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Pawpaw Farming in Kenya: How to choose the right variety for your area

Pawpaw farming is delicate, and it requires one to be sure of the best variety that does well in his/her area. There are different pawpaw crops grown today but we will only filter he few important ones in Kenya.

• Honey dew pawpaw variety

This variety originated in India where it is known as Madhu Bindu. It is gynodioecious (some trees have female flowers only and others have hermaphrodite flowers only) in nature and semi-dwarf growing to a height of about 2 meters. On average, its fruits weighs about 1.5 to 2kg and they are dark in clour with some ridging on the surface. Fruits from hermaphrodite trees are elongated and oval while those from female trees are ovoid. The fruit pulp is yellow in colour. This variety yields about 70 kg per tree (about 35 fruits).

Pawpaw Fruit Farming Guide Made Easy in Kenya

• Pusa variety

The Pusa variety just like the solo variety has many strains developed from it. The Pusa Dwarf pawpaw is a dioecious variety (the males and females are separate plants). The trees are dwarf plants that produce medium-sized oval fruits that weigh 1 to 2 kg. The plant starts bearing fruits from 25 to 30 cm above-ground level and is comparatively drought hardy. This variety is very suitable for high-density planting hence best for backyard gardening.

The Pusa Giant variety has plants that grow very fast, are sturdy and tolerant to strong wind. The tree grows to a height of 4.7 to 6 m. This variety is also a dioecious variety with big-sized fruits of between 2.5 and 3 kg. Its fruits are very suitable for canning.

Pusa Majesty is a gynodioecious variety (the plants are either female or hermaphroditic). This variety is tolerant to viral diseases and root knot nematodes. It is suitable for papain production and is comparable to C0.2 variety for papain yield. The fruits are medium-sized weighing between 1 and 1.5 kg, have a round shape and a relatively high quality in terms of self-life. It starts fruiting about 5 months after planting.

Pusa Nanha also known as Mutant Dwarf is dioecious variety, dwarf and precocious. Its fruiting starts at a height of 40 cm within 239 days of planting (approximately 8 months). The tree attains a total height of about 130 cm. The fruits are medium to small with an oval shape and a red to orange flesh that is 3.5 cm.

Pusa Delicious is another gynodioecious variety with medium to tall plants. It starts yielding 8 months after planting and has good quality fruits. The fruit is medium-sized weighing between 1 and 2 kg. They have a deep orange flesh having with excellent flavour. It is grown as a table purpose variety and is also very high yielding.

• The Solo variety

The Solo variety is valued for its productivity, uniform fruit shape and size, and excellent fruit quality. Most of the trees of this variety are hermaphrodite which means the flowers are self-pollinated which produces uniform fruits. The solo fruit is round and shallowly furrowed in female plants and pear-shaped in bisexual plants. The fruits have a yellow-orange pulp and weigh between 0.5 to 1kg.

The main Solo variety has been used to develop other varieties such as

The Sunset Solo is a small to medium-sized, pear-shaped fruit. It has an Orange-red skin and flesh which is very sweet. Its tree is a dwarf but high yielding plant that was developed at the University of Hawaii.

The Vista Solo variety is a medium to large fruit depending on climate. Its fruit has a yellow skin and orange to yellow-orange flesh. It is hardy, compact and of high quality. This variety needs fairly hot weather to develop sweetness. Its flowers are self-fertilizing. It was developed in Vista, California by Ralph Corwin.

The Sunrise Solo variety is the most popular in Kenya and other countries. It has a reddish-orange firm flesh smooth skin, and a high sugar content that makes it sweet. Its plant grows fast maturing and fruiting about 9 months after transplanting, at a height of about 3 feet. It has a hard flesh compared to most pawpaw varieties hence giving it a longer shelf life. It is for this reason that it is preferred for export. It is also adaptable to many climatic conditions, tolerant to viral diseases and its trees are either female or hermaphrodite hence each tree in a plantation bears fruits.

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

• CO-Series

The CO-1 variety is selection from the Ranchi variety done by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore, India. The plant is a dwarf, producing the first fruit at a height of 60 to 75 cm from the ground level. Its fruits are medium-sized, round and have a smooth greenish-yellow skin. The fruit flesh is orange-yellow, soft but firm. It is moderately juicy with good keeping-quality. The fruit is liked more since is does not have the rather unpleasant papain odour.

The CO-2 variety is a strain purified from a local variety in India at Agricultural College and Research Institute of Coimbatore. It is a dioecious variety with good papain yield of about 4 to 6 g per fruit. Each fruit weighs about 1.5 to 2.0 kg. The fruit contains 75% pulp with a pulp thickness of 3.8cm. Fruits are oblate and large in size with orange coloured flesh that is soft but firm. It is a dual purpose variety for fruits and papain extraction. The yield ranges from 80-90 fruits per tree. The fruits contain 8.93% reducing sugars and 9.01% total sugars. The vitamin C content is 50.8 mg per 100g. The papain yield is 250 to 300 kg per hectare.

The CO-3 is a hybrid derivative of the cross between CO.2 (female parent) and Sunrise Solo (male parent). It is a gynodioecious type with most flowers being hermaphroditic. It is suitable as a table variety. The fruits are medium sized with red flesh. The mean fruit weight is 0.5 to 0.8kg. Fruits are pyriform in shape and they exhibit all the desirable characteristics of the Sunrise Solo Variety. The tree yields 90 to 120 fruits in a year.

The CO-4 variety is a hybrid derivative of the cross between CO.1 (female parent) and Washington (male parent). Fruits are medium sized weighing 1.2 to 1.5kg. It is a dioecious type. The fruits have a flesh that is yellow with purple tinge. The tree has purple petiole and stem. This variety is suitable for home gardens. The tree yields 80-90 fruits per annum.

The CO-5 variety is a selection from Washington type. It is a dioecious type suitable exclusively for papain production giving 50-60g of wet papain (about 14.45 g of dry papain) per fruit. It is suitable for growing in all seasons and all soils with good drainage. It yields 75-80 fruits per tree with an average yield of 1500-1600kg of dry papain per hectare. Each fruit weighs about 1.5 to 2.0kg.

The CO-6 is a selection from a giant papaya. The plants are dwarf and dioecious. First harvest can be had in 8 months after planting. It is suitable for papain production giving 7.5 to 8.0g of dry papain per fruit. It is also used for table purpose. It yields 80 to 100 fruits per tree annually. The fruits are medium sized each weighing 2kg with yellow flesh.

The CO-7 is a gynodioecious variety in nature developed through multiple crosses and purified for over four years. The parents are Pusa Delicious, CO-3, CP-75 and Coorg Honey Dew. It is superior to CO-3 papaya in many aspects. The first bearing height is about 52.2 cm. It produces 65-70 fruits per tree annually with a total average yield of about 340.9t/ha, which is 45.96% more than CO-3. The fruits are oblong in shape with an attractive and firm red flesh. The crop has an economic duration of 21 months. There are no serious insect pests. It is susceptible to foot rot, collar rot and powdery mildew like other papaya varieties. It can be grown in plains as well as up to an altitude of 1000m above MSL.

• The CO-8 variety is a dioecious strain derived through improvement of CO-2. It has a red pulp and is suitable for dessert, papain production and for and processing and canning. The crop has a production period of 2 years with an average yield of 200 to 230 tonnes per hectare.

• Washington variety

This is an improved pawpaw variety grown mainly for table purpose. The trees are fairly vigorous with tall stems, purple rings, dark purple petiole growing darker towards the lamina and yellow deep flowers. The male and female plants are separate. They produce medium to large size fruits of about 1 to 1.5 kg in weight. The fruits have an ovate to oblong shape having a distinct purple colour ring at its top connected with the fruit stalk. The pulp is yellow-red, very sweet with an agreeable flavour of fine consistency and free from the disagreeable papain odour, making it a most popular variety. The fruits have few seeds and good keeping quality.

• Taiwan  pawpaw variety

• While there are quite a number of strains of the Taiwan pawpaw variety, the hybrid Red Lady is the most popular. This strain is an early and very productive fruiter. It is best suited for gardening and can be grown both in the tropical and higher latitude lands. It starts flowering after about 70 days from planting. It sets fruits at a height of about 60 to 80 cm and produces large fruits of an average weight of 2 kg. Each tree produces more than 30 fruits per season. The Red Lady is a self-fertile hybrid whose fruits have an orange-red pulp that is sweet and juicy when ripe. The fruits are rich in vitamins A, C and other nutrients. You will notice a sweet, delicious aroma when it is fully ripe.

If you are in need of pawpaw seeds or seedlings contact us and we will guide you!.

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Some of the best fruits to grow in Kenya

The world loves fruits. Fruit farming is a great contributor of our economy, contributing to the food basket. Below are few of the fruits that you can grow both for home consumption or for commercial purposes.

Banana Farming in Kenya

In Kenya, bananas are favorite fruits among many families. It is almost impossible to find a home that doesn’t grow bananas. In some parts like Kisii and Nyamira, it’s almost a main dish. Bananas should be grown in rich soil with plenty of water, shade and support, as their trunks tend to bend. There are different types of bananas in Kenya; hybrid and local.  A banana tree takes about 9 months to grow, and bananas meant for commercial purposes are harvested before ripening to reduce damage and loss during transportation.

Apple Farming in Kenya

There are two major types of apples grown in Kenya, the green one and the red ones. Apples grow best in full sunlight away from wind, in wet loamy or sandy soil. From the time it’s grown, an apple tree can take an average 2 – 4 or 2 – 6 years to bear fruit and can live for 100 years or more.

Read: Get Over Ksh 700,000 from an acre of Hybrid onions in Kenya

Mango Farming in Kenya

Mangoes are succulent fruits grown in places with plenty of sun and water. There are different types of mangoes grown in Kenya. One should do research to know which mangoes will grow best in the area they are in. A mango tree can take 3 – 5 years to mature and bear fruit if grafted and upto 8 years if not grafted. Like bananas, mangoes are harvested before they are ripe reduce damage and loss during transportation. Learn more about mango farming here

Orange Farming in Kenya

Oranges are very popular in the Kenyan market. They are found everywhere; in markets, supermarkets, kiosks and the likes. There are different types of oranges, some of them may not be too sweet. Identifying the type of orange tree is not a difficult task though. The sweetest oranges have a deep orange skin. Oranges take about 3 years to grow and produce fruit if grafted, if not, they may take up to 15 years! They, just like pineapples, require high temperatures to produce sweet fruit. Learn more about Orange farming in kenya here

Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

Hass avocado at Mkulima Wa Nyeri Farm

In kenya, hass avocado farming is picking momentum. Avocados are widely used in Kenyan homes. They are used as baby feed, mashed and mixed in food (some people cannot stand this), or used as dessert in homes and hotels as well. There are quite a number of avocado types grown all over the country. Avocados take about 3 years to grow and bear fruit. They grow best in warm weather. They must be harvested before they ripen in order to reduce wastage during transportation. Learn more about hass avocado farming here

Read: How to achieve success in a given agribusiness venture

Pawpaw Farming in Kenya

Pawapaw farming is very sensitive but pawpaw are always in demand in kenya. Unlike other sweet fruits, pawpaws are extremely sensitive to sunlight which can kill them. They need plenty of shade during their first year of growing. A grafted paw paw tree can start bearing fruit in 2 -3 years, while a non-grafted tree can take up to eight years! This of course depends on the quality of the seeds used. Learn more about pawpaw farming here


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Growing Pawpaw in Kenya: Everything you need to Know

The plants grow in three sexes: male, female and hermaphrodite. The male produces only pollen, never fruit. The female produces small, inedible fruits unless pollinated. The hermaphrodite can self-pollinate as its flowers contain both male stamens and female ovaries.

The optimal temperature range for pawpaw in Kenya is between 25°C and 28°C, and production normally peaks between August and October.

Pawpaw grow and produce well on a wide variety of soil types. Under favorable conditions, the root system can penetrate to a depth of 2m, but most of the roots responsible for nutrient uptake are found in the top 500mm.

Correct irrigation is crucial. This starts with good drainage. Pawpaw roots will die off in over- saturated and poorly drained soil. Impermeable layers will hamper growth and production and can lead to root diseases.

Pawpaw grow best on a slight slope, which enables the runoff or drainage of excess water and prevents waterlogging.

Soil depth: Under irrigation, pawpaw grows best in soil with an unimpeded depth of more than 1m. However, if irrigation is well-planned and managed, there should be no problem on soil with an unimpeded depth of 750mm, if drainage is good.

Texture: The ideal soil for pawpaw cultivation under irrigation is a sandy loam or loam soil with a clay content of 15% to 30%. Soil with a clay content of up to 50% is also suitable. In very sandy soil, temporary over-saturation might occur when soil compaction or impermeable layers limit drainage. Sandy soil (less than 10% clay) normally has a very low water-holding capacity and nutrient status. A mulch or application of organic material can greatly increase the potential of such a soil. Seek expert advice here.

Soil structure: The ideal soil has a loose, brittle, crumbly structure.

Soil pH (water): Pawpaw grow best in soil with a pH (water) value of 6 to 6,5. If soil exchangeable aluminum (Al) is not more than 30ppm, a soil with a pH (water) of 5,5 or higher may be used. At a pH (water) value lower or higher than the 5,5 to 7,2 range, plants may suffer from trace element, phosphate or potassium deficiencies.


Proper soil preparation will ensure optimal conditions for root growth that can last the lifespan of the plant. It also offers the following advantages:

  • Better root development;
  • Improved soil drainage; and less runoff;
  • More effective irrigation and rainfall use;
  • Better nutrient use;
  • Greater tolerance toward disease;
  • Improved fruit size;
  • Increase in yield;
  • Prolonged economic lifespan.

Soil analysis and nutrients
Obtain a soil analysis (your extension officer will be able to help you here) before planting. Supply the lime, phosphate and other elements as recommended by the analysis. If lime is needed, incorporate it into the soil six months to a year before planting. If it is necessary to rip the soil, plough the lime in beforehand and then rip afterwards.

Some producers prefer to plant a cover crop as a source of organic material. In such cases, plant it about six months before the actual soil preparation begins.

For more information about Pawpaw farming, visit our offices. Book your seedlings today as we wait for the long rains.


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Establishing a tree fruit orchard in Kenya

Establishing an orchard for your tree fruits

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.

  • Mangoes (Kent, Tommy, Ngowe and apple varieties) @150
    Hass avocados/fuerte @150
    Oranges @150
    Muthakwa grafted tree tomatoes @100
    Apples @400
    Lime @150
    Tangerines @150
    Macadamia @400
    Grafted purple passion fruits @70
    Aplicot @300
    Pepino melons @100
    Tissue culture bananas @250
    Guavas @100
    Plums @400
    Peaches @300
    Pomegranates @300
    kiwi @800
    Pawpaw @50
    Grapes @250