Mango is an important cash crop in Kenya. It is produced for both local and export markets. Kenya exports mature mango fruits to the EU and the middle East countries and both mature and immature to the United Kingdom, the latter for chutney-making. Mango can be eaten fresh or processed into various products such as juices, dried fruit, chutney, pickled and jam. The fruit is an important source of vitamin A, fair in vitamin B and varying quantities of vitamin C. It also contains protein (0.5 %) and sugar (15 %).

mango farming in kenya
Mango farming in Muranga – Kenya

CLIMATIC AND SOIL REQUIREMENT

Along the Coastal region of Kenya, mango under go two main growth flushes, one in May to June and another November to December each year. However, in medium altitude areas (800-1600m a.s.l), the main growth flush occurs in May to June after the long rains. These growth flushes are followed by flowering about 3 months later.

Altitude and rainfall

Because mangoes are deep rooted, they are very tolerant to drought. Mangoes require water at flowering and fruit set to produce high yields. If mangoes are planted in a dry location, they should be irrigated continuously until the fruit is harvested and then the irrigation interval can be reduced.

Temperatures of 24 โ€“ 30oC is favourable for flowering. Pollen viability decrease at 35 ๏‚ฐC. Mango does well at elevations from sea level (0 m a.s.l) to medium altitude (1600 m a.s.l). The optimum growth temperature is 25oC. Mango can grow well in areas which receive rainfall as low as 650 mm per annum. However there should be a marked season with dry weather for flowering and fruiting.

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Soil

Mango thrives well on a wide variety of soils, provided they are not too water logged, too alkaline or too shallow. A pH of 5.5 โ€“ 7.5 is preferred. Deep well drained, loam or clay is good.

Fertilization

Both Organic and inorganic fertilizers perform well. Mango require a constant supply of nitrogen. More fertilizer should be applied if mangoes are planted in sandy soil.

N.B. Soil analysis to determine the type and rate of fertilizer to be applied must be done before any fertilizer use recommendation. Quantity of manure and fertilizer application is dependent on the fertility status of soil and age of the plant.

VARIETIES OF MANGOES IN KENYA

There are two principal types of mangos: Indian and Indochinese. Varieties of the Indian type typically have monoembryonic (single embryo) seeds, highly coloured fruit and are subject to anthracnose disease. Those of the Indochinese type have polyembryonic seeds (multiple embryos) and fruit usually lack in coloration, but they may have some resistance to anthracnose. There are some varieties, however, that do not fit clearly into either group.

Mango varieties grown in Kenya have for several years been classified into areas they thrive best.

Low altitude(0-800m a.s.l) commercial cultivars

Variety Description
1.ย  NgoweThe fruit is large and long with excellent flesh quality and fibre free. The colour is deep yellow
2.ย  BoriboFruit is long and large but not as slender as Ngowe. The flesh is deep orange-red and fibre free.
3.ย  AppleFruit is round in shape and ripen to a rich yellow orange to red colour. Excellent flavour.
4.ย  BatawiThe fruit is very large, round and has a rich olive- green to purple maroon colour. The fleshhas good texture, little fibre and good f
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Mid altitude (800-1600 ma.s.l) commercial cultivars

Variety Description
1 HadenTree spreading, fruit large and ovate. When mature the fruit is yellowish and almost covered with red. It has mild flavour and little fibre
2 Tommy Atkins Tree full and dense, fruit is medium to large (500g) with thick skin, and turns purplish when mature
3 KentTree spreading, fruit large and ovate (500-600g). Fruit is greenish yellow with red shoulder and fibreless
4 Vandyke Tree upright. Fruit is relatively smaller with deep pinkish colour. The fresh is smooth and fibreless

Orchard Establishment

About 6 weeks before transplanting the taproot should be cut back to about 12 in (30 cm). This encourages feederroot development in the field. Dig holes 60 x 60 x 60 cm at a spacing ranging from 9 x 9 m to 13 x 13 m depending on growth characteristic of the individual variety and the type of soil.

Closer spacing of 6 X 4 m or 5 X 5 m could be used however alternate plants should be removed when over crowding start to set in. Mix one debe (15 kg) of well decomposed manure and 120g of DAP with top soil and return this to the hole. Plant the young tree into the hole and then press the soil around the stem firmly. Irrigation is necessary in absence of adequate rainfall for proper establishment of the young trees.

Mulching around the tree is recommended to smother weeds and to conserve moisture. Trees should be top-dressed with 250g of CAN per tree at the beginning of each rainy season after the trees attain a height of 1 m. However, the rate may vary depending on the soil fertility status. In the early years mangoes require high levels of nitrogen but after they begin to bear, the fertilizer should be higher in phosphate and potash.

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Pruning

Mango trees are pruned to increase light penetration to the canopy so as to encourage flower bud formation and hence yield. They are also pruned to stimulate new growth, promote uniform annual bearing, and to control size during the dormant season.

Formative pruning is done by cutting the main shoot at 1m high. Three or four horizontal shoots which arise at wide angle to make a strong frame of the tree. Subsequent pruning is done to remove dead wood and to open the canopy.

Flower inducement

1. Potassium nitrate is sprayed at a rate of 2-3 kg/ha when the plants are dormant .
2. Plants are deprived water for a period of 1-2 months to induce stress and then irrigated regularly.
3. Ringing the branches or root pruning.

Credit: Kalro

 

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