Important fruit crop of temperate region. It belongs to the family Rosaceae. It can be grown at 1,700-2,400m above mean sea-level. Pear fruit is rich source of Protein and Vitamins. due to its wider adaptability of climate and soil pear can be grown in subtropical to temperate regions.

A blooming pear tree bunch of flowers.
In Kenya, Limuru in Central Province is a major pear growing zone due to the cold season that dominates the area. Other regions include Meru, Naivasha, parts of Nyeri, and most parts of western Kenya.

Different cultivars have different chilling requirements. Cultivars with low chilling effect are desired especially in the tropics.

How Long Do Pears Take To Grow In Kenya?

Pears take 3 to 5 years for the tree to start fruiting. Thinning is desirable if the cultivar used is a heavy producer, removing the excess fruit will allow the rest to develop into a good marketable size.

Pears Varieties In Kenya

Most pear cultivars are self-non-fruitful making cross pollination an important factor that will determine good fruit production. Two different varieties should be planted to facilitate cross-pollination to ensure a commercial crop. Plant trees of different varieties within 40 to 50 feet of each other to enable cross-pollination.

Pears Production Per Tree

The fruits should be hand-picked to avoid any damage; a mature tree can produce up to 180 kilograms. For good fruit quality preventative control of pests and diseases is required.

Pears Seedlings In Kenya

Pears seedlings can be purchased at Fruit Africa nurseries or by contacting 0724-559286 / 0790-509684 or 0752-452939

Ecological requirements

Climatic Conditions

Temperatures: Pears flourish in cool regions with temperatures ranging from 150C to 320C. In warm and dry regions, pear farming requires regular irrigation, fertilization, and continuous optimization of pollination.

Rainfall: The plants require moderate and well-distributed rainfall. However, they can be grown under irrigation in dry areas.

Sunshine: Pears require at least 6-8 hours of sunlight especially during flowering and fruit ripening.

Soil requirements:ย The pear tree can do well in different soil types and conditions. One can easily modify soil fertility to attain optimum conditions. Pears are reasonably tolerant to drought and wet soils but cannot withstand flooding which can injure the root system. Good drainage and soil depth will greatly determine if your fruit tree will develop well.

A soil pH of about 6.0 to 7.0 is ideal, due to the fact that the pear tree can tolerate slightly acidic soil. Any fertiliser application programme should be done based on soil and leaf analysis.

Propagation and planting

Pearsย belong to the genus pyrus. The cultivars are not true to type when grown from seed, hence the need for vegetative propagation, most common methods being budding and grafting.

Pears can be grown in temperate zones, subtropics and even in the tropics; it all depends on the type of cultivar used and its adaptability. Pears do require adequate chilling effect for successful fruit bud development.

A spacing of five by six metres, 4ย by 6metres or 8 by 4metres is ideal. Upon land preparation, planting holes with a diameter of 60cm by 60cm and two feet deep should be made. The topsoil should be mixed with well-decomposed manure to enhance soil fertility and aeration.

READ ALSO:   Profitability And The Future Prospects Of Pears Farming In Kenya

Thinning is desirable if the cultivar used is a heavy producer. Removing the excess fruit will allow the rest to develop into a good marketable size.

Pears Spacing and Planting

Spacing of pears is an important factor, especially in commercial pears farming. Poor spacing ruins the entire investment especially the growth and productivity of the trees. A spacing of 5m x 6m, 4m x 6m or 8m x 4m. Upon land preparation, planting holes with a diameter of 60cm by 60 cm and 2 feet deep should be made. The topsoil should be mixed with well-decomposed manure to enhance soil fertility and aeration.

An acre can accommodate between 120 โ€“ 200 trees.

Fertilizer Requirement

Age of the crop

(Year)

Well decomposed cow dung

(in kg)

UREA

(in gm)

SSP

(in gm)

MOP

(in gm)

First to three year10-20100-300200-600150-450
Four to six25-35400-600800-1200600-900
Seven to nine40-60700-9001400-18001050-1350
Ten and above60100020001500

 

Irrigation

A well distributed average rainfall of 75โ€“100cm is required throughout the year for pear cultivation. It needs regular irrigation after transplantation. In summer irrigate crop with 5-7days interval whereas increased irrigation interval to 15days in winter months. In January month stop irrigating trees. Give flood irrigation to bearing tree in summer month it will help to increased fruit quality and size.

Pest and diseases of pears

For good fruit quality, preventative control of pests and diseases is required. The common diseases and pests include; scab, rust, black spot, fire blight, root rot, powdery mildew, fruit flies, aphids and red spider mites. Diseases include powdery mildew, collar rot, crown and root rot and fire blight.

If the diseases are not controlled, the infected trees become weak and unproductive. It is advisable to contact your extension officer for proper diagnosis and recommendation.

ย Maturity and harvesting

Pearsย take three to five years for the tree to start fruiting. However, grafted varieties can start bearing two years after planting. The fruits should be hand-picked to avoid any damage.

Output

The average yield for a mature tree varies depending on the ecological conditions and its management. A mature tree can produce up to 180 kilograms of fruit.

==

Success Story Ofย  A Pears Farmer In Limuru Kenya

Byย KIHIU IRIMU

pears farming in kenya seedlings

The tall tree spreads its dark green-leafed branches wide, outgrowing its stem to form a broad base with a pointed top looking like a gigantic hut in the middle of a garden.

Its enormity exerts such magnetic pull on countless plants that jostle for space under the warmth of its caring wings.

The 80 pears trees surrounded by thick undergrowth on Karanja Mirariโ€™s eight acres at Bibirioni near Limuru make the farm ever-green.

โ€œUnlike other huge trees suffocating smaller plants, pears flourish interdependently with other crops, especially napier grass, maize, potatoes, vegetables and carrots,โ€ Mirari tells me as we savour the beauty of the farm.

Pears, the deciduous tree that grows up to 60ft tall and produces brownish fruit with sweet fleshy white inside with small hard seeds, was first introduced in Kenya from the UK in the cool climatic area of Limuru by Christian missionaries in the 1920s.

โ€œWe grew up seeing, eating it and feeding the cows with it only to realise its real value beyond the homestead about 10 years ago,โ€ recalls Mirari.

But as urban population grew, its demand increased, yet land demarcation into smaller plots stood on the way of the farmers who would have grown it in plenty. Community lost interest in growing it, leading to slow decline and in some areas near-extinction of the once ubiquitous pear tree because need for money saw most of the land set aside for carrots and cabbages that take shorter time to harvest.

The price of a fruit that weighs 250g has risen from 50 cents to Sh10 in the last five years and it can fetch up to Sh15 in warmer areas like Kajiado, Machakos and Mombasa, a fact which the Kimende agricultural extension officer Alex Njenga says is not acknowledged by local farmers who have formed cooperatives to cut off brokers who handle 90 per cent of their produce.

From each of the 80 trees, Karanja, 62, harvests between 100 and 200 quality fruits between February and April. He is a direct beneficiary of the rising demand for the fruit in Nairobi, Nakuru and other towns which has seen aggressive buyers roaming the farms โ€œeven before the fruits ripen offering varying pricesโ€. But Karanja calls various contacts to get the prevailing prices before settling on any offer.

Like other farmers, Karanja offers wholesale price to cut down on the costs of labour for pickers, packaging the transport to towns and the headache of looking for the market or having to return the fruits to farm if they are not bought.

โ€œI get about Sh100,000 per harvest from all the trees. The harvests come after every five or so weeks within February to April. We agree with the buyer to select only the ripe fruits,โ€ says Karanja, who has been growing the crop for 10 years.

Apart from Bibirioni, pears also do well in Kimende, Molo, Limuru, Buchi and some parts of Murangโ€™a.

Mirari, a retired education officer who worked at the Museums of Kenya and the author of Biological Techniques published by ICIPE Press and Appreciating Evaluation (Kenya Institute of Education), says pears have opened the eyes of the local community to fruit farming.

The former member of the board of the Commonwealth Museums, now in full-time farming, grows other crops and keeps dairy cows on the farm but rates pears highly โ€œfor offering me the much-needed consistent income every year after retirementโ€.

Bibirioni is also a beehive of activity for the youth who get casual jobs to harvest pears at Sh400 per day. โ€œOver 2,000 youth converge in Bibirioni in the harvest period to earn a living,โ€ says Mirari.

Pears, which are planted from seedlings and take four years to mature, can remain productive for 40 years. They require little care. They only need occasional spraying to control bacteria.

 

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