Strawberry: Crop Earning Kenyan Farmers Millions

  • An undated image of strawberry farming in Kenya
    An undated image of strawberry farming in Kenya
    Palmers.com
  • Strawberry farming has become a lucrative venture for the youth to undertake and rake in millions in the process. The nutritious fruit is widely appreciated for its bright red colour, sweetness and juicy texture.

    Their demand is readily available in urban markets, supermarkets as well as local companies. 

    Dependent on various environmental factors, a farmer can opt for the best variety to choose from such as chandler, tribute, tristar, Tioga Selva, Domail, Rabunda, Douglas and Pajaro. 

    A row of Strawberry crops planted on a farm in Kenya.
    A row of Strawberry crops planted on a farm in Kenya.
    kuzabiashara.co.ke

    In the case of Benson Mwangi, a large scale strawberry farmer in Nyandarua County, he noted that the chandler variety is most favourable for the Kenyan market.

    "The fruits don't do well at the coastal region. The favourable temperature is between 10 to 30 degrees celsius. The other essential factor for the plant is water as the whole process is 95 percent water.  Another essential at my farm are bees, due to the pollination factor," he told Kenyans.co.ke

    Procedure

    The farmer should till the land, removing the weeds, then soften the soil. Add manure to ensure a healthy supply of nutrients.

    Farmers are also advised to plant the strawberry seedlings leaving a distance of 30 centimetres in between rows and at least 50 centimetres between any two sections of the farm.

    A farmer can either do splits or runners. Runners, also known as stolons, are generated by existing strawberry plants. They eventually develop their own root, resulting in a clone plant. On the other hand, splits are achieved when a strawberry plant is lifted from the soil and broken into various parts.

    "I have never done splits, and it's because it takes a full year for the crops to mature. I've used the runners. The mother plant for a chandler, in the first two months, produces a runner. After two months, the mulching process begins. Once you're done, it will only take two weeks for the roots to mature. After two weeks, you cut the runner from the mother plant and you transplant the runner," he stated.

    The fruits take about two months for the crop to mature from the time it's planted to produce its first fruits. Farmers are however, advised to begin the process of looking for market early enough since the fruits are highly perishable.

    Harvesting

    He noted that in the case of an eighth of an acre, a farmer can get 50 kilograms per week. The current market price for the strawberry is Ksh480 per kilogram so a farmer can earn a minimum of Ksh96,000 per month from a small portion of land.

    Further, a farmer can invest in various methods such as aquaponics in order to yield the best results and increase productivity of the farm.

    This can increase the productivity to over Ksh150,000 per month. The favourable places for strawberries include Isinya, Machakos, Kiambu, Nakuru, Naivasha and Kilifi.

    Kenyans shop at a local Nairobi supermarket.
    Kenyans shop at a local Nairobi supermarket.
    Daily Nation