- It’s a life time investment
In most cases when one hears of a lifetime investment, the first thing that comes to the mind is a property such an apartment, but we hardly think about fruit farming as a lifetime business, whereby you only incur a lot of expenses only when establishing the orchard, once that phase is complete the rest of the phases do not require a lot of finances, because it is just maintaining the fruit trees.
Just have a look at the lifespan of the following fruit trees,
Hass avocado 50 Years
Pixie oranges 50 Years
Macadamia 40 – 60 Years
Kiwi 40 Years
Apples 35 – 45 years
Dragon fruit 20 Years
Plums 10-15 years
Tree Tomatoes 12 Years
Strawberries 5-6 years
Pepino Melon 4.5 years
- Numerous health benefits
Fruits are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, and they are high in fiber. Fruits also provide a wide range of health-boosting antioxidants, including flavonoids. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables can reduce a person’s risk of developing heart disease, cancer, inflammation, diabetes other lifestyle associated diseases.
- Local and international market
Fruit farming is one of the key sectors in the food production
Horticulture is the largest sub-sector in agriculture contributing 33% of the Agricultural GDP. The industry is made up of five commodities namely: vegetables (accounting for 44.6% of the total value of produce); flowers (20.3%), fruits (29.6%), nuts and; medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPS) at 5.8%). In 2015, the industry contributed 1.45% of the national GDP. Small scale farmers (with land below 10 acres) produce a majority of these crops contributing about 50-60% of the total production. About 95% of horticultural production goes to the domestic market and 5% to the export market. The value of domestic horticulture in 2015 was KES 211 Billion (2.1 Billion USD) with a total area under production of
719,158 Ha. Horticulture industry is the second biggest foreign exchange earner in Kenya after tourism generating approximately KES 90 billion in 2015. The main horticultural crops for exports are: flowers, vegetables and fruits; with European Union (EU) being the major destination accounting for over 80% of total exports.
- What do I need to start fruit farming?
The first step in starting a fruit and vegetable farming business is to decide what type of fruits or vegetables you intend to grow. As earlier stated, there are vast numbers of fruits and vegetables to choose from, and picking the right one or set is critical to growing a successful fruit and vegetable farm.
Some questions to ask yourself in your decision-making process are:
- How resistant is this crop to pests and diseases?
- Is there a large demand for this crop?
- What are the risks of growing this crop?
- Where and how will the fruits and vegetables be sold?
- What volume of this crop should I first produce?
- How much do I need to set up a fruit farm?
When you’ve answered the questions to the best of your knowledge and are satisfied with the preliminary results your fruit or vegetable crop of choice may fetch you, you can go ahead to start a fruit or vegetable farming business in that regard.
- Who should do fruit farming?
Anybody who possesses the following characteristics can really thrive in fruit farming,
Farmers have to be patient as rising fruit trees takes time. Plus, it might not always turn out the way you expect.
- Teachable attitude
Teach-ability is not so much about competence and mental capacity as it is about attitude. It is the desire to listen, learn, and apply. It is the willingness to learn, unlearn, and relearn. I love the way legendary basketball coach John Wooden states it: “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”
This refers to someone who is well equipped in terms of knowledge and someone who is intelligent. In farming it is important to have a deep understanding of the farming trends, recommended methods of irrigation, pesticides and herbicides recommended and the ones that are not recommended, it is also important to understand the market you intend to supply and understand the law of demand and supply so that you know when to plant off-season.
Just like any other sector, fruit farming requires one to be organized. Being organized helps one manage their farm and give it the best care. One is able to schedule their pruning seasons, scouting trips, irrigation (manually or automated drip system) when to apply mulching among other farming activities.
- Problem solver,
Farmers also need to be adept at problem solving. Successful farmers know how to deal with issues on all fronts of the business.
They need to be able to identify and solve problems in order of significance.
This includes identifying the source of the problem and fixing it, in order to prevent it from reoccurring.
Plus, farmers should be able to plan for problems that haven’t happened yet.
- Where do I get quality seedlings?
What you saw is what you reap, right? If you saw poor quality seedlings, you will reap a poor/bad quality fruit tree. Planting quality seedlings is very crucial if you want to be a successful fruit farmer, OxfarmAg Limited sells quality seedlings both grafted and non-grafted, we also propagate other fruit trees through cuttings, which are sourced from healthy mother plants.
- When Do I harvest?
Each fruit tree has its maturity duration, and also depending on whether the fruit tree is grafted, non-grafted or propagated. The grafted ones take a less period to mature and also give a good harvest. OxfarmAg Limited gives its clients the user manual to each plant purchased and this is aimed at helping the farmer know what to do at what stage so as to be able to get what they desired to get from the fruit tree.
- How do I make money/profit from fruit farming?
Fruit farming is one of the lucrative businesses because once the fruit trees get to a certain age; it does not require you to be in the farm every now and then and then the initial cost in met only once. There are several ways in which one can do so as to ensure you make profit from fruit farming, one of the newest devised method is planting in different phases; this will ensure that you get to harvest all-round the year. Another technique is planting different fruit trees that will ensure that you will have the seasonal fruits and you will have all the fruits from January to December.
A good number of farmers in the country specialize on one particular fruit tree and that is why at times you will get fruits flooded in the market simply because we all focused on one type of fruit tree and we all planted the fruit tree seedlings at the same time.
Farmers tend to rely heavily on rains so as to plant the seedlings, and that is really cost effective as one does not incur costs of irrigation, but what it does is that it means that all the farmers who planted at the same season will have their fruits ready for harvest at the same time and that in most instances leads to flooding the market and that lowers the cost of fruits.