As demand for macadamia and avocados grows locally and internationally, there is no short cut for farmers seeking the best market and prices. One must get it right when it comes to varieties, seedlings and fruits, especially if planning to sell in the export market. It is important for a farmer to start with clean and high-quality planting materials to get higher yields. The export market requires quality produce, that is why it is not advisable to buy seedling from roadside sellers. Avocado can virtually grow well in all parts of the country apart from the coastal region due to salinity.
Sasini Venture into Avocado And Macadamia Farming
According to Business Daily, Jan, 2018, listed agriculture firm Sasini has joined its rival Kakuzi in growing macadamia and avocado for export as part of a diversification plan meant to cushion the business from fluctuating coffee and tea earnings. Sasini, which primarily grows coffee and tea, has set aside 200 acres of its land to grow avocado in Nandi and Sotik but has for the past six months been exporting fruits sourced from independent farmers.
The firm is also planting macadamia on a similar size of land in Kiambu, Ruiru and Mweiga as it prepares to commission its Sh500 million factory in Kiambu for processing the commodity starting April. According to the managing director, the demand for both crops is higher than supply at the moment.
Kakuzi exported 7,102 tonnes of avocado and 476 tonnes of macadamia in 2016, according to the firm’s latest annual report.
Grafted Macadamia Trees
Related Post: The benefits of certified fruit seedlings
Grafted macadamia trees, according to Oxfarm Organic Limited, start bearing fruits after two years. They also produce 50kg to 200kg per season of nuts by the time they reach five years.
Non-grafted macadamia trees start bearing nuts after seven years producing between 7 to 10kg in the first year. By the time the tree is five years, it can only produce up to 50kg per season.
The trees flower from August to September and further development of the fruit lasts 31 weeks. They are disease and pest-resistant and can be produced successfully in areas where avocados, papaws, mangoes and bananas do well.
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people; they don’t need to work so hard nor climb to pick the nuts but wait for them to fall. The macadamia nut tree is indigenous to Australia but introduced in Kenya in 1945 to 1948. In Kenya, it grows roughly in the same climate suitable for growing coffee.
The grafted seedling takes 3-4 months to be ready for planting out in the farm. Seedlings are planting out in the field at a spacing of 9m x 9m or 10 m x 10 m or more if the trees are
intercropped with coffee or any other crop e.g. maize; however, if they are being planted as pure orchard, the spacing should be 4m x 10 m or 5 m x 10 m.
Kenya is sitting on a gold mine that if properly utilized would reap huge benefits for the country.
For many years, tea and coffee farming has been the major source of income for thousands of
farmers, however they are now changing tides and switching to macadamia nut farming.
Macadamia has become a lucrative produce all over sudden with a kilo of the nuts selling for
more than a hundred and a grafted seedling price shooting up from 300 to 500 Kenya Shillings.
Between1986 to 2002 the price ranged between 7 to 23 Shillings per kg., and in 2005 it averaged
80 Shillings per Kg.
The Kenya macadamia nut industry is currently made of approximately 900,000 trees of varying ages from one year to 20 years, grown by over 100,000 small scale farmers with an average of 6 -12 trees per grower. Annual production is about 4,000 metric tons of nuts-in-shell. These produce about 800 metric tons of marketable kernels, making the main commercial product. Other by products such as oil, are minimal. Producers get from nuts-in-shell Shillings 92 million per year.
Kenya is the third largest macadamia producer and the second largest exporter of macadamias. Many Kenyan farmers are integrating macadamia trees into their coffee and tea plantations. They view macadamia output as insurance against the uncertainties of weather which affect coffee and tea.
Passion fruit grows in warm to cool climates within altitude ranging from 1200-2000m. above sea level and minimum rainfall of 900mm per annum. The most suitable soil is medium texture (loamy), which are deep and well drained, with PH ranging from 5.5-7.5.
The apricot favors well drained soil but doesn’t like to be too dry especially in the summer. Providing a happy medium between the two will be key to success and it is up to you to judge the type of soil you already have and influence the structure as much as you can. Too light or sandy then pep it up with lots and lots of organic rich material. Too weighty or sluggish then alleviate it with lots of grit, sharp sand and leaf mold.
The soil should be well cultivated and friable; double dig-it over if it has not been cultivated before. Clear away all perennial weeds because the last thing you want is added competition from them when your trees are in settled, and growing.
Prepare a hole large enough to take the roots. Apricots are vigorous growers and you may find the root system larger than that of other trees. Set the tree to the same depth as it was at the nursery previously – examination of the stem should reveal the soil mark still identifiable and this will tell you how deeply it was set in the ground before. In any event the grafting point should sit above the soil level and the roots buried in not less than 2” of soil.
Dry mulches should be used to retain moisture while heavy banana stems should be supported to avoid damage. Old diseased leaves should be removed while de-leafing is important to ensure healthy growth. Harvesting begins after 15-18 months, and a light shiny appearance means that the banana is ready for harvest. Harvesting should be delicate to avoid bruising of the bananas. The bananas should be temporarily stored in a cool, dry place and should be wrapped in banana leaves or grass to avoid bruising. If for export, they should be washed using a disinfectant and might require branding.