One of the joys of the season is biting a juicy pear. Commercial pears farming in Kenya can be a lucrative agribusiness that only a small number has ventured in. Upon establishment, the plants require little care. Retailing at competitive prices in the local and export markets, pears can be a good source of income.
Temperatures: Pears flourish in cool regions with temperatures ranging from 150C to 320C. In warm and dry regions, pear farming requires regular irrigation, fertilization, and continuous optimization of pollination.
Rainfall: The plants require moderate and well-distributed rainfall. However, they can be grown under irrigation in dry areas.
Sunshine: Pears require at least 6-8 hours of sunlight especially during flowering and fruit ripening.
Soil requirements: pears can be grown on a wide range of soils. However, they perform best in deep, fertile, and well-drained soils with a pH range of 5.5 to 8.7.
Areas grown in Kenya
Pears have chilling requirements to break dormancy and to improve fruit bud development. Farmers are advised to grown varieties with a low chilling effect. In Kenya, pears are mainly grown in cold areas such as Limuru, Meru, Naivasha, parts of Nyeri, and most parts of western Kenya.
Spacing and Planting
Spacing is an important factor, especially in commercial pear farming. Poor spacing ruins the entire investment especially the growth and productivity of the trees. A spacing of 5m x 6m, 4m x 6m or 8m x 4m. Upon land preparation, planting holes with a diameter of 60cm by 60 cm and 2 feet deep should be made. The topsoil should be mixed with well-decomposed manure to enhance soil fertility and aeration.
An acre can accommodate between 120 – 200 trees.
Pear orchards should strictly be weed-free. Mulching and planting cover crops are recommended to minimize the growth of weeds.
Pear varieties that perform well in Kenya include;
Historically, Kenya pear appeared in it two forms, first in Asia, around 3000B.C. This Asian type, Pyres Serotina came first in Central China and in Japan. The fruit was also common in western Europe even before the Christ in a species different from the Asian kind. It was known as Pyrus Communis and was a popular source of food to the then undeveloped central Europeans who consumed it long before the age of agriculture.
Pear trees mature and start bearing after 3 to 4 years after planting. However, grafted varieties can start bearing 2 years after planting.
Pests and Diseases
Just like other fruits, pears are susceptible to several pests and diseases such as;
Pears are prone to fungal and bacterial diseases such as;
- Powdery mildew
- Collar rot
- Crown and root rot
- Fire blight
If the diseases are not controlled, the infected trees become weak and unproductive.
Production and output
The average yield for a mature tree varies depending on the ecological conditions, management techniques employed, and height of the tree. For instance, a semi-dwarf tree can produce an average of 45kgs while a standard height tree can produce 90kgs. When high-quality management (pruning, thinning, irrigation, fertilization, pollination) is employed, a mature tree can produce up to 180kgs. Working with an average yield of 45kgs for semi-dwarf trees and 90kgs for standard height trees, a farmer can expect a yield of 6750kgs and 13500kgs respectively. At a price of Ksh 30 per kilo, a farmer can pocket a minimum of Ksh 270,000 from one acre with 200 semi-dwarf trees and Ksh 540,000 from one acre with 200 standard height trees in the 4thyear. Since the plants require little care, pear farming can be a profitable venture. When the yield stabilizes, a tree produces an average of 180kgs. That equates to 36000kgs per acre. At a price of Ksh 30 per kilo, a farmer can earn Ksh 1,080,000. Isn’t that a cool figure to make?
Price per seedling
At Oxfarm Ltd, we sell certified pear seedlings at Ksh 300 each.
Establishing a pear orchard has never been easy. A single mistake can ruin the pear farming venture. To help farmers avoid frustrations and losses during establishment, Oxfarm Ag Ltd has come up with a package that includes the entire establishment process. The farmer is only required to clear any bushes and plough the land. From there, Oxfarm Ltd establishes the pear orchard.
The package costs Ksh 57,750 only.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE?
- Free consultancy (normally charged Ksh 5000)
- 150 certified and high-quality pear seedlings
- Labor (digging of planting holes, soil treatment, and testing, planting)
- Organic manure (earthlee) equivalent to one bucket of normal manure (20% discount offered)
- Lifetime agronomy support
- Market connection
Pears have a high demand in the local and export markets. Currently, Kenya exports pears to Bahrain, Rwanda, Belarus, and Somalia. In the export market, pears retail at premium prices. One pear goes for Ksh 20 in the local market while a kilo goes for between Ksh 100 – Ksh 120.