Western Kenya leads in palm oil production in Kenya, which is why we took on the task of providing you with this guide on how to start palm farming in Western Kenya so that you, too, can be a part of Kenya’s oil production revolution.
The steps involved in establishing a palm farm in Western Kenya include Business planning, Source for funding, purchasing quality palm seedlings, acquiring farmland, preparing farmland, planting, weeding and pest control, fertilizer application, and harvest.
From all indications, Western Kenya is poised to be Kenya’s source of palm oil and a major supplier of oil palm in Kenya, take advantage of this opportunity by following the steps outlined and discussed in this material.
How To Start Palm Farming in Western Kenya
To start palm farming in Western Kenya, read and stick to the step-by-step guide outlined and discussed below.
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Step 1: Business Planning
The first step is to create a business plan. You will be able to assess how feasible the idea of establishing an oil palm plantation is, as well as the size of the palm farm you want to start with.
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Your business plan should cover the source of funding, expenses, equipment, and other vital information that can convince those that will provide you with finance. You will also need to analyze your budgets so that you can find funding if you don’t have enough.
Step 2: Source for Funding
Palm farming is a real and serious business. It requires money to kickstart and almost everything that you need requires funding to buy such as farm tools, pay laborers, purchase farmland, and so on.
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So, if you have little or don’t have funding at all, you can get a soft loan from friends and family, or banks, or apply for business grants so that you can acquire all the necessary items you need.
Step 3: Purchase Quality Palm Seedlings
The quality of the palm seedlings you plant determines the yield level and quality of palm fruit during harvest. So, make sure you go for the best palm seeds.
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Get high-yield seed from Trusted Sources, such as palm farmers, and agricultural agencies, or order from online stores. However, you must inspect the palm seeds before purchasing them to avoid buying poor-quality seedlings.
Step 4: Acquire Farmland
Palm farming requires large land where you can plant palm seedlings to germinate. Almost all the lands in Western Kenya are suitable for palm farming.
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If you have the money, you can buy or rent the farmland. However, buying farmland is preferable because palm trees produce continuously for many years. Additionally, when selecting farmland for palm farming, consider a location with consistent rainfall, road access, and exposure to sunlight.
Step 5: Prepare Farmland
After purchasing the land, you prepare it by removing all unwanted plants and trees. You can hire laborers to clear large farmland. Tractor Soil Pulverizers are useful for loosening, pulverizing, and leveling packed or encrusted soils. To prepare the soil for palm seedlings, hard roots should be removed.
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The soil on the plantation should be fertilized with well-decomposed organic matter. Plantation tilling enhances soil structure.
Step 6: Planting
The best planting method is transplanting. This is faster than direct planting because you would have to prepare the palm nursery and plant the seedling to germinate before the land preparation stage. Alternatively, you can purchase already germinated seedlings.
The best time to plant your palm, either directly or transplant is during the rainy season when there will be enough water in the soil to sustain the young palm.
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Also, plant the palms paying attention to adequate spacing, keeping in mind the growing period when the palm fronds will be spread all over the place.
Step 7: Weeding and Pest Control
Weed species that harm oil palm groves are numerous. Common weeds in oil palm plantations include, among others, Chromolaena odorata, Clidemia hirta, Lantana camara, and Aspillia Africana.
Weed control methods commonly used in oil palm plantations include hand removal or chemical spraying.
Protection against pests or infestations is also provided throughout the growth stage. The plant is commonly attacked by rhinoceros beetles, bagworms, red palm weevils, and mealybugs, which cause widespread oil palm tree diseases such as rots and wilts. Early problem identification and timely response are critical for effective pest and disease control in plantations.
Also, mulch the farmland to further protect the plant and soil. Base mulching conserves soil moisture and creates an ideal microclimate for plant growth. It also suppresses weeds in oil palm plantations. Male flowers, coconut husks, empty bunches, straws, and leaves can all be used as natural mulch in cultivation.
Step 8: Fertilizer Application
Fertilization application for palm oil farming should be done equally to splits nutrients sourced from farmyard and green mature, neem cake, and synthetic products. Soil incorporation, scattering, and fertigation are common methods of providing nutrients during crop cultivation.
The fertilizer requirements for oil palm plantations vary depending on the age of the trees, with larger amounts required for mature plants.
Step 9: Harvest
After three years of growth, palm trees begin to bear fruit. Harvesting begins when 5-8 fruits fall loose. Ripe fruit is yellow or orange, and when pressed with a finger, orange palm oil seeps out.
Fruit bunches are manually cut with a knife, chisel, or sickle. Fruit gathering is aided by a hook when plants become too tall. Harvesting can also be done mechanically using machines, which is a more productive and less labor-intensive alternative to manual picking in plantations.
Where Are Palms Grown Kenya?
Not every region in Kenya favors palm plantations. Nonetheless, Oil palms are predominantly grown in West Kenya and or Nyanza regions.
How Many Palm Trees Can You Grow Per Acre?
The number of palm trees you can grow per acre is 60 palms.
How Many Years Does It Take A Palm Tree To Bear Fruit?
Palm tree takes time to grow. It takes palm trees 3 years, and some 4 years to bear fruit. You will need to be patient and wait for the palm trees to grow and start producing fruit that you can sell.
Is Selling Palm Trees Profitable?
A palm tree can be sold for around $15 and $45. However, palm trees that grow taller than 10 feet cost more.
Where Does Kenya Import Palm Oil From?
Kenya consumes plenty of palm oil, but they import most of them from other countries. The majority of palm oil in Kenya is imported from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Peru.
Where Do Most Of The Palm Oil Come From?
Malaysia and Indonesia are the major producer of the total world palm oil with around 90% of the oil produced in both countries combined.
How Many Times Does A Palm Tree Produce In A Year?
A palm tree produces 12 to 14 palm bunches per year.
How Many Times Can You Harvest Palm Oil?
Palm oil fruit can be harvested every 7 to 10 days depending on the palm variety, and climate condition.
How Many Litres Of Palm Oil Can A Palm Tree Produce?
Palm farming is a profitable business. A palm tree can produce up to 50 liters of palm oil from a palm tree.
How Much Does A 10 Ft Palm Tree Cost?
A 10ft palm tree can cost between $20 to $30. However, the price can be higher or lower than the stated amount depending on the seller.
What Kind Of Palm Trees Is Worth Money?
There are different kinds of palm trees available. However, the Date Palm Tree is worth the most money compared to other palm varieties.
Is Palm Tree A Good Business?
The palm tree business is a lucrative and profitable business that’s worth the effort. However, it can take time before you start making money because palm trees take time to grow and start producing. But in the long run, it is worth the effort because you get paid for many years to come.
Are There Palm Trees In Kenya?
Yes, there are palm trees in Kenya but not as many as in other African countries because Kenya because of the climate and soil component.
How Much Is A Palm Tree In Kenya?
There are different reasons why you may want to buy a palm tree, typically to start your palm farm. It may interest you to know that a palm tree in Kenya cost around KSh300 to KSh2500 depending on the size of the tree.
How Do I Identify A Palm Tree?
Palm trees can be identified by two features: the shape of their fronds and the shape of their trunk. Palmate (fan-like) or pinnate leaves are found on palm trees (feather-like). Trunks may be single or clustered, thin or thick.
Palm oil is a profitable business, especially in Kenya where palm farming is not common. However, with the increase in palm farming activities in Western Kenya, you can also take the step of becoming a palm farmer today. We advise that you read through the steps in this guide and learn to acquire the necessary knowledge that will help you establish a palm farm.