Kenya is a country with a diverse agricultural sector, and in recent years, there has been a growing interest in kiwi farming. Kiwi is a fruit that is native to China, but it is now grown in many parts of the world, including Kenya. The fruit is known for its high nutritional value and unique taste, making it a popular choice among consumers.
Kiwi farming in Kenya has become a profitable venture for farmers due to the high demand for the fruit in the local and international markets. Kiwi farming is also a sustainable option for farmers as the fruit requires minimal water and can be grown on a variety of soils. With proper care and management, kiwi plants can produce fruit for up to 20 years, providing a long-term source of income for farmers.
Despite the potential benefits of kiwi farming, it is important for farmers to understand the challenges and requirements of growing the fruit. Kiwi plants require a specific climate and soil conditions to thrive, and farmers need to invest in proper irrigation and pest control measures to ensure a successful harvest. However, with the right knowledge and resources, kiwi farming can be a lucrative and rewarding venture for farmers in Kenya.
Climate and Soil Requirements
Kiwi is a fruit that requires a specific climate and soil to grow well. In Kenya, the ideal climate for growing kiwi is a subtropical climate with warm temperatures throughout the year. The best temperature range for growing kiwi is between 15°C to 25°C. The plant is sensitive to frost and requires protection during the winter season.
The soil requirements for growing kiwi are also specific. The soil should be well-drained, and the pH level should be between 5.5 to 6.5. The plant requires a deep, fertile, and well-drained soil to grow well. The soil should be rich in organic matter and have good water-holding capacity.
It is essential to choose the right location for growing kiwi. The location should be well-drained, and the soil should be tested before planting. The planting site should be protected from strong winds and frost. The ideal location for growing kiwi is on a gently sloping hillside with good drainage and air circulation.
It is also crucial to consider the rainfall pattern in the area. Kiwi requires adequate water supply throughout the growing season. The ideal rainfall range for growing kiwi is between 1000mm to 2000mm per year. Irrigation may be necessary during the dry season to ensure the plant gets enough water.
In summary, kiwi requires a subtropical climate with warm temperatures, well-drained soil with a pH between 5.5 to 6.5, and adequate water supply throughout the growing season. Choosing the right location and providing protection from frost and strong winds will also contribute to the success of growing kiwi in Kenya.
Choosing the Right Kiwi Variety
Kiwi is a fruit that is native to China but can be grown in many parts of the world, including Kenya. There are different varieties of kiwi, each with its unique characteristics that make it suitable for different growing conditions. When choosing the right kiwi variety to grow in Kenya, consider the following factors:
- Climate: Kiwi grows well in areas with a cool climate, with temperatures ranging between 10°C and 25°C. The variety you choose should be able to withstand the prevailing climatic conditions in your area.
- Soil: Kiwi requires well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter. The variety you choose should be able to grow well in the soil conditions prevalent in your area.
- Pollination: Kiwi is a dioecious plant, meaning that it has separate male and female plants. For fruit production, it is essential to have both male and female plants in the orchard. Some kiwi varieties are self-fertile, while others require cross-pollination.
- Fruit Characteristics: Different kiwi varieties have different fruit characteristics, such as size, shape, flavor, and texture. Choose a variety that produces fruits that meet the market demand and consumer preferences in your area.
Some of the kiwi varieties that are suitable for growing in Kenya include:
|Hort16A||Large, sweet fruit with a smooth skin. Requires cross-pollination.|
|Hayward||The most widely grown kiwi variety in the world. Large, oval-shaped fruit with brown fuzzy skin. Requires cross-pollination.|
|Chico||Medium-sized fruit with a smooth, green skin. Self-fertile.|
|Abbott||Medium-sized fruit with a smooth, green skin. Self-fertile.|
Choosing the right kiwi variety is crucial for successful fruit production. Consider the prevailing climatic conditions, soil type, pollination requirements, and fruit characteristics when selecting a variety to grow in Kenya.
Planting Kiwi in Kenya
Kiwi is a popular fruit that is grown in many parts of the world, and Kenya is no exception. Growing kiwi in Kenya requires careful planning, preparation, and maintenance. Here are some tips on how to plant kiwi in Kenya:
Choosing the Right Location
The first step in planting kiwi in Kenya is to choose the right location. Kiwi plants need a lot of sunlight, so it’s important to choose a spot that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. The soil should be well-draining and rich in organic matter. Avoid planting kiwi in low-lying areas that are prone to flooding.
Preparing the Soil
Before planting kiwi in Kenya, it’s important to prepare the soil properly. Start by digging a hole that is twice as wide and deep as the root ball of the kiwi plant. Mix in some compost or well-rotted manure to improve the soil’s fertility. Kiwi plants prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.0 and 6.5.
Planting the Kiwi
Once the soil is prepared, it’s time to plant the kiwi. Gently remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole. Backfill the hole with soil, making sure that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Water the plant thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots.
Maintaining the Kiwi Plant
After planting, it’s important to maintain the kiwi plant properly. Water the plant regularly, but avoid overwatering, as kiwi plants are susceptible to root rot. Fertilize the plant with a balanced fertilizer every six weeks during the growing season. Prune the plant in the winter to promote new growth and fruit production.
By following these tips, you can successfully plant and grow kiwi in Kenya. With proper care and maintenance, your kiwi plant will produce delicious fruit for years to come.
Kiwi Plant Care
Proper care of kiwi plants is essential to ensure a healthy harvest. Here are some tips to help you take care of your kiwi plants:
- Watering: Kiwi plants need consistent moisture, especially during the growing season. Water them regularly, but avoid overwatering as this can lead to root rot.
- Fertilizing: Fertilize your kiwi plants with a balanced fertilizer every two to three weeks during the growing season. Be careful not to over-fertilize, as this can damage the plant.
- Pruning: Pruning is important to keep your kiwi plants healthy and productive. Prune the plant in the winter when it is dormant, removing any dead or damaged wood, and thinning out the branches to allow for better air circulation and sunlight penetration.
- Pollination: Kiwi plants require cross-pollination to produce fruit. Make sure you have both male and female plants in your garden, or consider planting a self-fertile variety.
- Pest control: Kiwi plants are susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases, including spider mites, scale insects, and powdery mildew. Keep an eye out for any signs of infestation and treat as necessary with organic or chemical controls.
By following these simple tips, you can help ensure a healthy and productive kiwi harvest in your Kenyan garden.
Pests and Diseases Management
Growing kiwi in Kenya can be a profitable venture, but it comes with its fair share of challenges. Pests and diseases are among the biggest challenges that farmers face. Below are some of the common pests and diseases that affect kiwi plants in Kenya:
- Fruit fly: This is one of the most destructive pests of kiwi fruits. It lays eggs on the fruit, and the larvae feed on the fruit pulp, causing it to rot. To control fruit fly, farmers can use traps or insecticides.
- Mites: These tiny insects can cause significant damage to kiwi plants by sucking sap from the leaves and stems. They can be controlled using insecticides or by introducing natural predators such as ladybugs.
- Caterpillars: These pests can cause significant damage to kiwi plants by feeding on the leaves and fruit. They can be controlled using insecticides or by manually removing them from the plants.
- Bacterial canker: This disease causes cankers on the stems and branches of kiwi plants, which can lead to dieback. To control bacterial canker, farmers should remove infected plant parts and use copper-based fungicides.
- Phytophthora root rot: This disease affects the roots of kiwi plants, causing them to rot. To control phytophthora root rot, farmers should avoid planting kiwi in poorly drained soils and use fungicides.
- Powdery mildew: This disease causes a white powdery coating on the leaves and fruit of kiwi plants. It can be controlled using fungicides or by improving air circulation around the plants.
It is important for farmers to monitor their kiwi plants regularly for signs of pests and diseases. Early detection and prompt action can help prevent significant damage to the plants and reduce the use of chemicals. Farmers should also practice good hygiene by removing fallen leaves and fruit from the orchard to reduce the spread of diseases.
Harvesting and Storage of Kiwi Fruits
Harvesting of kiwi fruits in Kenya is done between May and July. The fruit is harvested when it is mature but still firm. Kiwi fruits are not climacteric, which means they do not ripen after harvesting. Therefore, it is important to harvest them at the right time to ensure they are of good quality.
The fruit is harvested by hand-picking, and care should be taken to avoid damaging the fruit. The fruit should be handled gently to avoid bruising, which can reduce its quality. After harvesting, the fruit is sorted to remove any damaged or diseased fruit.
Storage of kiwi fruits is important to ensure they remain fresh and of good quality. The fruit should be stored in a cool, dry place with good ventilation. The ideal temperature for storing kiwi fruits is between 0°C and 5°C. At this temperature, the fruit can be stored for up to six months.
It is important to handle the fruit carefully during storage to avoid bruising. Kiwi fruits should not be stored with other fruits that produce ethylene gas, such as apples and bananas, as this can cause the kiwi fruit to ripen too quickly and spoil.
In conclusion, harvesting and storage of kiwi fruits is crucial to ensure they are of good quality and can be stored for a long period. Proper handling and storage can help to reduce losses and increase profits for farmers in Kenya.
Also Read: Guava Farming In Kenya
Sources: Guo, Zhangdong, Xiaoqi Chen, and Yongwang Zhang. “Impact of environmental regulation perception on farmers’ agricultural green production technology adoption: A new perspective of social capital.” Technology in Society 71 (2022): 102085. Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160791X22002263
Khatiwada, M., S. Amgai, and K. P. Dawadi. “RESOURCE USE EFFICIENCY OF KIWI PRODUCER FARMERS IN DOLAKHA DISTRICT OF NEPAL.” Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development Singhdurbar, Kathmandu (2020). Link: https://moald.gov.np/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/The-Agriculture-and-Environment-VOL-21-2020-final.pdf#page=142