Persimmon farming has gained popularity in Kenya in recent years due to its high demand in both local and international markets. Persimmon (Diospyros kaki) is a fruit tree that originated from China, and it is now widely grown in various parts of the world, including Kenya.

persimmon farming in kenya fruit
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Persimmon farming is a profitable venture in Kenya, and with proper cultivation practices, farmers can obtain high yields and increase their income. The demand for persimmon fruits is increasing both locally and internationally, making it a promising investment for farmers. However, farmers need to practice proper pest and disease management and post-harvest handling to ensure that the fruits are of high quality and meet market standards.

Varieties Of Persimmon in Kenya

There are several persimmon varieties that are suitable for cultivation in Kenya, including:

  1. Fuyu: This is a non-astringent variety that is oval or round in shape and has a yellow-orange color when ripe. It is firm and crunchy when ripe and is suitable for fresh consumption, processing, and export.
  2. Hachiya: This is an astringent variety that is cone-shaped and has a deep orange color when ripe. It is soft and juicy when ripe and is suitable for processing into jams, jellies, and other products.
  3. Sharon: This is a non-astringent variety that is round in shape and has a deep orange color when ripe. It is sweet and juicy when ripe and is suitable for fresh consumption, processing, and export.
  4. Jiro: This is a non-astringent variety that is round or slightly oblong in shape and has a deep orange color when ripe. It is sweet and juicy when ripe and is suitable for fresh consumption, processing, and export.
  5. Saijo: This is an astringent variety that is round in shape and has a deep orange color when ripe. It is soft and juicy when ripe and is suitable for processing into jams, jellies, and other products.

Farmers can choose the variety that best suits their needs and market demands.

Conditions Suitable For Persimmon Farming In Kenya

Persimmon farming requires a warm and humid climate with a minimum temperature of 15ยฐC and a maximum temperature of 35ยฐC. The tree grows well in areas with an altitude of between 500 to 2000 meters above sea level. The ideal soil for persimmon farming is well-drained sandy or loamy soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5.

Some of the key growing conditions that farmers need to consider when cultivating persimmon in Kenya include:

  1. Climate: Persimmon trees thrive in areas with a warm and temperate climate. Temperatures between 20 and 35ยฐC are ideal for persimmon growth and fruit development. In areas with high temperatures, farmers should provide adequate shade to protect the trees from direct sunlight.
  2. Soil: Persimmon trees grow best in well-drained, deep soils that are rich in organic matter. The soil should have a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5 for optimal growth. Soil testing is recommended to determine the soil’s nutrient content and pH level.
  3. Water: Persimmon trees require consistent and adequate moisture throughout the growing season. Irrigation is essential, especially during the dry season. The trees should be watered deeply, and the soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged.
  4. Fertilization: Persimmon trees require balanced fertilization to ensure proper growth and fruit development. A soil test can help farmers determine the appropriate fertilizer application rates. In general, persimmon trees require nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in balanced proportions.
  5. Pest and disease control: Persimmon trees are susceptible to various pests and diseases, such as fruit flies, mealybugs, and anthracnose. Farmers should implement integrated pest management strategies to control these pests and diseases.
  6. Pruning: Persimmon trees require annual pruning to maintain their shape and size and promote fruiting. Pruning should be done during the dormant season to remove dead or damaged branches and thin out the canopy.

Farmers need to ensure that the persimmon trees receive the appropriate growing conditions for optimal growth and fruit development. Proper soil preparation, irrigation, fertilization, pest, and disease control, and pruning are critical factors for successful persimmon farming in Kenya.

Suitable Regions To Grow Persimmon In Kenya

Persimmon farming can be successful in various regions of Kenya, as long as the climatic and soil conditions are suitable. However, some of the most suitable regions for persimmon farming in Kenya include:

  1. Central Kenya: This region is known for its fertile volcanic soils and cool temperatures, making it suitable for persimmon farming. Areas such as Nyeri, Kiambu, and Murangโ€™a are ideal for persimmon farming.
  2. Rift Valley: This region has a warm and dry climate, which is suitable for persimmon farming. Areas such as Nakuru, Naivasha, and Eldoret are ideal for persimmon farming.
  3. Coastal region: This region has a warm and humid climate, which is suitable for persimmon farming. Areas such as Malindi, Mombasa, and Kilifi are ideal for persimmon farming.
  4. Western region: This region has a warm and wet climate, which is suitable for persimmon farming. Areas such as Kakamega, Kisumu, and Busia are ideal for persimmon farming.

Farmers should choose the growing region that best suits their needs and the specific variety of persimmon they want to grow. It is important to note that proper cultivation practices such as irrigation, fertilization, pest, and disease control are crucial for successful persimmon farming in any region.

Propagation and Planting

Persimmon trees can be propagated through seeds or grafting. However, grafting is the most preferred method since it ensures that the tree grows true to the desired variety. The best time to plant persimmon trees is during the rainy season when the soil is moist.

The plant population per acre for persimmon farming in Kenya depends on the planting density and spacing of the trees. The recommended planting density and spacing may vary depending on the variety, soil type, and climatic conditions.

In general, persimmon trees should be spaced at a distance of 4-6 meters between rows and 3-4 meters between trees within a row. This translates to a planting density of about 400-700 trees per acre.

However, the planting density and spacing can be adjusted depending on the specific growing conditions and management practices. Higher planting densities can increase the yield per unit area, but may require more intensive management practices such as pruning and fertilization.

Farmers should consult with local agricultural experts and consider the potential benefits and costs of different planting densities and spacing to determine the most suitable plant population per acre for their persimmon farming operation.

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Here is a step-by-step guide for persimmon farming in Kenya:

  1. Site selection: Choose a suitable site that has well-drained, fertile soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5. The site should have access to adequate water and be free from pests and diseases.
  2. Land preparation: Clear the land of any weeds, rocks, or debris. Plow and harrow the soil to a depth of about 30cm. Add organic matter such as compost or manure to improve soil fertility.
  3. Variety selection: Choose a suitable persimmon variety that is well-adapted to the local growing conditions and market demand.
  4. Planting: Plant persimmon seedlings or grafted trees during the rainy season. Dig planting holes that are about 50cm deep and wide. Add fertilizer to the planting holes and mix it with soil. Plant the seedlings or grafted trees in the holes, making sure that the graft union is above the soil level. Water the seedlings or grafted trees immediately after planting.
  5. Irrigation: Irrigate the persimmon trees regularly to ensure adequate moisture throughout the growing season. Use drip irrigation or sprinkler irrigation to conserve water and prevent soil erosion.
  6. Fertilization: Apply fertilizer to the persimmon trees at the beginning of the rainy season and during the fruiting season. Use a balanced fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the appropriate proportions.
  7. Pruning: Prune the persimmon trees annually to promote growth and fruiting. Prune during the dormant season to remove dead or damaged branches and thin out the canopy.
  8. Pest and disease control: Implement integrated pest management strategies to control pests and diseases. Use cultural practices such as pruning and sanitation to prevent pest and disease infestations.
  9. Harvesting: Harvest persimmon fruits when they are fully ripe and have a deep orange color. Pick the fruits carefully by hand to avoid damaging the skin. Persimmons can be stored for up to two weeks in a cool and dry place.
  10. Marketing: Market the persimmon fruits to local and international markets. Follow the required quality standards and regulations for export.

Persimmon farming in Kenya requires proper site selection, land preparation, variety selection, planting, irrigation, fertilization, pruning, pest and disease control, harvesting, and marketing. By following these steps, farmers can achieve high yields of high-quality persimmon fruits.

Cultivation Practices

Weeding should be done regularly to prevent competition for nutrients and water. Mulching should also be done to retain soil moisture and suppress weed growth. Persimmon trees require regular irrigation, especially during the dry season, to ensure that the soil is moist at all times. Fertilizers should also be applied to promote healthy growth and higher yields.

Cost Of Persimmon Production Per Acre In Kenya

The cost of production per acre for persimmon farming in Kenya can vary depending on several factors such as the size of the farm, variety, planting density, input costs, labor costs, and management practices. Here is a general breakdown of the cost of production per acre for persimmon farming:

  1. Land preparation: KES 20,000-35,000 per acre
  • Includes clearing the land, plowing, and harrowing
  1. Planting: KES 80,000-250,000 per acre
  • Includes seedlings or grafted trees, fertilizer, and labor costs
  1. Irrigation: KES 10,000-50,000 per acre
  • Includes drip irrigation system installation, water pumps, and water storage tanks
  1. Fertilization: KES 20,000-25,000 per acre
  • Includes purchase of fertilizer and labor costs
  1. Pruning and maintenance: KES 15,000-20,000 per acre
  • Includes labor costs for annual pruning, pest and disease control, and general maintenance
  1. Harvesting and marketing: KES 25,000-30,000 per acre
  • Includes labor costs for fruit picking and sorting, packaging, and transport to the market

The total cost of production per acre for persimmon farming in Kenya can range from KES 180,000-350,000, depending on the specific inputs and labor costs. However, it is important to note that these are just rough estimates and the actual cost of production may vary depending on the specific circumstances and market conditions.

To optimize profits, farmers should implement efficient management practices, optimize input use, and explore potential cost-saving measures such as group marketing and input sharing.

Profitability Of Persimmon Farming Per Acre In Kenya

The profitability of persimmon farming in Kenya per acre can vary depending on several factors such as the market demand, yield, input costs, and selling price. Here is a breakdown of the profitability per acre for persimmon farming in Kenya:

  1. Yield: Persimmon trees begin to produce fruit in the third or fourth year after planting, with full production being achieved by the fifth year. The yield of persimmon fruit per tree per year can vary depending on several factors such as the age and size of the tree, the variety of persimmon, growing conditions, climate, and cultural practices. Generally, a mature persimmon tree can produce around 400-1000 of fruit per year. However, some varieties may produce more or less than this range. It is also important to note that the yield can fluctuate from year to year due to weather conditions, pests, and diseases.
  2. Market demand: The demand for persimmons in the domestic and international markets has been steadily increasing due to their nutritional value and health benefits. The price of persimmons can vary depending on the market demand, seasonality, and quality.
  3. Input costs: As mentioned earlier, the cost of production per acre for persimmon farming can range from KES 180,000-350,000, depending on the specific inputs and labor costs.
  4. Selling price: The selling price of persimmons can vary depending on the market demand, quality, and seasonality. In Kenya, the average price of persimmons ranges from KES 80-120 per pc.

Based on the above factors, the profitability per acre for persimmon farming in Kenya can be calculated as follows:

Example: Assuming a persimmon farmer has an acre of land with 500 trees, each producing an average of 600 fruits per year. The farmer invests KES 180,000 in inputs and labor costs per acre. The average selling price of persimmons in the market is KES 100 per pc.

Total yield per acre: 500 trees x 600 fruits per tree = 300,000 Fruits, Total revenue per acre: 300,000 kg x KES 100 per kg = KES 30,000,000 Total input costs per acre: KES 180,000 Total profit per acre: KES 30,000,000 – KES 180,000 = KES 29,820,000

From the above calculation, the farmer can potentially make a profit of KES 29,820,000 per acre. However, it is important to note that this is just a rough estimate and the actual profitability may vary depending on the specific circumstances and market conditions.

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To optimize profitability, farmers should implement efficient management practices, optimize input use, and explore potential market opportunities. They should also stay updated with market trends and adjust their production and marketing strategies accordingly.

Pest and Disease Management

The most common pests that attack persimmon trees are fruit flies, thrips, and mealybugs. The pests can be controlled through the use of insecticides or by practicing cultural control methods such as removing infested fruits and pruning infested branches. The most common diseases that affect persimmon trees are anthracnose, leaf spot, and root rot. Fungicides can be used to control these diseases, and it is also advisable to practice proper sanitation and remove infected plant parts.

Here are some common pests and diseases that affect persimmon trees and how to control them:

Pests:

  1. Mealybugs: These insects feed on the sap of the tree, causing leaf discoloration and stunted growth. They also produce a sticky substance called honeydew that attracts other pests. Control: Use insecticides or apply insecticidal soap directly on the affected areas. Prune and dispose of any infested branches.
  2. Thrips: These insects feed on the leaves and buds of the tree, causing leaf discoloration and deformation. Control: Use insecticides or apply insecticidal soap directly on the affected areas. Prune and dispose of any infested branches.
  3. Scale insects: These insects feed on the sap of the tree and can cause yellowing of leaves, branch dieback, and reduced fruit production. Control: Use insecticides or apply insecticidal soap directly on the affected areas. Prune and dispose of any infested branches.

Diseases:

  1. Anthracnose: This fungal disease causes brown, sunken lesions on leaves, fruits, and twigs. Control: Remove any infected branches and dispose of them. Apply fungicides to the tree according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Powdery mildew: This fungal disease causes a white powdery coating on the leaves and fruits of the tree. Control: Remove any infected branches and dispose of them. Apply fungicides to the tree according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Bacterial leaf spot: This bacterial disease causes dark, water-soaked lesions on the leaves and fruits of the tree. Control: Remove any infected branches and dispose of them. Apply copper-based fungicides to the tree according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

It is important to follow the instructions on any chemical products carefully and use personal protective equipment when handling them. Additionally, it is recommended to practice good sanitation by removing any infected plant material and keeping the area around the tree clean and free from debris. Regularly inspecting the tree for any signs of pests or diseases can help to prevent and control outbreaks.

Fertilizer and Spray Program

Fertilizer Program:

A well-balanced fertilizer program is essential for the healthy growth of persimmon trees. The following is a general guide for fertilizing persimmon trees:

  1. Before planting: Incorporate well-rotted organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, into the soil. This will provide nutrients and improve soil structure.
  2. First year: Apply 1-2 pounds of a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, in the spring when the new growth begins. Repeat the application in the summer after the fruit has set.
  3. Second year: Apply 2-3 pounds of a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, in the spring when the new growth begins. Repeat the application in the summer after the fruit has set.
  4. Third year and beyond: Apply 4-6 pounds of a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, in the spring when the new growth begins. Repeat the application in the summer after the fruit has set.

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying fertilizer and to avoid over-fertilizing, which can lead to excessive vegetative growth and reduced fruit production.

Spray Program:

A spray program can help to prevent and control pests and diseases that can damage persimmon trees. The following is a general guide for spraying persimmon trees:

  1. Dormant spray: Apply a copper-based fungicide to the tree during the dormant season to control fungal diseases.
  2. Early season spray: Apply a fungicide and insecticide to the tree in the spring before new growth begins to control pests and diseases.
  3. Mid-season spray: Apply a fungicide and insecticide to the tree in mid-summer when the fruit is developing to control pests and diseases.
  4. Late season spray: Apply a fungicide and insecticide to the tree in late summer after the fruit has been harvested to prevent overwintering pests and diseases.

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying pesticides and to use personal protective equipment when handling them. Additionally, it is recommended to rotate the types of pesticides used to prevent pests and diseases from developing resistance. Regularly inspecting the tree for any signs of pests or diseases can also help to prevent and control outbreaks.

Harvesting and Post-Harvest Handling

Persimmon fruits are ready for harvesting when they turn orange-red in color and become slightly soft to the touch. The fruits should be harvested carefully to avoid bruising, which can lead to spoilage during storage and transportation. Persimmons have a short shelf life, and they should be stored at temperatures between 0ยฐC and 10ยฐC to extend their shelf life. They can also be processed into various products such as jams, jellies, and dried fruits.

Market For Persimmon In Kenya

The local market for persimmons in Kenya is growing, with more consumers becoming aware of the health benefits of the fruit. Major supermarkets in urban centers such as Nairobi and Mombasa now stock persimmons, and there is also a growing demand for the fruit in local farmers’ markets. Additionally, there are opportunities to sell persimmons to hotels, restaurants, and other foodservice providers.

Internationally, there is a high demand for persimmons, particularly in Asian countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea. Kenya can take advantage of this growing market by exporting high-quality persimmons to these countries. The fruit has a relatively long shelf life and can be transported over long distances, making it a viable export crop.

To succeed in the persimmon market in Kenya, farmers should focus on producing high-quality fruit that meets the standards of both local and international markets. This involves using good farming practices, such as proper pruning, fertilization, and pest control, as well as harvesting the fruit at the right time and handling it carefully to prevent damage. Farmers should also invest in marketing their products to increase awareness and demand for persimmons.

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Overall, the persimmon market in Kenya is promising, and with the right farming practices and marketing strategies, farmers can capitalize on the growing demand for this nutritious and flavorful fruit.

Uses Of Persimmon

Persimmons have been enjoyed for their flavor and nutritional benefits for centuries. Here are some of the main uses of persimmons:

  1. Eating fresh: Persimmons can be eaten fresh and are commonly consumed as a healthy snack or dessert. When ripe, the fruit has a soft texture and a sweet, slightly tangy flavor.
  2. Cooking: Persimmons can be used in a variety of recipes, including salads, pies, cakes, and other desserts. They can also be used in savory dishes, such as stir-fries and stews.
  3. Drying: Persimmons can be dried and used as a snack or in baking. Dried persimmons are particularly popular in Japan and Korea, where they are used in traditional desserts.
  4. Jam and jelly: Persimmons can be used to make jams and jellies, which can be enjoyed on toast or used as a topping for yogurt or ice cream.
  5. Juice: Persimmons can be juiced and enjoyed as a refreshing drink. The juice can also be used in cocktails and smoothies.
  6. Wine: Persimmons can be used to make wine, which has a unique flavor and is popular in some regions of the world.
  7. Medicinal uses: Persimmons have been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including diarrhea, coughs, and sore throats. The fruit is also rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, which may offer health benefits.

Overall, persimmons are a versatile fruit that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Whether eaten fresh, cooked, dried, or used in beverages, jams, and jellies, persimmons offer a sweet and nutritious addition to any diet.

Frequently Asked Questions On Persimmon Farming In Kenya

Here are some common frequently asked questions about persimmon farming in Kenya with detailed answers:

  1. What is persimmon? A: Persimmon is a fruit tree that produces orange or red fruits with a sweet, slightly tangy flavor.
  2. What are the main varieties of persimmon? A: The main varieties of persimmon are astringent and non-astringent. Astringent persimmons are high in tannins and are usually eaten when fully ripe and soft. Non-astringent persimmons have lower tannin levels and can be eaten when still firm.
  3. What are the ideal growing conditions for persimmon? A: Persimmons thrive in a warm, humid climate with well-drained, fertile soil. They require full sun exposure and regular irrigation.
  4. How long does it take for a persimmon tree to bear fruit? A: It takes approximately 3-4 years for a persimmon tree to bear fruit.
  5. What is the average lifespan of a persimmon tree? A: Persimmon trees can live up to 60 years or more with proper care and maintenance.
  6. How do you propagate persimmon trees? A: Persimmon trees can be propagated by seeds, cuttings, or grafting.
  7. What is the best time to plant persimmon trees? A: The best time to plant persimmon trees is in the early spring, after the last frost.
  8. How far apart should persimmon trees be planted? A: Persimmon trees should be planted at least 3-4m apart to allow enough space for growth.
  9. How much water do persimmon trees need? A: Persimmon trees require regular irrigation, especially during the growing season. They need about 1-2 inches of water per week.
  10. What kind of fertilizer should be used for persimmon trees? A: Persimmon trees require a balanced fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. A recommended fertilizer application for mature trees is 300 grams of NPK 17:17:17 per tree per year.
  11. How often should persimmon trees be fertilized? A: Persimmon trees should be fertilized three times a year, during the first, third, and fifth months after planting.
  12. How do you prune persimmon trees? A: Persimmon trees should be pruned in the late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Prune away any dead, damaged, or diseased branches and thin out overcrowded branches to improve airflow and sunlight penetration.
  13. What are the common pests and diseases of persimmon trees? A: The common pests of persimmon trees are mealybugs, thrips, and scale insects, while the common diseases include anthracnose, powdery mildew, and bacterial leaf spot.
  14. How can you control pests and diseases in persimmon trees? A: Pests and diseases in persimmon trees can be controlled by using insecticides and fungicides. It is important to follow the instructions on the labels carefully and use personal protective equipment when handling chemicals.
  15. When is the best time to harvest persimmons? A: Persimmons should be harvested when they are fully ripe and have a deep color. Astringent persimmons should be left on the tree until they are soft and mushy, while non-astringent persimmons can be harvested when still firm.
  16. How should persimmons be stored after harvest? A: Persimmons should be stored in a cool, dry place at room temperature for up to one week. They can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to one Month.
  1. How are persimmons typically consumed? A: Persimmons can be eaten fresh, dried, or used in baking and cooking. They are often used in jams, jellies, and baked goods like cakes and pies.
  2. What is the yield of a mature persimmon tree? A: A mature persimmon tree can yield up to 1000 fruits per year.
  3. What is the market demand for persimmons? A: Persimmons are a popular fruit in many countries, especially in Asia. The demand for persimmons has been steadily increasing in recent years due to their health benefits and unique flavor.
  4. What are the benefits of persimmons? A: Persimmons are high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C. They also contain high levels of potassium and iron, which can help to regulate blood pressure and prevent anemia.

FOR PERSIMMON SEEDLINGS IN KENYA, CONTACT 0724-559286

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