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Commercial Kiwifruit farming in Kenya

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.

Also read: Macadamia nuts farming: How to get most returns

How to Plant Kiwifruit in your farm

kiwifruit
Kiwifruit farm in kenya

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.

Maintaining Kiwifruit

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

 

Harvesting kiwifruit

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!

 

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Kiwi-Fruit Farming: New Money Maker for Farmers

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-Fruit
Kiwi-fruit Farming

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.

Commercial Kiwifruit farming in Kenya

Kiwi-Fruit Marketability

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.

Related Content: Hass avocado farming: Suitable Counties

Note! The production increases with time and you might get as many as 50 fruits per vine. What are you waiting for? Contact Oxfarm. We will be glad to assist you make money.

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Kiwi Farming In Kenya

INTRODUCTION

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.

Botanic name:

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.

 

Planting

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)

“KIWI FRUIT” FARMING GUIDE

Storage

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.

 

Nutrition

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.

MARKET

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

CONSUMPTION

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