The Truth behind successful Fruit Farming in Kenya

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Talking of fruit farming in Kenya, I will take you through a journey that highlights the facts behind being a successful fruit farmer in Kenya.

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, you’ve probably heard this saying which would sound alien if fruit farming in Kenya wasn’t embraced.

This exciting journey touches on the seasons, methods, market trends, and fruit varieties that you need to have at the back of your mind when considering to do fruit farming.

It’s my expectation that at the end of the article you will be in an authoritative position to dictate the determinants of successful fruit farming in Kenya.

To take us straight into the venture I will start by first touching on the benefits of fruits.

A Guide to Fruit Farming in Kenya

Benefits of Fruits

Actually, fruits have many benefits that are appreciated based on one’s circumstance at the time of need.

To touch on a few but important uses of fruits  I have highlighted low unique benefits that fruits offer Kenyans below. Have a look!

1.Health Benefits

Well, Unlike nutritional tablets that may be forced down the throats, fruits are sweeter and enjoyable to eat besides restoring our health without leaving any side effects. Fruits are known to reduce heart diseases.

2.The growth of Kenya’s GDP

Most importantly fruit farming does contribute to the growth of the Kenyan economy.

By 2015,  fruit farming in Kenya recorded a 20% increase in production and had a total value of money worth  5.4 billion shillings.

People also read: The Ultimate guide to Livestock Farming in Kenya

Considering to do fruit farming in Kenya?

So, are you a Kenyan fruit farmer or planning to try this venture? If so then keep reading because you stand to acquire knowledge on how to reap fortunes.

Of course, no entrepreneur would want to put their money in a venture that they don’t understand well. And Fruit farming is no different.

Therefore, when fruit entrepreneurs access the right information about the type of products they are about to venture then they are able to ease any tension from the word Go.

Below are  five points that will make you confident as fruit farming stakeholder in  Kenyan  :

Fruits from Kenya are in high demand abroad.

Do you know that there was a recorded 14% increase in fruit exports from Kenya to other parts of the global market be between 2016 to 2017?

And that this trend reflected in billions of Kenyan money? Well, the above statistic should tell you as a fruit farming stakeholder that indeed Kenya is the place to put your money. This is because  Kenya has favorable weather to grow varieties of fruits to meet international standards.

Fruit farming in Kenya is a deal that any stakeholder should opt.

There is a growing appetite for fruits in Kenyan towns

Migration of  Kenyans to towns every day is ballooning and the struggle for space in Kenyan urban centers is very competitive.

Space for farming in Kenyan towns is thus shrinking paving way for commercial plots.

But with all the shrinking space for farming in urban towns, there is still a serious need for food,  mostly fruits. This need is projected to widen even further in the future since Kenya’s future generations will majorly live in towns.

Therefore, a wise stakeholder should consider investing in fruit farming in rural Kenya. Where more fertile land is available cheap and in this way, a stakeholder stands a chance to reap big money.

Must read: Understanding Crop Farming in Kenya (Complete Guide )

In Kenya, Fruits can be sold in any quantity

You can sell one apple to one tonne. It all 2 depends on the ability of the customer to pay.

Hence investing money in fruit farming business in Kenya is advantageous. you access a diverse market.

you can sell one fruit to an individual and equally one tonne to a big company. Depending on your harvest. This increases your revenue flow faster.

The Kenyan weather is conducive for  a variety of fruits to thrive

A fruit farming stakeholder in Kenya has spoilt options on the type of fruits to venture in. Depending on their investment plan.

This is because  Kenya’s weather and terrain can accommodate different types of fruits to better yields. For instance :

Central, Rift Valley and Western parts of Kenya have one of the natural weather patterns (cool and humid ) to enable a variety of fruits to flourish. These areas can support :

  • passion fruits
  • pears
  • pawpaws
  • watermelons
  • oranges
  • pineapples

On the other hand, Eastern parts of Kenya like Ukambani, Coast and Northern parts like Garissa have hot or dry weather that can support the efficient growth of :

  • mangoes
  • and dates.

The strategic weather in Kenya is an assurance for better yields depending on the type of fruits designated for a particular paying market.

There are enough   Fruit juice companies in Kenya to buy your yields

Are you a stakeholder interested in large-scale fruit farming but skeptical about whether there will be a ready or sufficient market engagement?

Well,  fruit farming stakeholders out there be assured that there are hundreds of both small scale and large scale fruit juice companies in Kenya.

These companies are Continuously seeking fruit suppliers in order to meet the appetites of the growing Kenyan middle class.

The Competitive edge that Fruits farmed in Kenya boast of in the Market

To easily penetrate the Kenyan food market, stakeholders in the fruit business must sharpen their marketing language and understanding too.

In this section, I will take you through six outlines of platforms that can equip one with a better understanding of the fruit marketing field in Kenya.

In order for Kenya  fruit marketing teams to stay ahead of the pack on the continent then they must consider the following important 6 points:

  1. Capitalization of the fact that Kenyan fruits are completely low in fat and calories thereby good for health and well-being.
  2. Insist that the fruits planted in Kenya are moderate in salt and sodium composition. This is great for controlling blood pressure.
  3. Sell the quality that highlights how most fruits from Kenya have enough water to keep bodies hydrated.
  4. Capitalize on the fact that all Kenyan fruits can be packaged with minimum consumed processing compared to other foods. This minimizes the level of chemical exposure to the human body.
  5. Sell the idea that Fruits planted in Kenya are multi-nutrient. A single fruit can have calcium, vitamins, and minerals. Of course with low carbohydrate level. Fruits facilitate an improved diet.
  6. Help their fruit target consumers that Fruits from Kenya are not only easily digestible but also facilitate the digestion process. Which reduces constipation.

The Nitty  -Gritty  surrounding Fruit marketing   in Kenya that you should know 

It will be very hard for any fruit farming investor to thrive in Kenya if the correct information regarding all the fruit farming marketing platforms is not mastered.

And as such, I will not waste any time but to take you through a detailed explanation of key fruit marketing platforms in Kenya that any fruit farm investor should grasp as prescribed in the following four categories.

Category 1:

Saccos and cooperative

This is a fruit marketing trend in Kenya that allows particular small-scale fruit farmers to merge.

These Small-scale fruit farmers combine yields to meet the threshold ability to supply bigger orders like tenders. This is because big fruit tenders would never be supplied by a single small-scale farmer.

The Sacco and Cooperative fruit marketing platform enables smallholder fruit farmers in Kenya to access a ready market that pays well.

Characteristics of Saccos and Cooperatives as a Platform to market fruits in Kenya

  • They have a defined leadership structure that is settled upon after an election.
  • Through them, fruit farmers can concentrate on cultivating farms and leaving the marketing to experts.
  • There is a subscription or registration fee paid by every new member. Old members might be required to pay some contributions after a certain period.
  • Monthly, annual or termly meetings are convened to analyze the process of these fruit  Saccos and Cooperatives.

Category 2

Mobile -Truck marketing

The use of motor vehicles to carry fruit fields from the farm directly to targeted consumers has picked in Kenya.

This method is affordable and serves as a selling platform too.

A small-scale fruit farmer venturing in farming a rare fruit variety will embrace this.

Category 3

Hawking

Some smallholder fruit farmers in Kenya do contract hawkers to market and sell their fruit yields.

This method is effective in reaching customers from informal settlements.

Related: Beginners guide on tomato farming in Kenya

Areas with poor road network coverage have also seen an increase in fruit hawkers.

Hawking is considered unhygienic though.

Category 4

Social media and word of mouth

Social media marketing is becoming the tool to reach out to customers whom to them online marketing has become a natural way to reach them. Kenyan fruit consumers have not been left behind either in this development.

In fact, It’s projected that online marketing will cement its influence e-commerce greatly when more Kenyans migrate online.

Some of the social media platforms that a stakeholder might consider to market fruits include Facebook, Twitter, Whats App and even on YouTube.

Some websites like OLX do promote the marketing of fruits.

Also, word of mouth still spreads the message about sweet fruits available in parts of Kenya.

When a fruit customer is happy they refer others to the fruit vendor.

Methods of fruit farming in Kenya

Before one starts investing in the Kenyan fruit farming business they need to first understand the practical method that works best in planting their type of fruits.

Understanding beforehand of the type of fruit farming methods available ensures the right decisions are employed from the beginning.

Grasping the methods fruit farming methods used gives stakeholders an upper hand.

Some of the popular fruit farming methods in Kenya that new farmers need to brief themselves  include :

  • Fruit farming through Irrigation
  • Greenhouse  fruit farming technique
  • Traditional Fruit farming

Method 1

Fruit farming through greenhouse

Through this method, fruits are controlled to grow at a certain rate and temperature.

Greenhouse farming can take place at a small or large scale level.

Note that this method needs a good investment that might be out of reach to many, however, the yields harvested are worth it.

A unique characteristic of the Greenhouse is that does extend the season for a fruit to grow thereby continuing on growth.

Five  fruits that do well greenhouse

Having hinted out that the greenhouse is an accepted method of fruit farming in Kenya perhaps its important that to mention some of the fruits that exceptionally yield good results in Kenya under the greenhouse . and they are:

  1. watermelon
  2. Lemons
  3. Peach
  4. Berries
  5. Mangoes

Top 3 uses of the Greenhouse in Fruit Farming in Kenya

In case you think that the greenhouse only produces a good atmosphere for fruits to grow at a projected rate than your missing some memo.

Greenhouses do have a number of functions as articulated in the three points below.

  1. Controlling Pests:

Greenhouses are able to inhibit pests from spreading and multiplying. This gives the fruit plants in the greenhouse the right atmosphere to thrive without being troubled by notorious pests.

  1.  Protecting fruits from Diseases

Just as fruits are vulnerable to pests infestations, equally, there is the danger of diseases to affect the fruit plants.

That is why the greenhouse comes to control the temperature so that diseases cannot survive in there.

  1. Shielding  the fruits from severe weather

As you may understand now, the greenhouse does create its own weather that is unique to the apparent needs of the fruit.

So, in this case, when planting fruit plants in a greenhouse you do protect the same seedlings from the severe external weather.

Note: It is advisable to connect with your customers in good time to seek early fruit orders when using the greenhouse fruit farming method. This is because the harvest might be plenty at once.

Method 2

Fruit farming through Irrigation

Irrigation as a method of fruit farming does have its strength that applies to certain weather conditions in Kenya.

Also read: Poultry farming in Kenya.

For example, irrigation as a method of fruit farming is best suited to be applied in dry weather conditions.

It is also important to note that Irrigation majorly takes place large-scale fruit farming.

Some of the top areas that can specialize in irrigating their fruit farms include Turkana, Moyale and other flank areas of Northern Kenya that experience dry weather for the most part of the year.

The above areas can  embrace irrigation to farm fruits like :

  • Pawpaws
  • mangoes
  • Watermelons
Note: A dry area doesn’t mean that the soil is infertile.

Method 3

Traditional Fruit farming

Traditional fruit farming is the most common and oldest method of fruit farming employed in Kenya. This is true because traditional fruit farming is affordable and doesn’t need so much expertise to manage it.

characteristics of traditional fruit farming

  • It can be on a small or large scale level.
  • takes advantage of the good weather and season in the area
  • Fruits can grow naturally.
  • Prone to pest and other preys
  • Vulnerable to diseases

Analyzing the Kenyan fruit taste

In order to survive the market competition in the Kenyan fruit business stakeholders must be braced with up to date details on what Kenyans look while shopping their grocery.    I have suggested the following questions to ask when analyzing the Kenyan fruit environment

  1. Which fruits are liked by Kenyans?
  2. What is the best months do the liked fruits do well?
  3. which months is there fruit scarcity?

After getting answers to the above three question quickly make decisions that revolve around supply, demand, and market.

Nine Fruits that are most liked in Kenya (Consumed)

  1. Pawpaw
  2. Bananas
  3. Mangoes
  4. Oranges
  5. Watermelons
  6. Lemons
  7. Apples
  8. Avocados
  9. Pineapples

Pawpaws

A kilo of pawpaws goes between 30-200 shillings depending on where you are based and are shopping in Kenya.

Characteristics of pawpaws

  • Sweet
  • can be watery or dry
  • inside is Yellow in color
  • Takes 2- 8 years to give fruit from the seed

Health Benefits of Pawpaws

  • Builds ones immunity against infections
  • Improves eyesight
  • Reduces menstrual pain
  • prevents constipation

Bananas

One single ripe banana can range from 10 to 120 shillings. Depending on where you are in Kenya. And the season of the day.

Related: Understanding Crop Farming in Kenya.

Characteristics of Bananas

  • Curved body
  • soft inner flesh
  • slippery outer skin
  • Grows on branches of a banana tree

Health Benefits of Bananas

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • reduces heart disease

Mangoes

A  single mango can fetch 10-40 shillings depending on the area and season in Kenya.

Characteristics of mangoes

  • Ripe ones are yellow
  • Have a good fragrance
  • Take three to four years to mature

Health Benefits

  • Prevents asthma
  • softens skin and hair

Oranges

One orange cost between 5- 20 shillings based on the part of the Kenya and season at hand.

Characteristics of Oranges

  • Round
  • Juicy
  • Orange (mostly).

Health Benefits of mangoes

  • Vitamin C Content
  • Boosts immunity
  • Prevents skin damage
  • Controls blood sugar level
  • lowers cholesterol

Watermelon

Mostly you will find a watermelon is cut into pieces that are sold at around  20 shillings in Kenyan towns.

Some large watermelon could cost you 200-500 Kenya shillings.

Characteristics of watermelons

  • Red  soft Flesh
  • Hard Green cover
  • Watery
  • Tasty

Health Benefits of watermelons

  • Hydrates the body
  • Relieves muscle soreness
  • Help reduce cholesterol

Lemons

A single lemon can coat 10-20 shillings. Depending on the season and region of the country.

Characteristics of lemons

  • Green or yellow at maturity.
  • Have a sour taste.

Health Benefits of lemons

  • Provides vitamin C
  • aids digestion
  • prevents kidney stones

Apples

A single apple will cost you 20-40 shillings. Based on where you are buying and the season.

Characteristics of the apple

  • Can be green or red
  • Get  crunchy  when eaten
  • Round

Health Benefits of the apple

  • Rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants
  • Reduce the risk of developing cancer, diabetes, and hypertension

People also read: A Complete Review of Poultry Farming in Kenya

Avocados

For a  single avocado, you will have to pay 10-60 shillings.  Based on your location and season at hand.

Characteristics of avocados

  • Shapes vary from long, slender to round
  • Colors range from dark, green and red

Health Benefits of avocados

  • Rich in fiber
  • Reduces cholesterol and fat

Understanding the  Kenyan fruit farming market dynamics like which type of fruits are mostly eaten by Kenyans, what seasons do fruits do better in Kenya as well as the most appropriate methods for fruit planting in Kenya will ensure that you as an interested fruit farming stakeholders in Kenya will invest rightly.

Kenya being a competitive country to do business, one must do serious research early enough on which marketing plan works.

I wish you a successful fruit farming venture in Kenya.

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