Coriander (Dhania) Farming In Kenya & It’s Profitability
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) locally known as dhania is an annual herb that is widely cultivated for its aromatic leaves and seeds. It is an important crop in Kenya, where it is grown for both domestic consumption and export. Coriander farming in Kenya is popular due to its high demand and its adaptability to different climates and soil types. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of coriander farming in Kenya, its market potential, the cultivation process, varieties, profitability, cost of production, fertiliser program and challenges faced by farmers.
Benefits of Coriander Farming in Kenya:
Coriander farming is a profitable business in Kenya due to several reasons. Firstly, coriander has a high market value and demand both domestically and internationally. The herb is used in the preparation of various dishes, and its seeds are used in the production of spices and essential oils.
Secondly, coriander is relatively easy to grow and manage. It can adapt to different climatic conditions, making it suitable for different regions in Kenya. It is also resistant to common diseases and pests, making it a low-maintenance crop.
Thirdly, coriander is a short-duration crop, taking only 3 to 4 months from planting to harvesting. This means that farmers can plant and harvest multiple crops in a year, increasing their income.
Coriander has a significant market potential both domestically and internationally. In Kenya, coriander is mainly grown in the Rift Valley, Eastern, and Central regions, with most of the production coming from smallholder farmers.
The main buyers of coriander in Kenya are local markets, supermarkets, and spice companies. Kenya also exports coriander to various countries, including the United States, Europe, and Asia. The high demand for coriander in these markets presents an opportunity for Kenyan farmers to increase their production and income.
Coriander can be grown in different soil types, but it thrives in well-drained soils with good fertility. The ideal pH for coriander farming is between 6.0 and 7.5.
The cultivation process involves the following steps:
- Land preparation: Clear the land of weeds and other debris, and till the soil to a fine texture.
- Seed selection and planting: Select high-quality coriander seeds and plant them at a depth of 1-2 cm. Spacing between plants should be 20-30 cm apart and between rows should be 40-50 cm apart.
- Fertilizer application: Apply 150-200 kg of nitrogen per hectare at planting, and then 50-70 kg of nitrogen per hectare after 3-4 weeks.
- Irrigation: Coriander requires regular irrigation, especially during the dry season. It is recommended to water the crop twice a week.
- Weed control: Weed the farm regularly to prevent competition for nutrients, sunlight, and water.
- Harvesting: Harvest the coriander plants after 3-4 months when the leaves start to turn yellow. Cut the plants at the base and dry them in the sun for a few days. The seeds can be harvested by threshing the dried plants.
Coriander (dhania) varieties in Kenya
In Kenya, there are several varieties of coriander that are grown for different purposes. These varieties differ in their aroma, flavor, and size of their leaves and seeds. Below are some of the common varieties of coriander grown in Kenya:
- Indian Coriander: This variety of coriander is commonly grown in Kenya for its seeds, which are used in the production of spices and essential oils. It has a strong aroma and is known for its high oil content.
- European Coriander: This variety of coriander is grown mainly for its leaves, which are used as a culinary herb. It has a milder aroma compared to Indian coriander.
- Moroccan Coriander: This variety of coriander is grown for both its leaves and seeds. The leaves have a strong aroma, while the seeds are used in the production of spices and essential oils.
- Russian Coriander: This variety of coriander is grown for its seeds, which are used in the production of essential oils. It has a high oil content and a strong aroma.
- Vietnamese Coriander: This variety of coriander is commonly grown in Kenya for its leaves, which are used as a culinary herb. It has a spicy and citrusy flavor and is commonly used in Vietnamese cuisine.
- Chinese Coriander: This variety of coriander is grown for its leaves, which are used as a culinary herb. It has a milder aroma compared to Indian coriander.
Farmers in Kenya have the option to choose which variety of coriander to grow based on the market demand and their farming objectives. Indian coriander, for instance, may be more profitable for farmers looking to sell their seeds to spice companies, while European coriander may be more profitable for farmers looking to sell their leaves to local markets and supermarkets.
The choice of coriander variety to grow in Kenya depends on the farmer’s objectives and the market demand. It is essential for farmers to research the different varieties available and choose the one that is most suitable for their farming practices and market demands.
Suitable Climatic Conditions for Coriander (dhania) farming in Kenya
It is a relatively easy crop to grow, and in Kenya, it can be grown in a variety of climatic conditions. However, to achieve the best yields, certain climatic conditions are more suitable than others. Here are some of the climatic conditions that are suitable for coriander farming in Kenya:
- Temperature: Coriander thrives in moderate temperatures between 15°C and 25°C. In Kenya, the best time to grow coriander is during the cooler months of the year, typically from June to August and from November to January. Temperatures outside this range can cause bolting, which means the coriander plant produces flowers and seeds instead of leaves.
- Soil: Coriander prefers well-draining soils with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. The soil should also be rich in organic matter and nutrients. In Kenya, coriander can be grown in a variety of soil types, including sandy loam, clay loam, and volcanic soils.
- Rainfall: Coriander requires adequate moisture to grow well, but too much rainfall can lead to disease and pest infestations. In Kenya, coriander can be grown in areas with an annual rainfall of between 600mm and 1000mm. Irrigation may be necessary in areas with lower rainfall.
- Light: Coriander requires plenty of sunlight to grow well, but it also needs some shade to prevent the leaves from becoming too bitter. In Kenya, coriander can be grown in areas with partial shade or in open fields.
- Altitude: Coriander can be grown at altitudes of up to 2500m above sea level. However, the best altitude for coriander farming in Kenya is between 1000m and 2000m above sea level.
Coriander can be grown in a variety of climatic conditions in Kenya, but the best yields are obtained when the crop is grown in moderate temperatures, well-draining soils, areas with adequate but not excessive rainfall, with plenty of sunlight and some shade, and at altitudes between 1000m and 2000m above sea level.
Coriander (dhania) production per acre in Kenya
Coriander production in Kenya is concentrated in the Rift Valley, Eastern, Central, and Coastal regions, where the crop is grown both for domestic consumption and export.
The average coriander production per acre in Kenya varies depending on various factors such as soil fertility, climate, and farming practices. However, on average, coriander yields in Kenya range from 1,500 to 2,000 kilograms per acre.
The planting season for coriander in Kenya is usually between March and June, with the crop maturing in about 75 to 90 days after planting. Coriander requires fertile, well-drained soils with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. The crop is usually propagated from seeds, which are sown directly in the field or in nurseries before being transplanted.
To ensure optimal growth and yield, coriander requires regular watering, particularly during the early stages of growth. The crop is also susceptible to pests and diseases such as aphids, leaf miners, and powdery mildew, which can significantly affect yield if not managed appropriately. As such, farmers are advised to adopt integrated pest and disease management strategies to protect their crop from damage.
Harvesting of coriander is usually done when the plants have reached the desired stage of maturity, which is usually about 60 to 90 days after planting. The leaves and seeds of the coriander plant are usually harvested separately, with the leaves being harvested first, followed by the seeds.
In conclusion, the average coriander production per acre in Kenya is between 1,500 to 2,000 kilograms per acre. However, this may vary depending on various factors such as soil fertility, climate, and farming practices. To ensure optimal yield, farmers are advised to adopt best farming practices and manage pests and diseases appropriately.
Profitability of Coriander (dhania) farming in Kenya
Coriander farming in Kenya can be profitable if done correctly. The profitability of coriander farming depends on various factors such as market demand, crop yield, and production costs. In this section, we will discuss the profitability of coriander farming in detail.
The demand for coriander in Kenya is high due to its use as a spice and a culinary herb. The market demand for coriander determines the price that farmers can sell their crops for. Farmers can take advantage of this high demand by growing coriander and selling it to local markets, supermarkets, or spice companies. However, it is essential for farmers to research the market demand for coriander and choose the right variety to grow.
The crop yield of coriander depends on various factors such as soil fertility, irrigation, pest and disease management, and seed quality. The higher the crop yield, the more profitable the farming operation will be. Farmers can improve their crop yield by using high-quality seeds, practicing good soil management practices, and applying appropriate fertilizers and pesticides.
Production costs in coriander farming include land preparation, seed acquisition, fertilizer and pesticide application, labor, and irrigation costs. To make a profit, farmers need to keep production costs low while maximizing crop yield. This can be achieved through efficient farming practices such as mechanization, timely application of fertilizers and pesticides, and proper management of irrigation systems.
Some general information on the factors that may affect the cost of production of coriander in Kenya.
- Land preparation: This includes clearing, plowing, harrowing, and leveling the land. The cost will depend on the size of the land and the type of equipment used.
- Seed costs: The cost of coriander seeds will vary depending on the variety, quality, and quantity needed.
- Fertilizers and soil amendments: Coriander requires a balanced application of nutrients, and the cost will depend on the type and amount of fertilizers and soil amendments used.
- Labor: The cost of labor will depend on the number of workers needed, the duration of the work, and the prevailing wage rates in the area.
- Water: Coriander requires adequate water supply, and the cost will depend on the source of water, irrigation system, and the amount of water required.
- Pest and disease control: The cost of pest and disease control will depend on the severity of the problem and the type of control measures used.
- Harvesting and transportation: The cost of harvesting and transportation will depend on the quantity of coriander produced and the distance to the market.
Overall, the cost of production of coriander in Kenya per acre will depend on several factors, and it is best to consult with local agricultural experts and farmers to get more accurate and current information.
To determine the profitability of coriander farming, farmers need to analyze their production costs and expected revenue. The expected revenue is calculated based on the expected crop yield and market price. If the expected revenue exceeds the production costs, then the farming operation is profitable.
For example, let’s assume that a farmer has 1 acre of land and expects to harvest 1,000 kg of coriander at a market price of KES 50 per kg. The production costs for the coriander crop are KES 100,000. The expected revenue for the crop is KES 50,000 (1,000 kg x KES 50 per kg). In this scenario, the farming operation is not profitable.
To increase profitability, farmers can consider ways to reduce production costs while maintaining or increasing crop yield. For instance, they can use organic fertilizers and pest control methods, use irrigation systems that minimize water usage, and mechanize some farming operations to reduce labor costs.
In conclusion, coriander farming in Kenya can be profitable if farmers make informed decisions based on market demand, crop yield, and production costs. By implementing efficient farming practices and analyzing their costs and expected revenue, farmers can improve the profitability of their farming operations.
Fertilizer Program For Coriander (dhania) farming in Kenya
A fertilizer program for coriander farming in Kenya can vary depending on the soil type, crop variety, and other factors. However, here is a general fertilization program that you can follow:
- Soil analysis: Before applying any fertilizer, it’s important to do a soil analysis to determine the nutrient status of your soil. This will help you identify any nutrient deficiencies or excesses that may affect the growth of coriander.
- Pre-planting fertilization: Based on the soil analysis, you can apply a basal fertilizer before planting. A recommended fertilizer for coriander farming is DAP (Di-ammonium phosphate) at a rate of 50kg per acre. Apply the fertilizer at least two weeks before planting.
- Top-dressing: After 20-30 days of planting, you can apply a top-dressing fertilizer. A recommended fertilizer for top-dressing is CAN (Calcium Ammonium Nitrate) at a rate of 50kg per acre. Alternatively, you can use Urea at a rate of 25kg per acre. Apply the fertilizer evenly around the plants.
- Repeat top-dressing: Repeat top-dressing after every 25-30 days until the coriander reaches maturity.
- Foliar spray: You can also apply foliar spray of micronutrients such as zinc, boron, and manganese. This can be done 2-3 times during the growing period.
It’s important to note that the above fertilization program is a general guideline. You should always consult with a local agricultural extension officer or agronomist to get specific recommendations based on your farm’s soil type, crop variety, and other factors.
Challenges of Coriander (dhania) farming in Kenya
Like any other crop, coriander production in Kenya is faced with various challenges that can affect yield and quality. Some of the key challenges include:
- Pests and diseases: Coriander is susceptible to pests and diseases such as aphids, leaf miners, powdery mildew, and damping-off, which can significantly reduce yield if not managed properly.
- Inadequate access to quality inputs: Farmers may have limited access to quality seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides, which can affect yield and quality.
- Erratic weather patterns: Erratic weather patterns such as droughts, floods, and unpredictable rainfall can affect coriander growth and yield.
- Market access: Coriander is a perishable crop, and farmers may struggle to access markets to sell their produce, leading to post-harvest losses.
- Lack of information: Some farmers may lack information on best farming practices, including pest and disease management, leading to low yields and poor quality produce.
- Soil fertility: Coriander requires fertile, well-drained soils with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. However, some soils in Kenya may be deficient in key nutrients, affecting yield and quality.
- Labour costs: Coriander production requires significant labour inputs, particularly during planting and harvesting, which can be costly for farmers.
Addressing these challenges requires a multi-pronged approach that involves both farmers and government agencies. Strategies such as providing access to quality inputs, promoting climate-smart agriculture practices, and providing extension services and market linkages can help improve coriander production in Kenya.