Guide to Yellow Capsicum Farming in Kenya
Yellow capsicum, also known as yellow bell pepper or yellow pilipili hoho, is a highly lucrative crop that is widely grown in Kenya due to its high demand and favorable market prices. The crop is a great investment option for farmers due to its low maintenance requirements, high yield potential, and ability to adapt easily to different environmental conditions.
Suitable Conditions For Yellow Capsicum Farming In Kenya
When selecting a site for yellow capsicum farming, farmers should consider factors such as soil type, topography, and climatic conditions.
- Soil Type: The soil should be well-drained, rich in organic matter, and have a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. This ensures that the crop has access to adequate nutrients, moisture, and air for healthy growth.
- Topography: The site should have gentle slopes or a flat terrain to prevent waterlogging and soil erosion. This helps to ensure that the crop has access to sufficient moisture and nutrients for healthy growth.
- Climatic Conditions: Yellow capsicum thrives in warm to hot weather, with a temperature range between 21°C to 30°C. The crop requires adequate sunlight exposure and is sensitive to frost. The rainfall distribution also affects its growth, with an optimal range of 700 to 1000 mm per annum.
- Altitude: The crop can be grown at different altitudes, with an ideal range of between 1200 m to 1800 m above sea level. This ensures that the crop is exposed to optimal climatic conditions for its growth and yield potential.
- Water Availability: The crop requires an adequate supply of water for optimal growth and yields. Regular watering during dry spells is necessary to prevent wilting and boost productivity.
- Disease Incidence: The incidence of diseases such as powdery mildew and bacterial spot can affect crop growth and yield potential. The site selection should, therefore, have a history of low disease incidence to minimize crop losses and maximize profits.
Step by Step Preparation and Planting Guide
Before planting, the soil should be cleared of any weeds, rocks, or debris. The ideal time for planting yellow capsicum in Kenya is during the long rainy season, which runs from March to June. The recommended spacing between plants is 50 cm by 50 cm. The seeds should first be planted in a nursery and then transplanted to the main field after they have sprouted.
- Seed Selection: Choose high-quality seeds that are disease-free, genetically stable, and with a good germination rate. Ensure that the variety chosen is suitable for your intended market and climate conditions.
- Nursery Preparation: Prepare a nursery bed by tilling the soil till fine crumbly texture and remove any weeds, rocks, or debris. The nursery site should be well-ventilated, and the soil should be moistened before seeding. The seeds can be planted either in rows or broadcasted over the bed.
- Germination: After planting the seeds, they should germinate within 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the variety. The seedlings should be watered regularly to maintain soil moisture for optimal germination rates and growth.
- Transplanting: The seedlings can be transplanted to the main field after they have reached a height of about 10 cm and have developed a healthy root system. Hardening off the seedlings may be necessary to help them adapt to the change in environment from the nursery to the field.
- Site Preparation: The main field for planting should be prepared by clearing any weeds, rocks, or debris from the site. The field should be tilled to ensure a fine seedbed for planting. If necessary, apply organic or inorganic fertilizers to increase soil fertility.
- Spacing: The recommended spacing for yellow capsicum plants is 50 cm by 50 cm. This spacing allows for optimal sunlight penetration, airflow, and enough room for the plants to grow, bear fruits and be harvested.
- Transplanting into the farm: Transplant the seedlings early in the morning or late in the day when the temperature is cooler to prevent transplant shock. Carefully uproot the seedlings from the nursery and transplant them to the field soil. Make a small hole for transplanting the seedlings, plant them firmly and water them immediately after transplanting.
Yellow Capsicum Crop Management
Once the crop has been planted, it is important to closely monitor its growth and health. This involves regular watering, weeding, and fertilization. Yellow capsicum requires regular watering, especially during dry spells, to prevent wilting. Weeds should be cleared regularly to minimize competition for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Organic and inorganic fertilizers can be applied to the soil to boost plant growth and productivity.
- Water Management: Yellow capsicum plants require constant moisture throughout the growing season. Irrigation should be provided to ensure adequate soil moisture, especially during the dry season. Over-watering can lead to leach of nutrients from soil hence reducing yield, while underwatering stresses the plants, causing wilting and shrinkage of fruits. Watering is most effective early in the morning or late in the evening to minimize evaporative losses and allow adequate time for the plants to dry.
- Fertilizer Management: Yellow capsicum requires a consistent supply of nutrients to enhance growth and yield. Fertilizers should be applied at regular intervals throughout the growing season to ensure optimal nutrient uptake and assimilation. For most soils in Kenya, NPK 17:17:17 application at a rate of 50 kg/acre at planting and then 25 kg/acre after every two months can be sufficient. Organic sources of fertilizers can also be used, and soil tests conducted annually to determine the soil’s nutrient status.
- Mulching and Weed Control: Mulching with organic material helps to conserve soil moisture, suppress weed growth, regulate soil temperature and control soil erosion. Mulching also provides essential organic matter to the soil. Weeds compete with crops for water and nutrients and require regular removal from the field. Manual weeding or chemical use of appropriate herbicides is advised.
- Pest and Disease Control: Yellow capsicum is susceptible to pests and diseases, which can negatively affect crop yield. Regular scouting and monitoring of the crops should be conducted to identify any early signs of infestation or diseases. Integrated pest management practices (IPM) such as applying natural predators, pruning of affected areas, and application of appropriate pesticides should be used to curb these challenges. The use of chemical pesticides should be done with caution and strictly following good agricultural practices to avoid misuse.
- Pruning and Staking: Capsicum plants are usually vigorous, and some have a sprawling habit. It is vital to stake or trellis them adequately and prune as necessary to promote proper plant spacing and fruiting. Pruning also increases the penetration of sunlight, airflow and hastens the ripening of yellow capsicum fruits.
- Crop Rotation: Crop rotation is essential to control soil-borne diseases and pests in yellow capsicum farming. Alternate planting with other non-solanaceous crops such as legumes, maize, or brassicas to improve soil health and fertility.
Cost of Yellow Capsicum Production and Expected Yield Per Acre
- Land preparation: 10,000 to 20,000 Kshs
- Seed: 5,000 Kshs
- Fertilizer: 4,500 Kshs
- Pesticides: 2,000 Kshs
- Labor: 50,000 Kshs per year
- Irrigation: 10,000 Kshs
- Harvesting: 5,000 Kshs
- Transport: 2,000 Kshs
- Marketing: 1,000 Kshs
Total cost of yellow capsicum production: 100,000 to 300,000 Kshs per acre
Expected yield per acre of yellow capsicum: 3600 kilograms
Expected revenue per acre of yellow capsicum: 360,000 Kshs (at a price of 100 Kshs per kilogram)
Profit per acre of yellow capsicum: 260,000-580,000 Kshs (after deducting the cost of production)
NOTE: These are just estimates, and the actual costs and revenue may vary depending on a number of factors, such as the variety of yellow capsicum being grown, the level of care taken in cultivation, irrigation method being used, and the weather conditions.
Pest and Disease of Yellow Capsicum
Yellow capsicum is susceptible to a range of pests and diseases, which can damage the crop and reduce yields. Common pests include aphids, thrips, and whiteflies, while diseases include powdery mildew and bacterial spot. To minimize pest and disease incidence, farmers should practice good field hygiene, crop rotation, and the use of integrated pest management strategies.
Below is a table of pests and diseases of yellow capsicum and their respective controls
|Pest or Disease||Symptoms||Control|
|Aphids||Small, soft-bodied insects that suck sap from leaves and stems.||Aphids can be controlled with insecticidal soaps or oils, or by releasing beneficial insects such as ladybugs.|
|Bacterial Spot||Small, dark spots on leaves and fruit.||Bacterial spot can be controlled by using resistant varieties, and by removing and destroying infected leaves and fruit.|
|Botrytis Blight||Grayish-brown mold on leaves, stems, and fruit.||Botrytis blight can be controlled by planting in well-drained soil, and by using fungicides.|
|Caterpillars||Larvae of moths and butterflies that eat leaves and fruit.||Caterpillars can be controlled by handpicking, or by using insecticides.|
|Colorado Potato Beetle||1/2-inch-long, yellow-and-black beetles that eat leaves and stems.||Colorado potato beetles can be controlled by handpicking, or by using insecticides.|
|Fruit Flies||Small, gnat-like insects that lay eggs in fruit.||Fruit flies can be controlled by using traps, or by removing and destroying infested fruit.|
|Leaf Miner||Larvae of flies that tunnel through leaves.||Leaf miners can be controlled by using insecticides, or by removing and destroying infested leaves.|
|Mosaic Virus||Yellow and green mottling on leaves.||Mosaic virus can be controlled by planting resistant varieties, and by removing and destroying infected plants.|
|Powdery Mildew||White, powdery growth on leaves and stems.||Powdery mildew can be controlled by planting in well-drained soil, and by using fungicides.|
|Thrips||Very small, winged insects that suck sap from leaves and flowers.||Thrips can be controlled with insecticidal soaps or oils, or by releasing beneficial insects such as lacewings.|
|Whiteflies||Tiny, white insects that fly around plants.||Whiteflies can be controlled with insecticidal soaps or oils, or by using sticky traps.|
It is important to note that these are just a few of the pests and diseases that can affect yellow capsicum. There are many other pests and diseases that can occur, so it is important to inspect your plants regularly and take preventative measures. You can purchase pesticides and insecticides online at virtual agrovet.
Harvesting of Yellow Capsicum
Yellow capsicums, like other types of capsicums, take around 75-85 days from planting to reach maturity, although this can vary depending on the growing conditions and cultivar. The capsicums are ready to harvest when they are firm, fully ripened, and have a bright and even yellow color.
When harvesting yellow capsicum, it is important to use sharp pruning shears or a knife to cut the capsicum from the plant. Leaving a short stem attached to the capsicum can help to maintain its quality and prevent damage to the plant.
When selecting yellow capsicum for harvest, gently check the texture of the capsicum to ensure that it is firm and not mushy, and check for any signs of discoloration or soft spots. If the capsicum feels soft or is discolored, it may be overripe and past its prime for harvest.
Once harvested, yellow capsicums can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or in a cool and dry place for up to one week.
Market For Yellow Capsicum In Kenya
Yellow capsicums are generally more expensive than green capsicums in Kenya, but still hold a significant market share due to their popularity.
Yellow capsicums are mainly grown in the Central and Rift Valley regions, as well as in some parts of Eastern Kenya. These regions have favorable environmental conditions for capsicum cultivation, such as moderate temperature, well-drained soils, and adequate rainfall.
The main buyers of yellow capsicums in Kenya are supermarkets, hotels and restaurants, and export markets. Supermarkets and hotels and restaurants typically demand high-quality, uniform-sized yellow capsicums, whereas export markets often require certifications such as GlobalGAP and Fairtrade.
Despite the growing demand and potential for yellow capsicums in Kenya, there are still challenges facing farmers in terms of access to information, finance, and markets. However, with the right support and investment, the yellow capsicum market in Kenya has the potential to continue growing and provide significant economic opportunities for farmers.
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