Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are perennial herbs that are widely grown for their culinary and medicinal uses. Chives farming in Kenya has gained popularity in recent years due to the high demand for the herb in local and international markets. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about chives farming in Kenya, from the ideal growing conditions to the harvesting, costs involved, profitability and marketing of the herb.

chives farming in kenya
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Chives Varieties In Kenya

There are several varieties of chives that can be grown in Kenya, including:

  1. Common Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) – This is the most commonly grown variety in Kenya. It has thin, grass-like leaves that are hollow and produce pinkish-purple flowers.
  2. Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) – Also known as Chinese chives, this variety has flat, wide leaves and a garlicky flavor. It produces white flowers.
  3. Siberian Chives (Allium nutans) – This variety has a similar appearance to common chives but with wider leaves. It produces lavender flowers.
  4. Giant Siberian Chives (Allium ledebourianum) – This variety has thicker leaves and grows taller than common chives. It produces pink-purple flowers.

All of these chive varieties can be grown in Kenya with proper care and attention. They require well-draining soil and regular watering, but can tolerate some drought conditions. Chives can be used in a variety of culinary applications, including soups, salads, and as a garnish.

Best Regions To Grow Chives In Kenya

Chives are typically grown in cooler climates, so the best regions to grow chives in Kenya would be in higher altitude areas where the temperatures are lower. Some suitable regions include:

  1. Central Highlands: The Central Highlands region of Kenya is known for its cooler temperatures and fertile soils, making it an ideal location for growing chives. Areas such as Nyeri, Kiambu, and Murang’a are good places to consider.
  2. Western Highlands: The Western Highlands region, including areas such as Kericho and Bomet, is another great option for chive cultivation due to its cooler temperatures and high rainfall.
  3. Rift Valley: The Rift Valley region of Kenya is also a suitable area for growing chives, particularly in higher altitude areas such as Nakuru, Naivasha, and Nyahururu.

It’s worth noting that chives can be grown in other regions of Kenya, but the above regions are likely to provide the most favorable conditions for successful cultivation.

  1. Climate and Soil Requirements

Chives require well-drained soils with a pH range of 6.0-7.0. The herb grows best in areas with moderate temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C. However, it can tolerate a wide range of temperatures from -10°C to 35°C. The plant requires adequate sunlight exposure for optimal growth.

  1. Propagation

Chives can be propagated through seeds or vegetative means. Seeds are sown in well-prepared beds and covered lightly with soil. The seeds germinate in 10-14 days. Alternatively, chives can be propagated vegetatively through division of the bulbs. The bulbs are dug up and divided into smaller sections, each containing a few leaves and roots. These sections are then planted in prepared beds.

  1. Field Management

Chives require regular watering, especially during the dry season. Irrigation should be done once or twice a week, depending on the prevailing weather conditions. Weeding and mulching should be done regularly to suppress weed growth and conserve soil moisture. Fertilizer application should be done at the onset of the rainy season, with a balanced fertilizer such as 10:10:10, applied at a rate of 100-150 kg per hectare.

  1. Pest and Disease Control

Chives are relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, they can be affected by leaf miners, thrips, and aphids. These pests can be controlled using organic pesticides such as neem oil and garlic spray. The herb can also be affected by fungal diseases such as downy mildew and gray mold. These diseases can be controlled using fungicides such as copper oxychloride and mancozeb.

  1. Harvesting and Marketing

Chives are ready for harvesting 60-90 days after planting. The herb is harvested by cutting the leaves 2-3 cm above the ground using a sharp knife or scissors. The harvested leaves should be washed and packed in perforated plastic bags to maintain freshness. Chives can be sold fresh or dried in local and international markets. The herb is highly valued in the culinary industry for its mild onion-like flavor and is used in a variety of dishes, including soups, salads, and sauces.

Chives farming in Kenya is a lucrative venture that requires proper field management practices to ensure maximum yields. With the high demand for the herb in local and international markets, chives farming can be a profitable business venture for small-scale farmers.

Costs Involved on Chives Farming In Kenya

Chives are used as a seasoning herb in various cuisines, especially in soups, salads, and sauces. This article will provide a detailed analysis of the costs involved in chives farming in Kenya per acre.

  1. Land preparation costs: Before planting chives, the land needs to be prepared adequately. This process involves clearing the land, plowing, and tilling. The cost of land preparation varies depending on the size of the farm, type of soil, and availability of labor. On average, land preparation costs about Ksh. 30,000 per acre.
  2. Seed costs: Chives are propagated through seeds. The cost of seeds varies depending on the quality, variety, and source. On average, a pack of 1000 chive seeds costs between Ksh. 600 to Ksh. 1500. To plant an acre of land, you will need about 300 grams of seeds, which translates to a cost of Ksh. 18,000.
  3. Fertilizer and soil amendments costs: Chives require a well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. The use of fertilizers and soil amendments is crucial in ensuring that the crop grows healthy and produces a high yield. The cost of fertilizers and soil amendments varies depending on the type and quantity used. On average, the cost of fertilizers and soil amendments is about Ksh. 25,000 per acre.
  4. Labor costs: Chives farming requires a considerable amount of labor, especially during planting and harvesting. The cost of labor varies depending on the location and availability of labor. On average, labor costs about Ksh. 40,000 per acre.
  5. Irrigation costs: Chives require regular watering to grow and produce a high yield. The cost of irrigation varies depending on the source of water, method of irrigation, and the size of the farm. On average, the cost of irrigation is about Ksh. 15,000 – 45,000 per acre.
  6. Pest and disease control costs: Chives are susceptible to various pests and diseases that can affect the crop’s growth and yield. The cost of pest and disease control varies depending on the type and severity of the infestation. On average, pest and disease control cost about Ksh. 15,000 per acre.
  7. Harvesting and post-harvest handling costs: Chives are ready for harvest after three months of planting. The cost of harvesting and post-harvest handling varies depending on the size of the farm and the method used. On average, harvesting and post-harvest handling cost about Ksh. 35,000 per acre.

In conclusion, the total cost of chives farming in Kenya per acre is approximately Ksh. 150,000. However, this cost may vary depending on various factors such as location, farm size, and management practices. Despite the high initial costs, chives farming is a profitable venture that can provide a high return on investment if managed well.

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Profitability Of Chives Farming In Kenya

Chives farming has gained popularity in Kenya due to their high demand in the local and international markets.

The profitability of chives farming in Kenya depends on various factors such as market demand, production costs, and yield. According to market reports, chives are in high demand in the local and international markets, especially in Europe and the Middle East. This high demand has led to an increase in prices, making chives farming a profitable venture in Kenya.

The cost of production for chives farming in Kenya varies depending on the location and farming method used. However, it is generally considered to be low, as chives are easy to grow and require minimal inputs. The main inputs required for chives farming include land, seedlings, fertilizer, and labor.

In terms of yield, chives farming in Kenya can produce a high yield per unit area. On average, one acre of chives can yield up to 4,000-5,000 kg per year, depending on the farming practices employed. This high yield, combined with the high market demand, makes chives farming a profitable venture in Kenya.

Chives farming in Kenya is a profitable venture due to the high demand for the herb in the local and international markets, low production costs, and high yield per unit area. However, it is important to note that like any other agricultural venture, chives farming requires proper management and marketing strategies to be successful.


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