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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Soils should be well drained. Wet soils lead to poor aeration and increased incidence of crown rot in apples (Phytophthora cactorum). Generally, rooting tends to be shallow, and wet soils will restrict development, resulting in poor anchorage of the tree and a reduced area of soil from which nutrients can be extracted. Soils with high organic matter contents are normally better structured and allow good rooting.
Irrigation is necessary on dry soils, particularly when establishing and growing young orchards. Trickle irrigation and fertigation are increasingly used. In young orchards fertigation helps increase early tree growth and brings trees into bearing earlier. Sprinkler irrigation can be used to protect the tree buds and fruitlets against frost damage.
Sowing of a grass mulch between the tree rows is common practice, which together with any clippings, helps to increase water holding capacity, infiltration rate, soil aggregation and recycling of nutrients.
Apples prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH between 5.8 and 7.0). Extreme soil pH values result in nutrient tie-up or toxicity and poor tree and fruit development. It is important to amend the pH in acidic soils by incorporating lime before planting
Tangerines are relatively cold-tolerant, making them easier to grow than oranges, grapefruits and other types of citrus. Some varieties, such as the Citrus reticulata "Dancy," are heat-tolerant and do best when summers are hot, but other types, including the Citrus reticulata "Sunburst," do best when summers are on the cool side.
Citrus species can thrive in a wide range of soil and climatic conditions. Citrus is grown from sea level up to an altitude of 2100 m but for optimal growth a temperature range from 2° to 30° C is ideal. Long periods below 0°C are injurious to the trees and at -13° C growth diminishes. However, individual species and varieties decrease in susceptibility to low temperatures in the following sequence: grapefruit, sweet orange, mandarin, lemon/lime and trifoliate orange as most hardy.
Temperature plays an important role in the production of high quality fruit. Typical coloring of fruit takes place if night temperatures are about 14° C coupled with low humidity during ripening time. Exposure to strong winds and temperatures above 38° C may cause fruit drop, scarring and scorching of fruits. In the tropics, the high lands provide the best night weather for orange color and flavor.
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.