The saying goes that apple a day keeps the doctor away it’s a commonly used mostly to describe the importance of apple consumption. Using a recent survey Kenya imported 4000 tonnes of apples in 2016 representing about Ksh. 160 million. This shows the high demand of apples that many farmers are not meeting locally and for the agripreneurs that’s a good opportunity to invest in. Most parts of Kenya are ideal for apple farming and with more than 400 known varieties we as oxfarm organic will guide you to know the best varieties suited to your area of farming.
- Apples are rich in soluble fiber which has been shown to reduce intestinal disorders.
- Helps in control of insulin levels by releasing sugar level slowly in the blood stream.
- Lowers cholesterol levels and the risk of respiratory diseases
- Cleans and detoxifies the body
- Strengthens the heart and quenches thirst
- It’s a good control of obesity
The most commonly grown varieties of apples in Kenya include winter banana, anna, top red, brae burn, Fiji, golden dorset, and cripps lady.
They prefer sandy-loamy soil that run deep and drain easily with a recommended PH of 5.5-6.5. spacing of 3m by 3m and planted in a hole measuring 2ft by 2ft. Require rainfall of 800-1100mm per year.
For the grafted apple varieties they start fruiting as early at 9 months but full profitability on the fifth year with a tree having more than 20 years life span. A mature well managed apple tree can produce more than 500 fruits in a season. An acre at a good spacing can accommodate 500 trees where at farm gate a fruit retail an average of 15-30. Hence a single tree can give a return of an average of 10000, and a one acre apple orchard can give a return of Ksh 500k. An apple fruit can be stored for four to eight months and even more when refrigerated.
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Require pruning on first two to three years to attain a desirable shape of the tree and also remove the unwanted branches, it require low temperature of 13 degrees to break dormancy but early dormancy can also be triggered through the use of chemicals or mechanically through defoliation of leaves.
CONTROL PEST AND DISEASES
Major pests are birds, aphids, thrips, spider mites, fruit fries, and codling moth
Diseases include apple scab, powdey mildew and armiralia root rot
Preventative control for these pest and diseases is ensuring certified seedling that are free, also observe high standard hygiene in your garden.
For more on how to control of pest and diseases, varieties suitable for your area, certified seedling visit us in our offices hermes house Tom Mboya Street 1st floor. Or click here to order seedlings.