Rosemary Farming In Kenya: Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is an evergreen herb that belongs to the mint family. Its leaves have a pungent, resinous aroma and a slightly bitter taste. Rosemary has a long history of culinary and medicinal use and is commonly used as a flavoring agent in food and beverages, as well as a fragrance in cosmetics and perfumes.

rosemary farming in kenya money

In Kenya, rosemary farming has become an increasingly popular agricultural activity due to the herb’s high demand both locally and internationally. Rosemary farming is a profitable venture that can be carried out in various parts of Kenya, especially in areas with well-draining soil and adequate rainfall.

Varieties of Rosemary In Kenya

There are several rosemary varieties that are suitable for cultivation in Kenya. Some of the most popular varieties include:

  1. Tuscan Blue: This variety of rosemary has dark green leaves and blue flowers. It is a vigorous grower and can reach a height of up to 6 feet.
  2. Arp: The Arp variety of rosemary is a hardy plant that is resistant to cold temperatures. It has gray-green leaves and pale blue flowers.
  3. Salem: The Salem variety of rosemary has dark green leaves and blue flowers. It is a slow grower and is ideal for cultivation in small gardens.
  4. Barbeque: The Barbeque variety of rosemary has dark green leaves and blue flowers. It is a compact plant that is ideal for container gardening.

Best Growing Zones For Rosemary Farming In Kenya

Rosemary is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. It can be grown in various zones, depending on the climate and soil type. In this article, we will discuss the best growing zones for rosemary.

  1. Zones 7-10

Rosemary thrives in warm and sunny climates and is best suited for growing in zones 7-10. These zones have mild to warm temperatures throughout the year, with long summers and mild winters. In these zones, rosemary can be grown as a perennial and can reach up to 6 feet in height.

  1. Zones 5-6

Rosemary can also be grown in zones 5-6, but it may require extra care during the winter months. These zones have colder temperatures, and rosemary may not survive the harsh winter without proper protection. In these zones, rosemary can be grown as an annual or as a perennial in sheltered locations.

Rosemary can be grown in various zones, depending on the climate and soil type. It grows best in zones 7-10 and requires well-draining soil, full sunlight, and moderate watering. By providing the right growing conditions, farmers can achieve optimal plant growth and yield.

Soil Preparation on Rosemary Farming In Kenya

Soil preparation is a crucial step in rosemary farming in Kenya. It ensures that the soil is suitable for planting and that the plants have access to the necessary nutrients for growth and development.

Rosemary requires well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. The ideal soil pH for rosemary cultivation is between 6.0 and 7.0. Before planting, it is recommended to carry out a soil test to determine the nutrient levels and pH of the soil. If the soil pH is too low, lime can be added to increase it. If the soil is too heavy, organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure can be added to improve drainage.

  • Soil testing: The first step in soil preparation is to conduct a soil test to determine the soil’s pH and nutrient levels. This will help determine the necessary amendments needed to improve the soil’s fertility. A soil test should be conducted at least six months before planting to allow for adequate time for soil amendments.
  • Clearing the land: The next step is to clear the land of any weeds, rocks, or debris that may interfere with the planting process. The land should be leveled and well-drained to prevent waterlogging, which can cause root rot and other soil-borne diseases.
  • Adding organic matter: After clearing the land, organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure should be added to the soil. This helps to improve soil structure, fertility, and water-holding capacity. The organic matter should be evenly spread across the land and mixed into the soil to a depth of at least 12 inches.
  • Applying fertilizers: Fertilizers should be applied to the soil to provide the necessary nutrients for plant growth. The type and amount of fertilizer applied will depend on the soil test results and the specific needs of the rosemary plant. A balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is recommended.
  • Mulching: After planting, the land should be mulched with organic material such as hay or straw to conserve soil moisture and suppress weed growth. The mulch layer should be at least 2-3 inches deep and placed around the base of the plants, taking care not to cover the leaves or stems.

Planting Rosemary

Rosemary can be propagated from seeds or cuttings. However, cuttings are the most common method of propagation. Cuttings can be taken from mature rosemary plants and should be at least 4 inches long. The cuttings should be planted in well-draining soil and kept moist until they have developed roots.

Rosemary should be planted in an area that receives full sun and has good air circulation. The plants should be spaced at least 2 feet apart to allow for proper growth and air circulation.

Here are the steps to propagate and plant rosemary using both methods:

Propagation by Stem Cuttings:

  1. Cut a healthy stem of 4-6 inches long from a mature rosemary plant.
  2. Strip off the lower leaves, leaving only a few leaves at the top.
  3. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder to promote root growth.
  4. Insert the cutting into a pot filled with moist soil.
  5. Cover the pot with a plastic bag to create a humid environment and place it in a warm, bright area.
  6. Water the cutting regularly and mist it with water to keep it moist.
  7. After 2-3 weeks, roots will start to develop and new growth will appear. Once the cutting has grown roots and has several leaves, it is ready to be transplanted into a larger pot or directly into the garden.
READ ALSO:   How to Grow Best Chilies for Profit in Kenya

Planting from Seeds:

  1. Start with a high-quality rosemary seed variety suitable for your climate.
  2. Fill a seed tray or small pots with potting soil and sprinkle the seeds over the soil.
  3. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and mist it with water to keep it moist.
  4. Place the tray or pots in a warm, bright area and keep the soil moist.
  5. After 2-3 weeks, the seeds will germinate and small seedlings will appear.
  6. Once the seedlings have developed several sets of leaves, they are ready to be transplanted into larger pots or directly into the garden.

When planting rosemary, choose a well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0-7.5. Rosemary thrives in full sun and needs to be watered regularly, but make sure not to overwater as this can cause root rot. In Kenya, it is best to plant rosemary during the dry season to avoid excess water and to ensure that the plant receives enough sunlight.

Care and Maintenance

Rosemary requires regular watering, especially during the dry season. However, over-watering should be avoided as it can lead to root rot. Mulching can help to retain moisture in the soil and suppress weed growth.

Fertilizer should be applied sparingly, as rosemary does not require high levels of nutrients. Organic fertilizers such as compost or well-rotted manure can be used to supplement soil nutrients.

Pruning is an important aspect of rosemary maintenance. Regular pruning can help to promote bushy growth and prevent the plant from becoming leggy. Pruning should be carried out after the plant has finished flowering.

Pest and Disease Management on Rosemary Farming

Rosemary is generally a hardy plant that is resistant to pests and diseases. However, it can be susceptible to root rot if the soil is too wet. To prevent root rot, it is important to ensure that the soil is well-draining and that the plant is not over-watered.

Rosemary can also be affected by powdery mildew, a fungal disease that appears as a white powdery coating on the leaves. To prevent powdery mildew, it is important to ensure that the plant has good air circulation and is not overcrowded.

Here are some tips to help manage pests and diseases in your rosemary farm:

  1. Plant disease-resistant varieties: Choose rosemary varieties that are resistant to common diseases in your area. This can help prevent the spread of disease in your farm.
  2. Rotate crops: Avoid planting rosemary in the same area year after year. This can help reduce the build-up of soil-borne diseases and pests.
  3. Monitor for pests: Regularly check your rosemary plants for signs of pest infestation such as damage to leaves, stems, or flowers, or the presence of eggs or larvae. Early detection is important for effective pest management.
  4. Use natural predators: Introduce natural predators such as ladybugs or lacewings to control pest populations. These predators can help keep pest populations in check without the use of chemicals.
  5. Practice good sanitation: Keep your farm clean and remove any dead or diseased plant material. This can help prevent the spread of diseases and pests.
  6. Use organic pesticides: If necessary, use organic pesticides to control pest populations. These pesticides are less harmful to beneficial insects and can help protect the environment.

Conditions That Favor Rosemary Farming In Kenya

Rosemary can be grown in various parts of Kenya, but there are specific growing conditions that are suitable for its cultivation.

  1. Climate

Rosemary grows well in areas with a Mediterranean-type climate, which is characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. In Kenya, rosemary is mainly grown in areas with a semi-arid climate, such as the coastal region, parts of Eastern and Northern Kenya, and some parts of the Rift Valley. The temperature range for optimal rosemary growth is between 15 and 30 degrees Celsius, with the ideal temperature being around 20 degrees Celsius.

  1. Water

Rosemary requires moderate water during its growth period. It is important to avoid over-watering, as this can lead to root rot. The amount of water required will depend on the soil type, rainfall pattern, and the stage of growth of the rosemary. In areas with low rainfall, irrigation may be necessary to supplement the water requirements of the rosemary. Drip irrigation is the most recommended irrigation method as it provides water directly to the roots, preventing water wastage and minimizing the risk of fungal diseases.

  1. Light

Rosemary requires full sun exposure to thrive. It should be planted in an area that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. In areas with high temperatures, some partial shade during the hottest parts of the day may be necessary to prevent wilting and sunburn.

  1. Altitude

Rosemary grows well at altitudes of between 0-2000 meters above sea level. In areas with high altitudes, such as the highlands of Central and Western Kenya, rosemary can be grown under irrigation. The lowland areas of the coast and the Eastern parts of Kenya are ideal for rosemary farming due to their semi-arid conditions.

Rosemary farming in Kenya requires specific growing conditions, including a semi-arid climate, well-draining soil, moderate water, full sun exposure, and altitudes of between 0-2000 meters above sea level. Proper care and maintenance practices, such as regular pruning and pest management, are also essential to ensure the success of the crop. With the right growing conditions and good agricultural practices, rosemary farming can be a profitable venture for Kenyan farmers.

Profitability On Rosemary Farming In Kenya

Rosemary has a wide range of uses, including culinary, medicinal, and cosmetic purposes, which makes it a valuable crop for farmers. In this article, we will explore the profitability of rosemary farming in Kenya.

  1. Market demand

The demand for rosemary is high both in Kenya and internationally. The herb is used in various industries such as pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and cosmetic industries. This high demand for rosemary makes it a lucrative crop for farmers, with the potential to earn high profits.

  1. High yields

Rosemary has a high yield potential, with an average of 3-4 tons per acre. The herb has a long lifespan, with each plant producing for up to 10 years, which means that farmers can continue harvesting the crop for an extended period, leading to sustained profits.

  1. Low production costs

Rosemary is a hardy plant that requires minimal inputs, making it a low-cost crop to produce. The herb does not require fertilizers, and only requires moderate water and minimal pest control. Additionally, the use of drip irrigation and conservation farming practices can further reduce production costs.

  1. Price stability

Rosemary prices have remained relatively stable over the years, making it an attractive crop for farmers. The herb’s price is influenced by market demand, but the prices have not fluctuated significantly, providing farmers with stable incomes and predictability in their production.

  1. Access to markets

Kenyan farmers have access to various markets for their rosemary, both locally and internationally. The herb can be sold fresh or dried, and the market is not limited to specific regions or countries. This means that farmers can easily access markets for their produce, increasing the profitability of rosemary farming.

  1. Value addition

Rosemary has various value-added products, including essential oils and extracts, which are high-value products. Value addition can increase the profitability of rosemary farming, as farmers can earn higher prices for their products.

Rosemary farming in Kenya is a profitable venture due to the high market demand, low production costs, stable prices, and access to markets. With good agricultural practices and value addition, farmers can increase their profits and sustain their rosemary farming operations for the long term. Additionally, the government of Kenya has provided various incentives and support programs to promote the growth of the agricultural sector, which farmers can take advantage of to enhance the profitability of their rosemary farming activities.

Costs Involved On Rosemary Farming In Kenya

The cost of investing in rosemary farming per acre in Kenya can vary depending on several factors such as the location of the farm, the cost of inputs, labor, and other factors. However, here is a general breakdown of the cost of setting up a rosemary farm in Kenya:

  1. Land preparation: This involves clearing the land, ploughing, and harrowing. The cost of land preparation can range from Ksh. 15,000 to Ksh. 40,000 per acre.
  2. Seedlings: The cost of seedlings will depend on the variety of rosemary you want to plant. On average, one acre of rosemary will require about 5,000 seedlings. The cost of seedlings ranges from Ksh. 30,000 to Ksh. 60,000 per acre.
  3. Fertilizers and pesticides: The cost of fertilizers and pesticides will depend on the type and quantity required. On average, the cost of fertilizers and pesticides can range from Ksh. 20,000 to Ksh. 30,000 per acre.
  4. Labor: The cost of labor will depend on the size of the farm and the duration of the farming activities. The cost of labor can range from Ksh. 15,000 to Ksh. 30,000 per acre.
  5. Irrigation: If you plan to irrigate your farm, the cost of irrigation equipment and water will depend on the source of water and the equipment required. On average, the cost of irrigation can range from Ksh. 10,000 to Ksh. 50,000 per acre.
READ ALSO:   A simple guide on peach farming in Kenya

Therefore, the total cost of investing in rosemary farming per acre in Kenya can range from Ksh. 100,000 to Ksh. 250,000. It is important to note that these costs are estimates and may vary depending on the specific circumstances of your farm.

Rosemary Production Per Acre

The production per acre in rosemary farming in Kenya can vary depending on several factors such as the type of variety grown, the farming practices used, soil conditions, and climate. However, on average, a well-managed rosemary farm can produce up to 3-4 tons per acre of fresh rosemary leaves annually.

  1. Variety

The choice of variety is an essential factor that determines the productivity of a rosemary farm. In Kenya, two main types of rosemary varieties are commonly grown – the Tuscan Blue and the ARP. The Tuscan Blue variety is known for its high oil content and strong aroma, while the ARP variety is highly resistant to pests and diseases. Farmers can choose a variety that best suits their farming practices and market demand to achieve maximum production per acre.

  1. Farming Practices

Good farming practices such as proper planting, pruning, weeding, and fertilization can significantly increase rosemary production per acre. Farmers should ensure they plant their rosemary in well-drained soil, use organic fertilizers, and manage weeds and pests effectively. Proper pruning techniques should also be used to promote branching and increase yields.

  1. Soil conditions

Rosemary thrives in well-drained soils with a pH range of 6.0-7.5. Soil fertility is essential, and farmers can improve soil health by using organic matter such as compost and animal manure. Additionally, farmers can conduct soil tests to determine the nutrient levels and amend their soil accordingly to optimize production.

  1. Climate

Rosemary grows well in warm and sunny weather conditions, and areas with an altitude range of 1000-2500 meters above sea level. The herb is highly tolerant to drought conditions and requires minimal water, making it suitable for semi-arid areas.

  1. Harvesting

Harvesting practices can also impact rosemary production per acre. Farmers should harvest their rosemary at the right time, usually when the plant is at its flowering stage. This ensures that the plant is at its maximum oil content and quality, leading to higher yields.

Rosemary farming in Kenya has a high potential for production per acre due to its hardiness, low input requirements, and long lifespan. With proper management practices such as variety selection, farming practices, soil conditions, climate, and harvesting, farmers can achieve high yields and profitability in their rosemary farming operations.

Fertilizer Program On Rosemary Farming In Kenya

Fertilizers are an essential input in rosemary farming, as they provide the necessary nutrients for the plant’s growth and development.

  1. Soil testing

Before applying any fertilizers, it is crucial to test the soil to determine its nutrient status. A soil test will help farmers determine the type and amount of fertilizer to apply. Soil testing can be done by taking soil samples and sending them to a certified laboratory for analysis.

  1. Organic fertilizers

Organic fertilizers are an excellent source of nutrients for rosemary plants. Farmers can use animal manure, compost, or green manure to provide the necessary nutrients to the soil. Organic fertilizers improve soil health, increase soil fertility, and reduce soil erosion.

  1. Inorganic fertilizers

Inorganic fertilizers are a common source of nutrients for rosemary plants. Farmers can use fertilizers such as Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) to provide the necessary nutrients to the soil. Inorganic fertilizers can be applied through broadcasting or banding methods.

  1. Fertilizer application

Fertilizers can be applied through different methods, such as broadcasting, banding, or fertigation. Broadcasting involves spreading the fertilizer evenly over the soil surface. Banding involves applying the fertilizer in a narrow band along the row of plants. Fertigation involves applying the fertilizer through the irrigation system.

  1. Fertilizer rates

The fertilizer rate depends on the soil nutrient status, crop stage, and yield target. Farmers need to apply the right amount of fertilizer to avoid over-fertilization, which can lead to environmental pollution and yield reduction. Under-fertilization can also lead to yield reduction and poor plant growth.

  1. Fertilizer timing

The timing of fertilizer application is critical for rosemary plants. Fertilizers should be applied at the right time to avoid nutrient deficiency or toxicity. The first application should be done during land preparation, followed by subsequent applications during the growing season.

  1. Nutrient balance

A balanced fertilizer program is essential for optimal plant growth and yield. Farmers need to provide the right balance of nutrients to the soil to avoid nutrient deficiencies or toxicities. The nutrient balance can be achieved by applying fertilizers with the right ratio of N, P, and K.

A proper fertilizer program is critical for rosemary farming in Kenya. Farmers need to test their soil, apply the right amount and type of fertilizers, and apply them at the right time to achieve optimal plant growth and yield. By implementing a balanced fertilizer program, farmers can maximize their profits and reduce their production costs.

Uses Of Rosemary In Kenya

Rosemary is a popular herb that has been used for centuries for its culinary, medicinal, and therapeutic properties. In this article, we will discuss some of the uses of rosemary.

  1. Culinary uses

Rosemary is commonly used as a culinary herb in many cuisines around the world. It has a unique, pine-like aroma and a slightly bitter taste that complements a variety of dishes. It is used to flavor meats, stews, soups, bread, sauces, and marinades.

  1. Medicinal uses

Rosemary has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. It is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help boost the immune system, improve digestion, and reduce inflammation. It is also used to relieve headaches, improve memory, and reduce stress and anxiety.

  1. Aromatherapy

Rosemary essential oil is a popular ingredient in aromatherapy due to its refreshing and invigorating scent. It is believed to help improve concentration, boost mental clarity, and reduce stress and anxiety. It can be used in diffusers, bath salts, massage oils, and candles.

  1. Skin and hair care

Rosemary has several skin and hair care benefits due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is used in skincare products to reduce acne, soothe dry skin, and reduce wrinkles. It is also used in hair care products to promote hair growth, reduce dandruff, and strengthen hair follicles.

  1. Pest control

Rosemary has insect-repelling properties that make it an effective natural pest control agent. It can be used to repel mosquitoes, flies, and other insects. Rosemary oil can be added to candles, sprays, and diffusers to keep insects away.

Rosemary is a versatile herb that has many uses. It is used in cooking, aromatherapy, skincare, and hair care. It is also used for its medicinal properties and as a natural pest control agent. With its unique aroma and numerous benefits, rosemary is an herb that should be included in every household.

What You Didn’t know regarding rosemary

Did you know that rosemary has been traditionally used for its memory-enhancing properties? The ancient Greeks used to wear rosemary wreaths on their heads while studying for exams to improve their memory and concentration. Recent studies have also suggested that inhaling the essential oil of rosemary can enhance cognitive function and improve mood. Additionally, rosemary has been used for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and can be helpful in managing pain and reducing inflammation in the body.

READ ALSO:   Newbie In Herbs Farming For Export? Why Thyme Is A Sure Bet

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!