifruit has a unique and invigorating flavor with a soft and creamy texture. The Actinidia genus which includes kiwi comprises of about 60 species. Globally, the most commonly consumed varieties are the ‘fuzzy’ and ‘golden’.
Tips for Preparing Kiwifruit
Kiwifruits are so delicious that they can be eaten as is. They can be peeled with a paring knife and then sliced or you can cut them in half and scoop the flesh out with a spoon. You can also enjoy the skins which are very thin like a Bosc pear and are full of nutrients and fiber; the peachlike fuzz can be rubbed off before eating.
Kiwi fruits should not be eaten too long after cutting since they contain enzymes (actinic and bromic acids) that act as a food tenderizer, with the ability to further tenderize the kiwifruit itself and make it overly soft. Consequently, if you are adding kiwifruit to fruit salad, you should do so at the last minute so as to prevent the other fruits from becoming too soggy.
While sliced kiwi fruit may soften other fruits when combined in fruit salad, minimal processing of kiwi and other fruits—cutting, packaging and chilling—does not significantly affect their nutritional content even after 6, and up to 9, days.
The small kiwi fruit stores a treasure of nutritional surprises. It is an excellent source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Other vitamins including vitamin A, folate, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), and vitamin K (phylloquinone) are also present in good amounts. The mineral wealth of kiwi includes a tremendous quantity of potassium along with other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. All these vital nutrients in the fruit come with an added bonus of dietary fiber.
The growing global popularity of the kiwifruit attributes to an amazing blend of its unique appearance, flavor, and nutritional assets. Benefits of the fruit for medical conditions have been discussed as under:
Improves Heart Health
As mentioned, kiwifruit is rich in protective polyphenols along with vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium which are effective in the maintenance of cardiovascular health. An investigative study has revealed that this fruit exerts inhibitory activities which aid in the reduction of triglycerides in the blood. According to the study, consumption of a couple of kiwis on a daily basis helps in reducing the platelet aggression response or the risk of blood clotting. This fibrinolytic effect of the fruit on your blood vessels prevents the risk of thromboembolic and cardiac disorders like atherosclerosis.
It is a source of serotonin which helps to promote better sleep. An investigative study conducted in this regard has shown that consumption of kiwi helps in improving the sleep quality. It may also help in improving the sleep onset and reducing waking time after the onset, hence providing relief from any sleep disturbances. This fruit contains flavonoids such as naringenin, quercetin, rutin, catechin, epicatechin, which modulate the sleep-inducing receptors and are considered an effectual plant-based sedative agent. Attributing to this, the peel of kiwi is a potent ingredient for the development of natural sleeping aids.
Improves Iron Absorption
An amazing benefit of kiwi is its ability to facilitate the absorption of iron in the body. A richness of vitamin C and other phytochemicals such as lutein and zeaxanthin in the fruit help in improving iron status in the body and prevents iron deficiency disorders. A comparative study performed between kiwi and banana has revealed that consumption of kiwi along with an iron-rich breakfast cereal results in significant increase in iron in the body as compared to banana.
Treats Macular Degeneration
Kiwi is a fruit for the eye and it contributes beneficially towards eye care. As already stated, it is a source of phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin which are critical components residing in the human eye. These helpful components along with vitamin A protect the eyes from cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and other vision-destroying disorders.
Aids in Digestion
Kiwi proves valuable for maintaining a healthy digestive system. It is a delicious source of fiber which promotes digestion and maintains intestinal health. It helps in providing relief from constipation by stimulating the bowel system. The natural laxative properties of this fruit owing to its fiber content add bulk to the stool and make it soft. A study conducted on kiwi has revealed that it stores a good amount of proteolytic enzyme actinidin, which improves the digestion of proteins and facilitates smooth traffic through the digestive system. Polysaccharides present in the fruit help in averting the adhesion of enteropathogens and stimulate the probiotic bacteria in the colon. Kiwi extracts promote the growth of lactic acid and inhibit the development of Escherichia Coli bacteria and aid in sustaining digestive health.
Beneficial in Pregnancy
Kiwi is a perfect fruit for a pregnant woman attributing to the abundance of natural folate. Folate helps to prevent the occurrence of neural tube defects in unborn babies and is essential for their brain and cognitive growth. Other vital nutrients such as vitamin C, E, and K along with flavonoids present in the fruit also contribute beneficially to the overall health and development of the fetus and the expectant mother.
Kiwifruit helps to maintain healthy and smooth skin attributing to its significant contribution in the process of collagen synthesis. It contains vitamin C, which helps to keep the skin firm and expedite healing of cuts and abrasions. Vitamin E in kiwi assists in reducing the fine lines and appearance of wrinkles. It also helps in reducing the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation on the skin, while the antioxidants present in this fruit work as a perfect anti-aging agent and prevent the skin from early degeneration, and keep it rejuvenated.
Kiwifruit has been traditionally trusted in the Chinese folk medicine for its effectiveness in healing various types of cancers such as liver cancer, breast cancer, stomach cancer, and lung cancer. Extracts of the kiwifruit inhibit the proliferation of cancerous cells and protect endogenous DNA damage. The fruit works against cancer by being cytotoxic to malignant cancer cells without affecting the normal, healthy cells. The plethora of antioxidants, carotenoids, vitamins along with fiber contributes beneficially to the effectiveness of kiwi in the prevention or healing of cancers. Catechin, a phytochemical present in kiwi helps in reducing the toxicity of anti-cancer agents by stimulating the bone marrow proliferation.
KiwiFruits contributes favorably to the regulation of the innate and adaptive immune system which is very critical for the healthy functioning of the body. Consumption of kiwifruit helps in fighting seasonal infections and other ailments attributing to its anti-microbial and anti-fungal action. Extracts from kiwi have shown to exert bacteriostatic action against various pathogens including Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus pyogenes. Kiwi fruit helps in reducing the symptoms of cold and flu and other upper respiratory tract infections. It also exerts anti-inflammatory effects and exhibits the activity of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Kiwi Fruit has a low glycemic index (GI) which makes it suitable for individuals with diabetes. A study conducted on kiwi extracts demonstrated that consumption of this fruit helps in regulation of adipogenesis which is critical for the prevention of diabetes. Dysfunction of adipose tissues in the body is strongly implicated in the development of insulin resistance and diabetes.
For more information about Kiwi Fruits Farming, kindly contact us
NB! Throughout our research during planting and harvesting, we have noticed that not all trees yield 100% and so in the above example, we have subtracted 10-15% of the total planted seedlings in the five acres to make it 5000 that is less 1000 trees, we are assuming even if the 1000 trees would reach maturity, they won’t be as productive as the rest.
We at Oxfarm would want to be as honest as it is rather than give our farmers figures that might only appear good but do not really add up. What we can do to our willing farmer is to inspect your land, conduct soil sampling and testing, water availability survey, land topography survey, selling our grafted tree tomatoes to you. We treat your farm like is yours by giving you free consultation and ensuring you reach the highest levels in farming.
You will realize that we have calculated on the downside by selling a fruit at 5 although the current market is at Ksh 10 and Kgs per tree per year at 30Kgs while it can go as high as 50 basically because we want our farmers to have a clear picture.
If you have any questions regarding tree tomatoes, don’t be left behind, contact us or visit our offices and we will gladly help you.
WHY SMALL-SCALE FARMERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO GROW FRUITS AND NUTS
Growing fruits and nuts provides a wide opportunity for kenyan poor families to enhance their incomes as well as improving the nutrition of the poor who currently suffer from deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients because of low
consumption of these foods.
Source Of Vitamins
According to World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), many fruits are, for example, important sources of vitamins A and C that are lacking in the diets of many Africans. Low intake of vitamin A – around 50 million African children are at risk of deficiency – is considered to be Africa’s third greatest public health problem after HIV/AIDS and malaria.
Vitamin C, on the other hand, is essential for protecting cells and keeping the body healthy and also absorbing iron from food. Vitamin C is an important mineral that is present in significant quantities in many fruits. Common fruits include HASS Avocado, Grafted Tree tomatoes, oranges, mangoes, grapes, tangerines e.t.c. Nuts on the other hand include MACADAMIA nuts, groundnuts, cashew nuts, e.t.c.
Impact of Fruits and Nuts Farming
Action on improving fruit and nut availability and quality, when coordinated, is likely to have a major positive impact on the health of African consumers and increase income generation.
If farmers receive good incomes from cultivating high quality fruits and nuts, that consumers can afford and are informed about the benefits of eating them, a strong domestic production sector can develop in Kenya.
The cultivation of fruits and nuts by smallholders to feed local markets and support of export markets presents a tremendous opportunity for investment, especially if the indigenous species that are recognized and valued by domestic consumers are considered as well as exotic ones. At present, about 80% of the total market value of fruit and nut crops is earned locally in Kenya, and this market is likely to grow further in the coming decade.
Source of Income
The total value of all traded production was estimated to be 650 million USD in Kenya in 2007, of which around 85% was contributed by fruits and 15% by nuts. Many fruit and nut species are rare assets in that they can be established on farms with a very modest initial investment and their value increases with time and is maintained over many years, continuing to contribute to family livelihoods and to bringing women, men and children out of poverty in a sustainable way.
By conserving these genetic resources in farmland – of indigenous species that are threatened in the natural landscape as forests recede, and of locally adapted exotic species – they are also made available to future generations, so that their livelihoods and health can also benefit.
Moreover, fruit and nut production is not amenable to much mechanization and is therefore labor-intensive, and thus plays to one of the key strengths of smallholders, which is their low labor cost, enabling them to compete with larger farmers.
Production of Fruits and Nuts
Although the potential for improving fruit and nut production to improve incomes for small-scale farmers in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa is evident, smallholders face a number of bottlenecks in the cultivation and sale of produce. These include production constraints, such as limited species and variety development, inefficient delivery systems for delivering superior cultivars to farmers, and poor farm management practices,
With smallholders being unaware of better propagation, pest management and irrigation methods to improve quality, increase productivity and profits. In addition, farmers face market constraints, such as poor post-harvest practices that reduce sale ability, poor market delivery systems, lack of knowledge about the species and varieties for which markets are available, and lack of awareness among consumers of the health benefits of eating fruits and nuts.
Kenya has a very big market potential, since in most parts of Kenya, fruits are available throughout the year. This is a very long period and can be utilized to beat the export market. The major challenges facing the fruit marketing in Kenya are the competition from other producers such as South Africa and Israel; these can only be addressed by improving the quality of the fruits produced.
NB! If you need to grow tree fruits, Macadamia nuts or tissue banana, kindly visit our offices or contact us.
Kiwi is a temperate fruit and it can do well in the temperate regions of Kenya like Central, Western highlands, Central Rift Valley and others.
There are very few markets where demand exceeds supply. One such market is for Kiwi fruits which, despite being a relatively new idea in Kenya, has taken the market by storm. There are very few farmers who have gotten wind of its valued benefits and you can take advantage of this loophole to make a timely investment. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to go about it.
The kiwi trees cultivated for their fruits need the following growing requirements. kiwi fruit farming guide.
Must be well drained. Kiwi tree vines planted where water sits on the surface following rains are likely to develop crown rot. Soil pH should be between 5.0 and 6.5.
The kiwi tree is especially touchy about less than perfect site and soil conditions in its youth. For this reason, some growers coddle their plants in containers for one, even two, years. Kiwi tree growth can be phenomenal in carefully watered and fertilized containers, and the kiwi tree can be protected their first couple of winters in an unheated basement or a slightly heated garage.
In Kenya Kiwi should be Planted at around the month of March to take advantage of long-rains. Note that Kiwi Vines are very vulnerable to strong wings and you may need to invest a bit more infrastructure-wise to protect them (e.g. by building a temporary fence or planting some trees around the farm).
Also, a farmer needs to invest in a compost manure and some little amounts of fertilizer (D.A.P and C.A.N) to provide the crop with adequate nutrients.
Kiwi plants are susceptible to a bacterial infection known as Psa and so the farmer may need to invest in biochemicals that are usually used on fruits like oranges and grapes.
The burden of pollination rests mostly with honeybees, though wind and other beneficial insects also play a role. With few exceptions, a separate, non fruiting male plant is needed to fertilize (and induce fruiting) of female plants. The male should be no further than 35 feet from females. Do not be surprised if it appears that female flowers have stamens, the male flower parts. The stamens are there, but the pollen they shed is sterile. Similarly, male flowers have small, nonfunctional ovaries.
One male plant can fertilize the flowers of 8 or so females, and male and female plants need not be the same species of kiwi tree to cross-pollinate. Bloom times of male and female flowers must coincide, though.
Hand pollination is practical if you grow only a few kiwi trees. Merely pluck off a male blossom and lightly rub it on a half-dozen female flowers. Then go pluck another male, repeat the rubbing, and so forth.
Kiwi trees are rampant plants and their trunks never become sturdy enough to hold the plants up off the ground of their own accord. Under cultivation plants must be trained to some sort of support that is both sturdy and allows vines adequate room to ramble.
A trellis used by commercial kiwi tree growers consists of wires stretched between 6-foot-high T-bar supports spaced 15 to 20 feet apart. At some sacrifice to fruit production, but with perhaps a gain in beauty, kiwi tree vines can be coaxed up a variety of other structures such as a gazebo, a pergola, or even along a split rail fence
Training + Pruning
The goals in training and pruning are to make a potentially tangled mass of rampant shoots manageable and easy to harvest, and to keep a vine fruitful by allowing adequate light to fall within the plant canopy. Pruning also stimulates an annual flush of new wood, important because flowers, and, hence, fruits, are borne toward the bases of current seasons’ shoots that grow from canes that grew the previous year only.
Not all the new shoots that grow from the previous year’s canes will fruit. Some canes may have been too shaded the year before, or the vine may be too young. Those canes that are fruitful will produce fruiting shoots at their basal half-dozen or so buds; the buds further out are capable of producing shoots that will fruit the next year.
An established kiwi tree vine consists of a trunk, permanent cordons, and fruiting arms (or canes). Training and pruning are effected by tying shoots to supports and by pruning the plants while they are growing during the summer, and again while they are dormant. Late winter, before the buds swell, is the optimal time for dormant pruning.
Girdling is a technique that induces fruiting and hastens maturity and bud-break by disrupting the flow of nutrients and hormones in the stems. In late summer, make two parallel cuts, one sixteenth of an inch apart, on the trunk, and remove the strip of bark from between the cuts. Do not girdle any vine that is in a weakened condition, or cut too deeply—remove just the outer bark.
A mature kiwifruit vine can produce more than 90 kilograms of fruit. Harvest semi-tropical kiwifruits by snapping them off their stalks when the skins turn brown and samples of cut fruit show black seeds. The fruit will be hard, but will soften and sweeten in a week at room temperature. In a cool room, such fruit will keep for two months. If the fruit is refrigerated to near freezing, and the humidity maintained at 95 percent (with a plastic bag having just a few small holes, for example), the fruit will store for 9 months! Let firm-ripe fruit soften before eating. This can be hastened by putting the fruit in a bag with an apple.
Hardy and super-hardy kiwifruits drop or come off easily from the vines when they are ripe. Picked firm-ripe with their stems attached, these small fruited kiwifruits store as well as the large kiwifruit.
The average kiwi vine takes 2 to 4 years to mature and start producing fruits. The first few harvests may however not be as productive but this tends to improve throughout the plants mature life.
You can still commercialize your farm now by selling the few fruits that come out of it and healthy vines that you may choose to propagate. At Oxfarm, we sell kiwi seedlings at Ksh 400, and we deliver all over Kenya.
Kiwi is a rapidly growing vining plant that produces delicious, bright green fruit with a non-edible fuzzy brown exterior. The fruit is the most nutritious fruit in the world.Kiwi is a temperate fruit and it can do well in the temperate regions of Kenya like Central, Western highlands, Central Rift Valley and others.
It can grow in a wide range of soils provided they are well-drained and have pH of 5.0 and 6.5. In order for the plant to set fruit, both male and female kiwi vines are necessary; in fact, at least one male plant for every eight female kiwi plants is required. With a flavor somewhere between pineapple and berries.
Female vines 15 feet apart generally; some hardy kiwis can be planted closer together at 8 feet apart. The males do not need to be right next to the females but at least within a distance of 50 feet. They can also be planted right next to the female if you have a space issues. In Kenya it is one of the most expensive fruit each fruit retailing between sh 100 to 150. The fruit matures after 2 years and has a lifespan of more than 30 years.
Where to plant your fruit trees is an important consideration when starting your orchard. Ideally you want good drainage, good soil, plenty of sunshine (fruiting trees require a minimum of 6-8 hours of sun per day during the growing season), and good air flow. You want your trees to be wind protected and try to avoid low-lying sites. A slope is the best location, if you have one. Fertile soils with a depth of more than 1.5 meters and pH range of 5.8–6.6 are ideal for growing fruit trees.
Dig large holes before planting fruit trees. The tree holes need to be large enough to accommodate the root system, a 2 feet diameter is a good measurement. Mix well with the existing soil and good quality compost. Mulching and composting are an important part of the orchard.
The proposed orchard’s site has to be cleared as thoroughly as possible of perennial weeds, undergrowth, trees, stumps, roots, trash and debris. This should be followed by levelling of unwanted anthills and the elimination of their destructive inhabitants. To achieve a good tilth of the cleared land, fruit growers are advised to plant an annual crop a year before starting fruit cultivation. After this annual crop has been harvested, the final re-ploughing, harrowing and levelling is carried out.
Selection of suitable fruit species/cultivars
The choice of suitable fruit species and cultivars to grow is one of the most important prerequisites for successful fruit farming. A cultivar must be adapted to the environmental conditions of the locality in which it is to be grown, and there should be a good market demand for it. For many fruits there is an extended list from which to choose.
Kiwifruit (often shortened to kiwi) or Chinese gooseberry is the name given to the edible berries of several species of woody vines in the genus Actinidia. It has a fibrous, dull greenish-brown skin and bright green or golden flesh with rows of tiny, black, edible seeds. The fruit has a soft texture and a sweet but unique flavor.
Kiwi vines grow well in areas with adequate rainfall and well-drained soil. Think about areas that are neither too wet nor too dry and preferably with red soil which tends to be well drained. For example Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, Western Kenya, some parts of Kajiado, warmer parts of Central and Nairobi areas.
Actinidia deliciosa (previously A. chinensis). The genus name Actinidia comes from the Greek meaning ray, alluding to the styles of flowers (the maleflower parts) that radiate like spokes of a wheel.
Plant the vines at around the month of March to take advantage of long-rains or put an irrigation system. Also add a compost manure to provide the crop with adequate nutrients. Kiwi plants are susceptible to a bacterial infection known as Psa and so you may need to invest in biochemicals that are usually used on fruits like oranges and grapes.
Often in commercial farming, different breeds are used for rootstock, fruit bearing plants, and pollinators. Therefore, the seeds produced are crossbreeds of their parents. Even if the same breeds are used for pollinators and fruit bearing plants, there is no guarantee that the fruit will have the same quality as the parent.
Additionally, seedlings take seven years before they flower, so determining whether the kiwi is fruit bearing or a pollinator is time consuming. Therefore, most kiwifruits, with the exception of rootstock and new cultivars, are propagated asexually. This is done by grafting the fruit producing plant onto rootstock grown from seedlings or, if the plant is desired to be a true cultivar, rootstock grown from cuttings of a mature plant.
Kiwi fruit flowering
Most of the plants require a male plant to pollinate a female plant for the female plant to produce fruit (dioecious). For a good yield of fruit, one male vine for every three to eight female vines is required. Other varieties can self-pollinate, but they produce a greater and more reliable yield when pollinated by male kiwifruit vines.
Maturation and harvest
Kiwifruit is picked by hand, and commercially grown on sturdy support structures, as it can produce several tonnes per hectare, more than the rather weak vines can support. These are generally equipped with a watering system for irrigation and frost protection in the spring.
Kiwifruit vines require vigorous pruning, similar to that of grapevines. Fruit is borne on one-year-old and older canes, but production declines as each cane ages. Canes should be pruned off and replaced after their third year. Four year-old plants can produce up to 6500 kg per acre while eight year-old plants can produce 8,000 kg per acre.
The plants produce their maximum at 8 to 10 years old. The seasonal yields are variable, a heavy crop on a vine one season generally comes with a light crop the following season.
A 1/8 acre piece of land with 50 vines can produce 5,000 fruits per year (about 400 Kgs) on a bad season. A bumper harvest can reach up to 10,000 fruits (about 800 Kgs)
Fruits harvested when firm will ripen when stored properly for long periods. This allows fruit to be sent to market up to 8 weeks after harvest. Firm kiwifruit ripen after a few days to a week when stored at room temperature, but should not be kept in direct sunlight. Faster ripening occurs when placed in a paper bag with an apple, pear, or banana. Once a kiwifruit is ripe, however, it is preserved optimally when stored far from other fruits, as it is very sensitive to the ethylene gas they may emit, thereby tending to over-ripen even in the refrigerator. If stored appropriately, ripe kiwifruit normally keep for about one to two weeks.
A medium size kiwifruit (76 grams) provides 46 calories, 0.3 g fat, 1 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, and 2.6 g dietary fiber found partly in the edible skin. Kiwifruit is a rich source of vitamin C (112% of the Daily Value per 100 grams) and vitamin K, and a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin E (nutrient tables, right). Kiwifruit seed oil contains on average 62% alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. Kiwifruit pulp contains carotenoids, such as provitamin A beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
The average kiwi vine takes 2 to 3 years to mature and start producing fruits. The first few harvests may however not be as productive but this tends to improve throughout the plants mature life. The local market is currently under-served as there are very few farmers who have taken up this idea. You can sell to local markets or even approach the big supermarkets
Kiwifruit may be eaten raw, made into juices, used in baked goods, prepared with meat or used as a garnish. The whole fruit including the skin is suitable for human consumption, but the skin is often discarded due to its texture.
Contact us for more information concerning kiwi farming and seedlings