Custard apple farming is gaining attention from a large number of farmers since it’s highly profitable. Farmers in in different parts of the country are shifting from traditional crops to custard apple. With a ready market and premium prices in the international market, the venture can be highly remunerative.
Rainfall: The crop thrives in moderate and well-distributed rainfall. However, it withstands heavy rainfall and drought. This means that it can be grown under irrigation in dry areas.
Temperature:The plant thrives in temperatures ranging from 150C – 300C. Custard apple is sensitive to extremely low temperatures. A hot dry climate enhances flowering and fruit set.
Wind: Custard is sensitive to extreme winds. The branches can easily break which will affect pollination. Planting wind breakers around custard apple orchards is recommended.
Soil requirements: Although it grows in a wide range of soils, it thrives in deep and well-drained soils with a pH range of 5.0 – 8.0. The crop can withstand a little salinity or acidity. Marshy-wetlands, poor drainage, and alkalinity, however, hamper vegetative growth and fruiting.
Spacing and Planting
Custard plants require a spacing of 4m x 4m or 6m x 6m. Planting holes should have a diameter of 60cm x 60cm and 60cm deep. The topsoil should be mixed with well-decomposed manure to improve soil fertility and aeration. This means that an acre can occupy between 150 – 300 trees depending on the spacing.
Custard orchards should be weed-free. Planting cover crops and mulching is recommended to minimize the growth of weeds.
Custard varieties that perform well in Kenya include;
- Red Sitaphal
Maturity Of Custard Apple
Custard trees start bearing three to four years after planting. Grafted varieties are capable of producing yields two years after planting.
Pests and Diseases
Just like other fruits, custard are susceptible to a number of pests and diseases such as:
Some of the pests that attack these plants include;
- Trunk and fruit borer
- Spider mites
Some of the diseases that affect custard plants include;
- Root rot
Production and Output
Custard is a climacteric fruit and should be harvested at maturity. Immature fruits do not ripen and hence it should be avoid. The yield from custard apple plants depends on farming techniques employed and ecological conditions. On average, a mature tree can produce 100 fruits weighing 300grams – 400grams. This equates to 30kgs per tree. During the off season, the prices of custard apple fruits range from Ksh 80 – Ksh 130 per kilo. This means that a farmer can pocket between Ksh 720,000 – Ksh 1,170,000 from one acre.
Price per seedling
At Oxfarm, we sell certified custard apple seedlings at Ksh 100 each.
Establishing a custard orchard has never been easy. Oxfarm Ag Ltd has simplified the establishment process by coming up with a package that helps farmers successfully venture into custard apple farming with ease.
The package costs Ksh 37,000 for one acre.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE?
- Free consultancy
- 200 certified and high-quality custard apple seedlings
- Labor (measurement and digging of planting holes, soil treatment and testing, planting) (50% discount offered)
- Organic manure (earthlee) equivalent to one bucket of normal manure (30% discount offered)
- Lifetime agronomy support
- Market connection
The demand for custard apple in the local and export market is yet to be met. In Kenya, the fruits can be spotted in major markets in Nairobi. Europe provides the largest market for Kenyan custard apple fruits.