People investing in high-value crops are smiling all the way to the bank. Pomegranates is one of the crops that is earning people millions. The crop that requires little space per tree and produces big fruits when well-watered and taken care of. It is considered to be one of the most expensive fruits hence one can earn substantial income even from a small piece of land. Due to its profitability, people are being advised to take up the pomegranate farming as a commercial venture.
Ecological requirements for Pomegranate Farming
Rainfall: Pomegranates require dry and semi-arid weather. The plant is drought-tolerant and does not require a lot of water. The crop performs best when grown under irrigation.
Temperatures: The optimum temperatures for pomegranate farming range from 200C – 300C. Optimum temperatures for flowering, fruit development, and ripening, range from 350C -380C
Altitude: Pomegranates perform well in a wide range of altitudes. However, low altitudes of between 500 – 1000m above sea level are the most suitable for the crop.
Soil: The plant grows in a wide range of soils, both low-fertile and high-fertile soils. However, it performs best in deep, loamy, and well-drained soils. It can tolerate slight salinity and alkalinity. The ideal pH for pomegranate farming range from6.5 – 7.5.
Spacing and Planting
Pomegranates require a spacing of around 3.5m x 4m. Before planting, the topsoil should be mixed with well-decomposed manure to improve soil fertility and drainage.
Areas grown in Kenya
In Kenya, pomegranates perform well in areas such as Machakos, Makueni, Kitui, parts of North-eastern Kenya like Wajir and Mandera, parts of Central Kenya such as Nyeri, the coastal region, and most parts of Western Kenya. They also thrive in parts such as Kisumu.
Pomegranate orchards should be weed-free. Mulching and planting cover crops is recommended to minimize the growth of weeds.
Pomegranate varieties that perform well in Kenya include;
- Jalore Seedless
- Phule Arakta
Pomegranate harvesting depends on the growing region, ecological conditions, and management techniques. Harvesting takes place 5-6 months after flowering. At this time, the fruits are mature and ready for harvesting.
Pests and Diseases
Pomegranates are susceptible to a number of pests and diseases such as;
Some of the pests affecting pomegranates include;
- Omnivorous leafrollers
- Pomegranate fruit borer
Diseases affecting pomegranates include;
- Cerspora fruit spot
- Heart rot
- Bacterial leafspot
- Gray mold
Price per seedling
At Oxfarm Ag, we sell certified pomegranate seedlings at Ksh 300 each.
Production and Output
Healthy pomegranate trees can produce high yields ranging from 12-15kgs per tree during the first year. In the subsequent years (second year onwards), the yield per tree ranges from 15-20kgs. Pomegranates are one of the most expensive fruits in the world. In Kenya, the retail prices for one fruit range from Ksh 150 – ksh 300 while the wholesale prices range from Ksh 80 – Ksh 100. The fruit retails at premium prices in the export market with one kilo going for an average price of between Ksh 1500 – Ksh 1700.
This means that a farmer can earn between Ksh 1,080,000 – Ksh 2,160,000 in the first year.
In the export market, a farmer can pocket between Ksh 3,600,000 – Ksh 4,800,000.
From the second year onwards, a farmer should expect a minimum of Ksh 1,350,000 in the Kenyan market and ksh 4,500,000 in the export market. Isn’t that a lucrative venture?
Establishing pomegranate orchards has never been easy to most farmers. Through our extensive research, we have realized that most farmers do not have adequate expertise on pomegranate farming. This has caused them huge losses. To help farmers experience the profitability of the agribusiness, we have tried to simplify every step making it easy for you venture into pomegranate farming. Oxfarm Ag Ltd has come up with a package enable famers venture into the lucrative agribusiness without making losses. The package only requires the farmer to plough the land and Oxfarm establishes the orchard for them.
The package costs Ksh ,000.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN POMEGRANATE PACKAGE?
- Free consultancy
- 200 certified and high-quality pomegranate 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
Currently, 90% of pomegranates used to add value to products or sold in the markets are imported. Pomegranates are greatly used in making beauty products. In Kenya, the cosmetic industry imports pomegranate products made from pomegranate seed oil and pomegranate fruit shell. In Kenya, the number of people practicing commercial pomegranate farming is still low. If we embrace pomegranate farming as an economic venture, we would reduce the importation. The market for the fruit is quite high in towns and the international market.