Lemon is one of the important category of citrus fruits in Kenya. It is mainly known for its pulp and juice throughout the world. Different citrus fruits are used throughout the world as food or juice. The cultivation of lemon fruits is a long term investment. Because they are tree crops, they require a longer waiting time. This can take upwards of 3 to 6 years before they start to bear fruits. However, the length of time it takes depends on the variety. There are several varieties ofย  lemon available in Kenya. These also include genetically modified ones which have been fairly recent. Also these trees range in sizes.

lemon farming in kenya
Woman hand picking lemon on lemon tree. Photo Credit

Site Selection

Choosing a suitable land should come first. It is advisable to take your time when doing this. This is because it can significantly impact on how well your trees grow. As mentioned earlier, sandy-loam soils are an excellent choice. A clay content of 10 to 40 percent is ideal.ย  However an easier way to know how good a soil would be is to observe other trees around. If surrounding trees look well nourished, then such land is likely to be good for this purpose.

Soil drainage is another important consideration to make. Citrus trees thrive on well-drained soils. Therefore, you should avoid water-logged areas. While some water-logged areas are visuallyย evident, others are not.

How then do you ascertain the drainage capacity of the soil? An easy way to do so is to simply dig a hole 2 meters deep and 1 meter in diameter. The hole should be filled with water and observed. The land should be avoided if it takes more than 48 hours to drain. The ideal time frame should be from 24 to 36 hours. This internal drain test forestalls the likelihood of your citrus trees being affected by the soil drainage structure. In addition to the above, purchasing a land for this venture would be cheaper in remote areas. Going for lands located in the city would be significantly expensive.

How To Plant Lemons

There are two ways to do this. You can either decide to buy young trees from Certified nurseries or grow the plants from the seeds. This takes a longer time; however, it saves you from mistakes of buying unwanted varieties. If you choose to plant the seeds yourself, you should buy your desired citrus fruits consisting of oranges and lemon. You should also choose your preferred varieties. These can be the dwarf or standard varieties. After harvesting the seeds, they should be soaked apart in water.

Mayer Lemon Seedlings

You need to separate these into 2 categories for easy identification. These should be left in the water overnight. A nursery should be prepared, and the seeds planted half an inch deep. You can use polythene bags as the nursery.

Sandy-loam soil rich in organic matter should be packed into the bags. Each of these should hold a seed or two. The polythene bags should be punctured to allow for easy drainage of water. After planting your seeds half an inch deep, it should be watered daily. Orange seeds will typically germinate 14 days or two weeks after planting.

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Optimal conditions are necessary for germination. This include availability of water, a well-drained soil and the right temperature. Luckily the temperature in Kenya is ideal for germination. The young tree should remain in the polythene for up to 3 months after which it should be transplanted.

Lemon Farming Spacing

Spacing should be such that it allows for maximum allowance for blossoming of the plants. Dwarf citrus trees require lesser spacing than standard sized trees. Dwarf trees are spaced 6 to 10 feet apart while standard trees require a spacing of 12 to 25 feet apart. This is necessary because as they grow, they take up more space.

Lemon Farming In Kenya

Lemon farming is a lucrative agricultural activity in Kenya due to the high demand for the fruit both locally and internationally. Here are some key points about lemon farming in Kenya:

  1. Climate: Lemon farming requires a warm and humid climate with temperatures ranging from 15ยฐC to 30ยฐC. The coastal regions of Kenya, as well as areas around Mount Kenya, are suitable for lemon farming.
  2. Soil: Lemons grow well in well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter. The soil should be slightly acidic with a pH of between 5.5 and 6.5.
  3. Varieties: The most common lemon varieties grown in Kenya are Eureka, Meyer Lemon, Lisbon, and Villa Franca.
  4. Planting: Lemon trees can be planted from seeds or cuttings. Planting should be done during the rainy season to ensure that the trees establish well.
  5. Care and maintenance: Lemon trees require regular watering and fertilization. Pruning and weeding should also be done regularly to maintain the health and productivity of the trees.
  6. Pests and diseases: Common pests and diseases that affect lemon trees in Kenya include citrus psyllid, citrus leafminer, and citrus black spot. Proper pest and disease management practices should be implemented to prevent or control these issues.
  7. Harvesting and marketing: Lemons take between 6 to 12 months to mature and can be harvested 2 to 3 times a year. The fruit should be harvested when fully mature and marketed to local markets or exported.

Overall, lemon farming in Kenya has great potential for both small-scale and large-scale farmers looking to diversify their agricultural activities and earn good profits.

Variegated Pink Lemon Seedlings

Fertilizer requirement on Lemon Farming In Kenya

Age of crop (Year)Well decomposed cow dungย  (kg/tree)Urea (gm/tree)
First to three year5-20100-300
Seven to Nine25-50400-500
Four to Six60-90600-800
Ten and above100800-1600

ย 

Nutrient requirement on lemon farming in Kenya

Age of crop (Year)Well decomposed cow dungย  (kg/tree)Nitrogen (gm/tree)
First to three year5-2050-150
Seven to Nine25-50200-250
Four to Six60-90300-400
Ten and above100400-800
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How to care for Your Trees

The waiting time for your trees to mature can be significant. This normally takes years; from 3 to 10 years depending on the variety. Our variety only takes 2 and ยฝ years to start producing fruits. By providing proper care, chances of realizing maximum production capacity are significantly increased. Orange trees do not attain maximum production immediately. It starts with a few and increases over time. There are diseases which may attack your trees and would require urgent treatment.

Some common ones include citrus canker which causes lesions on the fruits, citrus mold; responsible for blackening and wilting of leaves, and citrus tristeza which causes stunted growth. There are several other types which require urgent treatment such as spraying of insecticides.

Lemon Disease and Pest Management

Major pests that attack lemons include fruit flies, thrips, aphids, mites, black flies, false coddling moths and ants.

On the other hand, common diseases include anthracnose, leaf spot, damping off, greening disease, scab and canker.

To manage such diseases and pests, you can use foliar fertilisers, fungicides, insecticides and supplements.

Harvesting of Lemon

Lemon takes 3-6 years to start bearing fruits, a period which is ideal for harvesting mature lemons.

Lemon Profits Per Tree Per Acre

The profitability of lemon farming in Kenya depends on several factors such as the size of the farm, location, climate, soil type, management practices, and market demand. However, lemon farming has the potential to be a profitable venture in Kenya due to the high demand for lemons in the local and international markets.

On average, a mature lemon tree can yield about 300-500 fruits per year, and the selling price per kilogram of lemons in Kenya ranges from KES 30 to KES 70 depending on the market demand and location. Therefore, if a farmer has an acre of land with approximately 1000 lemon trees, the potential annual revenue could range from KES 3 million to KES 8.4 million, assuming an average yield of 400 fruits per tree and a selling price of KES 50 per kilogram.

However, it is essential to note that lemon farming requires significant initial investment in land preparation, planting materials, irrigation, fertilizers, pest and disease control, and labor. Therefore, the profitability of the venture depends on the farmer’s ability to manage production costs effectively and secure a reliable market for the produce.

Health Benefits of Lemon

  • Rich in antioxidants and flavonoids which help in fighting cancer cells boosting the immune system of the body.
  • Contain components that aid in treating digestive problems and urinary tract infections.
  • Lemons are natural antiseptics that can be used on cuts.
  • Rich in Vitamin C which improve calcium absorption by the digestive system.
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Do you have any questions, suggestions, or other contributions? Kindly use the comment box provided below for all your contributions. You are also encouraged to please kindly share this article with others you feel can benefit from this information if found useful enough as we may not be able to reach everyone at the same time. Thank you so much for sharing!

 


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