What you should know growing groundnuts in Kenya
Groundnuts can do well in many lower regions of Meru where the height is below 1,500 metres above sea level. The crop requires warm climate with temperatures ranging between 25 to 30 degrees Celsius.
Low temperatures, below 15 degrees Celcius and frost delay flowering and seed formation. Rainfall requirements are 500 to 600mm well distributed throughout the growing season for good growth, but the crop is drought-resistant and can survive severe water shortage.
Yields, however, would be reduced especially during pegging (the penetration of young nuts into the soil). Earthing up should be done at the time of weeding to encourage pegging.
The crop requires sandy-free draining soils, however, they can also grow well in heavier clay soils like in Nyanza, Rift Valley and western. Before you grow, plough the land and harrow to a good tilth.
Prepare ridges which are 80 to 120cm apart with flattish tops and plant in two rows on top of the ridge.
Select clean well-filled seeds for planting. Sowing seeds to a depth of 5 to 8cm at a rate of 40 to 50kg per hectare is recommended depending on the seed size. You can grow Red Valencia type maturing in 90 to 100 days or Runner type maturing in 120 to 150 days.
Stockists include Leldet Seeds, Kalro or ICRISAT, where you will get ICGV 90704, ICGV 83708, ICGV 99568, ICGV 12991 and ICGV 90704 varieties. Harvesting in wet condition should be avoided to prevent development of aflatoxin, a severe poison produced by Aspergillus spp of fungus, which releases chemicals dangerous to human health.
You can harvest up to seven to 15 90kg bags per acre depending on your management. It costs between Sh20,000 to Sh30,000 to grow the crop per acre. The market for the produce is unlimited.