When it comes to fruit farming in Kenya, the idea of growing heaps of delicious fruits while not being overwhelmed with maintenance is a dream we all cherish. Luckily, there are several fruits that fit this bill perfectly. Let’s explore the world of Hass avocados, Pixie oranges, apples, grapes, and dragons – five fruits that offer both new and experienced farmers a chance to succeed with impressive yields and manageable care.

1. Hass Avocado Farming

Hass avocados are like the gold standard of Kenyan agriculture. They’re pretty adaptable to different climates and don’t need too much maintenance. Starting an avocado orchard can be a smart move that pays off nicely. Hass avocado demand is huge, and these nutrient-packed fruits are a hit. With a bit of attention to watering, pruning, and keeping pests at bay, Hass avocado trees can give you a generous harvest.

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Hass avocado thrive in well drained soils, with a PH of 5.5- 6.5 and adequate water retention qualities. When planting, they should be placed about a meter below the topsoil and both manure and mulch added where the soil has low organic matter.

How To Plant Hass Avocado

  • prepare holes of 60 x 60 x 60cm i.e. length x width x height one month prior to the actual planting date.
  • Separate sub-soil and top-soil.
  • Take a debe (20kg) of Farm Yard Manure (FYM) and 120 g of Double Superphosphate fertilizer (46% P2O5) and mix with the top soil.
  • Remove the plant from the container or paper with the soil intact and carefully place it in the center of the hole and cover firmly with the mixture of FYM and top soil
  • Make a basin-like hole around the seedling for water holding.
  • Water the plant immediately after planting.
  • In areas with hot climate, shade the seedling after transplanting.

The following are the estimated expenses for each of the factors:

  • Land preparation: Ksh 50,000 to Ksh 150,000
  • Avocado seedlings: Ksh 22,500 to Ksh 60,000
  • Irrigation: Ksh 40,000
  • Fertilizers and pesticides: Ksh 20,000 to Ksh 40,000
  • Labor: Ksh 20,000
  • Manure: Ksh 20,000

The total cost of Hass avocado farming per acre in Kenya is estimated to be Ksh 140,000 to Ksh 270,000. However, the actual cost may vary depending on the factors mentioned above.

The expected returns from Hass avocado farming per acre in Kenya range from Ksh 800,000 to Ksh 2 million per year. The actual returns will vary depending on the yield, the price of avocados, and the costs of production.

Hass Avocado Yield and Expected Returns Per Acre

Under good care, the trees are highly productive with an extended harvesting period. You can harvest about 50-100 fruits per tree in two years or an average of 300 – 400 kgs per acre. Four-year-old trees can produce about 200 – 500 fruits each. In the 10th year, the yield has stabilized, and a tree can produce an average of 1000 fruits.

The first two years –growth stage

  • 2nd and 3rd year (harvest of 50 fruits per tree) – 60,000 Kshs
  • 4th year (harvest 200-250 fruits) – 240, 000 Kshs
  • 5th year – (350 fruits) – 420,000 Kshs
  • 6th year – (800 fruits) – 900,000 Kshs
  • 7th year – (1000 fruits) – 1,100,000 Kshs
  • 8th year –(1100 fruits) – 1,300,000 Kshs
  • 9th year –(more than 1300 fruits) – 1,500,000 Kshs
  • 10th year – (more than 1500 fruits) – 1,800,000 Kshs
  • 11th year – (more than 1750 fruits) – 2,000,000 Kshs and above

2. Pixie Orange Farming

Meet the charming Pixie oranges – a small citrus variety that’s perfect for those who want easy fruit farming. These little fruits are sweet and tangy all at once. They love soaking up the sun and growing in well-drained soil, which suits many parts of Kenya. Regular watering, a sprinkle of fertilizer every now and then, and a watchful eye for pests are usually all it takes to enjoy a steady supply of these delightful treats.

Pixie Orange Farming In Kenya
Pixie Orange Farmer In Makueni Kenya

Being a variety of citrus fruits, pixie oranges thrive in hot climatic conditions. Currently, Makueni County leads in the production of this fruit, followed by the other Ukambani counties like Machakos and Kitui. The hot Baringo County is also hot on the trail and gladly, the coastal people of Kwale and Taita Taveta have woken up to the opportunity even though in very small scales.

Grafted pixie oranges will start giving you fruits in the second year and mature after 3-5 years depending on how well they are taken care of. At first, each tree will give a few fruits; about 30 to 50 fruits. This production increases every year as the branches grow wider. The highest yield is attained in the 4th or 5th year in which each pixie tree can give up to 300 fruits; about 60 kgs per tree.

Pixie orange trees grow vigorously and has stout ascending branches with large leaves. Proper spacing should be considered when setting up pixie orchards. The recommended spacing of pixie orange trees is 4 meters between trees and 5 meters between rows. This gives each tree about 625 square meters of space. With this spacing, you can plant about 200 pixie orange trees per acre., some farmers opt for a 3m by 3m spacing resulting to a high population of about 333 pixie trees per acre.

The expected yield on pixie orange per tree can vary depending on a number of factors, including the variety of pixie orange tree, the climate, the soil, and the amount of care the tree receives. A mature pixie orange tree will start producing at 2nd year with proper management. However, a typical expected yield for pixie orange trees in Kenya is:

  • Year 1: Growth
  • Year 2: 30-100 fruits per tree
  • Year 3: 100-200 fruits per tree
  • Year 4: 200-300 fruits per tree
  • Year 5: 300-400 fruits per tree
  • Year 6: 400-550 fruits per tree
  • Year 7: 550-700 fruits per tree
  • Year 8: 700-850 fruits per tree
  • Year 9: 850-1000 fruits per tree
  • Year 10: 1000-1250 fruits per tree

It is important to note that these are just general guidelines. The actual yield of a pixie orange tree can be higher or lower depending on the factors mentioned above.

A Kg of pixie orange goes for about 100-150Ksh during off season and around 80Kshs when the season is at its peak

Assumptions:

  • Spacing: 4 meters between trees in a row, 5 meters between rows
  • Trees per Acre: 200 trees (as per recommended spacing)
  • Year 5 Yield per Tree: 40 kilograms
  • Market Price per Kilogram: 150 Kenyan Shillings (Kshs)

Cost of pixie orange production

  • Land preparation: Ksh 40,000 (assuming 200 holes @ Ksh 40/hole)
  • Hole digging: Ksh 8,000 (200 holes @ Ksh 40/hole)
  • Irrigation: Ksh 40,000
  • Goat manure: Ksh 20,000
  • Pest control: Ksh 15,000
  • Other miscellaneous costs: Ksh 25,000

Total cost of production: Ksh 113,000

Expected yield

  • Yield per tree: 40 kg
  • Number of trees per acre: 200
  • Total yield per acre: 8000 kg

Expected revenue

  • Price per kg: Ksh 150
  • Total revenue: 8000 * 150 = Ksh 1,200,000

Profit on pixie orange farming in Kenya

  • Profit = Revenue – Cost
  • Profit = 1,200,000 – 113,000 = Ksh 1,087,000

Therefore, the expected profit from pixie orange farming per acre is Ksh 1,087,000, even with the additional miscellaneous costs. This is still a very profitable venture.

Please note that the above calculations are simplified examples for illustrative purposes. Actual costs and profits can vary based on numerous factors, including actual expenses, market fluctuations, yield variations, and unforeseen challenges.

3. Apple Farming

Apple farming in Kenya is a relatively new and niche agricultural venture taking steady root. The country’s climate and geographical conditions are not naturally suited for apple farming, as apples typically thrive in temperate regions with cold winters and distinct seasons. However, some farmers have ventured into apple cultivation, primarily in highland regions with more favorable climate conditions and made it.

The apple orchard should be selected on a site having deep, fertile, well drained and well aerated loamy-sandy soil, with a slightly acidic to alkaline P.H of 5.5-6.5.

Apples does well in the high-altitude regions of 1800m-2800m above sea level, with rainfall requirement of 1000mm-1800mm per annum. However, very high amount of rainfall is associated with incidences of fungal disease. Regions with low rainfall amounts, irrigation is recommended as the apple tree requires high water amounts for the high yields.

The spacing for apple trees is selected depending on the rootstock, variety and the altitude of the site. The holes are dug in a square or rectangular layout at a spacing of 3m x 2m or 3m x 3m for smaller varieties and 4m x 4m or 4m x 5m for the medium and large varieties. The planting hole for apples should be 60cm deep and 60cm wide.

In a good year, an apple orchard in Kenya can produce an average of 6 to 10 tons of apples per acre. If the average price of apples is Ksh 100 per kilo, then the gross sales from an acre of apple trees would be Ksh 600,000 to Ksh 1,000,000.

The costs of production for an apple orchard in Kenya can vary depending on the size of the orchard, the type of apple trees being grown, and the location. However, the average cost of production for an acre of apple trees is estimated to be Ksh 220,000.

After deducting the costs of production, the net profit from an acre of apple trees in Kenya can be significant. In a good year, the net profit could be Ksh 380,000 to Ksh 780,000.

4. Grapes Farming

Grapes farming in Kenya has gained attention in recent years, primarily driven by the increasing demand for table grapes and the potential for wine production. However, it’s important to note that Kenya’s climate is not ideal for traditional grape varieties, so growers often focus on cultivating grape varieties that are better suited to the country’s conditions.

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Grape prefers deep and well drained soil and can grow in any soil type. They can be propagated through seeds or vegetatively by using cuttings. However, it is advisable to get ready seedlings from established nurseries.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the export market for Kenyan grapes has been growing rapidly, with an estimated export value of over 500 million KES in 2022. This represents an increase of 45% compared to 2021. These figures underscore the tremendous potential for profitability in the grape farming sector.

Grapes start yielding very early; within a year after transplanting but reach the highest yield in take four years. They are harvested twice a year and with one grape plant capable producing over 15kgs of grapes per year which translates to 6,000 Kshs per plant at full maturity.
A good percentage of the grapes consumed in Kenya is imported and mostly sold to the high end market that pays a good price for them- a kilo goes at around 400-600 Kshs.

5. Dragon Fruit Farming

Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is a tropical fruit that has gained popularity for its unique appearance and health benefits. While dragon fruit farming is not as common in Kenya as some other fruits, it is possible to cultivate this exotic fruit in specific regions with suitable conditions and make serious profits.

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First, prepare holes spaced out two meters apart; these holes for dragon fruits should measure atleast 60 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm. And each should have a supporting concrete or wooden post for the climbing dragon plant vines.

While planting the cuttings, fill the pits with a topsoil and manure mix. Additionally, each plant needs inorganic fertilizers for good vegetative growth. The quantities for each plant cutting are 40g of muriate of potash, 90g of superphosphate, and 70g of urea.

Dragon fruit is a fast-return perennial fruit crop. Production is expected between 18 and 24 months after planting. The plants can begin flowering in as little as six to eight months, although container-grown plants may take up to two years to bear fruit.

Currently, dragon fruits sell at Ksh890 per kg at Zucchini supermarket, making it the highest priced fruit in Kenya.

Spacing is important since a narrower spacing gives quicker production than larger spacing. This is to prevent plants from falling. In Dragon fruit spacing, the size and slope of the plantation are factors to take into consideration. In small-scall growers, proper spacing is not necessary. To avoid or lower the chances of diseases outbreak, wider spacing is highly recommended. It will also allow sufficient air circulation.

If you are using a spacing of 2 meters by 2 meters, you can fit 1,600 dragon fruit plants in an acre.

An acre is equal to 43,560 square feet. If you divide that by the area of each planting space, you get 1,600.

So, if you have an acre of land and you want to plant dragon fruit with a spacing of 2 meters by 2 meters, you can plant 1,600 plants. Note also that the shape of the farm can affect the population not to mention the distance from the fence.

Keep in mind that you will need a to plant 2-4 plants per hole with a supporting wooden or concrete pole at the middle.

This will result to dragon fruit population per acre to between 3,200 – 6,400 plants for maximum production.

The expected profit from dragon fruit farming in Kenya varies depending on the yield and price per kilogram. If the yield is 15 kgs per plant and the price per kilogram is 500 kshs, the profit is Ksh 750,000 per acre. If the yield is 25 kgs per plant and the price per kilogram is 1200 kshs, the profit is Ksh 1,950,000 per acre.

TAKE AWAY

Remember, while these fruits are touted as “easy to grow,” successful farming does need a bit of attention. Knowing your local climate, understanding your soil, and giving each type of fruit what it needs will help you get the best results. Don’t hesitate to chat with local experts or join farming communities for tips. With determination and the right know-how, you can relish the rewards of these mouthwatering fruits and enjoy a harvest that keeps on giving.

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