Strawberry farming in Kenya is one of the lucrative agribusiness today. Growing strawberries is easy as I will show you on this article. The few farmers who are engaged in strawberry growing are making huge profits. They have shared their success stories on even how to make Ksh100,000 Per Month on 1/8th Acre Land growing strawberries. Strawberry farming in Kenya has gained popularity due to increased strawberry products like yoghurt, ice-creams, jams etc.
The good news is that Strawberries can grow in almost every part of our country. All you need is reliable source of water and stable temperature the ranges from 10 to 30 degrees Celsius.
Strawberry farming business plan
Before you start Strawberry farming in Kenya, you will need to have strawberry farming business plan. Strawberry farming business plan should indicate whether you want to do strawberry cultivation in greenhouse or in open fields. This is because greenhouse strawberry production requires the construction of a greenhouse which is an additional cost. strawberry farming in greenhouse usually produces good looking strawberries. However, you have to do your calculations right to ensure you will make a profit.
Ensure your strawberry farming business plan covers, the capital needed for; garden tools, source of water, land available for farming, labor, seeds, fungicides and pesticides, packaging materials for your produce and market.
Strawberry market in Kenya
Research shows that demand is higher than supply of these produce. Some of the industries that use these fruits as raw materials are forced to import them. This shows that Strawberry farming in Kenya will remain a lucrative business in Kenya.
Chandler is one of the popular Strawberry varieties in Kenya. One of its seeds costs Ksh 10-20. Therefore, for you to plant an eighth of an acre you will require about 3,000 seedlings, that translates to Ksh. 30,000 – 60,000. This cost sounds a lot, however strawberries are runners, once you plant, you are able to propagate them without having to buy more seedlings. Remember you will be harvesting 2-3 times a year for the next 3 years. On your strawberry farming business plan you can add an extra Ksh15,000 for transport, fertilizer and agro-chemicals if you wish.
Strawberry farming in Kenya
Just like with any product, it will be a bit hard to market the produce if you are the only farmer who has ventured in that business in your area. Therefore, there is a need to join other strawberry farmers in Kenya for more benefits. Don’t worry if there is none as you can still sell your produce to big hotels, supermarkets, fruit stalls and processing companies like the ones for yoghurt, ice-creams, jams etc.
Strawberry varieties in Kenya
Chandler strawberry is a vigorous, high-yielding, plants produces very large and firm strawberries. They are a brilliant red color, glossy, and have an exceptional flavor takes within 60 -75 days good for freezing but not good when it comes to processing.
Douglas Strawberry is one of the Strawberry varieties in Kenya that is a high yielder. Its orange red in colour with clear foliage, it has good taste and semi-erect habit. One of its advantages is that its resistance to transport damages.
Aiko Strawberry is pale red in colour with a pointed end and firm flesh. It’s a high yielder that us a bit sweet and resistance to transport damages.
Pajaro Strawberry is late maturing strawberry varieties in Kenya with low production. Rarely grown by farmers.
Fern Strawberry is good for fresh market and processing due to its high yielding sweet berry that has a firm skin.
Cambridge Favourite Strawberry
Cambridge Favourite Strawberry is one of the Strawberry varieties in Kenya that produces many runners. Its berries are small sized, sweet and resistant to most of the diseases.
Tips on strawberry production in Kenya
If you want to start Strawberry farming in Kenya, know that it’s a profitable business when done right. strawberry growing in Kenya is easy and almost anyone can do it. Planting Strawberries is done using seedlings called splints. strawberry growing in Kenya doesn’t require a big piece of land. Strawberry cultivation needs a mild and hot temperature, not cold places. The soil needs to be well drained and weed-free with a 6 to 6.2 PH. Strawberries once planted can go up to three years.
How to start strawberry growing in Kenya
- Prepare your land well by remove weeds and then soften the soil. This will help you get good production
- Add manure to the soil, animal manure will work, then add some ash too. Use the ratio of one bucket per square meter
- Make a bed that is raised by 20 cm and measures 1 meter by width.
- strawberry seedlings should be planted leaving a distance of 30cm in between rows and between plants.
- Make sure the beds are properly watered before planting the berries.
- Roots should be covered well but not the stems as this might cause rotting.
- Mulching is important to control weeds and retain moisture
- The first month of planting strawberries, one should water them daily especially afternoons. After that, two to three times a week should be ok.
- Strawberries flowers should be removed in the first two months to avoid premature fruit development.
Strawberry Health Benefits
There are many Strawberry Health benefits. Strawberry Health benefits nutrition includes skin, pregnancy, diabetes etc. Other Strawberry Health benefits are:
- improved eye care
- Proper brain function
- Relief from high blood pressure
- gout and various cardiovascular diseases