Farming is a major economic activity in Kenya and one of the crops grown in the country is pineapple. Many small-scale and large-scale farmers grow pineapple in the country for food and profit-making purposes.
Pineapple is widely consumed in the country because of its rich nutrient, sweet taste, and appealing flavor. The fruit can be eaten raw or prepared with other food ingredients. Also, commercial industries such as food processing companies also purchase pineapples.
If you are interested to grow pineapple in Kenya, ensure that you follow the right steps which include selecting suitable land or location, land preparation, acquiring the pineapple crown, planting, and regular watering, up to harvesting your yield.
If you are reading this, it means you are interested to grow pineapple in Kenya but require guidance, ensure you read through this guide from beginning to end to learn all that you need to know about pineapple farming.
How to Grow Pineapple in Kenya
Growing pineapple is a profitable venture and it can be done on a small scale or a large scale depending on your preference. You don’t need large farmland to start, the little space in your backyard is enough to start and then expand later.
To begin the process of growing pineapple in Kenya, you should follow the step discussed below.
Step 1: Select Suitable Land or Location
When choosing land for growing pineapple, there are several factors to consider such as soil type, climate, water availability, and topography.
Climate is also essential for successful pineapple cultivation. Pineapple plants prefer warmer climates, ideally between 70 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, they need at least 50 inches of rain per year and plenty of sunshine.
Soil types should be well-draining and nutrient-rich, such as sandy loam or loamy sand. Pineapple plants require a soil pH range of 5.0 to 6.5.
Water availability is also important. Pineapple plants need a consistent source of water, and the soil should never be allowed to dry out completely.
Also, the land should have a slight slope to allow for proper drainage. If the land is too flat, the water may not drain away properly and rot the pineapple plants’ roots.
Step 2: Land Preparation for Planting Pineapple
Most pineapple farmers tend to undermine proper land preparation, but don’t make the same mistake. You must take this step seriously to ensure proper pineapple farming.
To prepare the land for planting pineapple, you must till the soil to a depth of 8-10 inches. Next is to remove any rocks and debris that could hinder the growth of plant growth.
After that, you should amend the soil with plenty of organic matter, such as compost or poultry manure, to improve soil fertility and drainage.
Once the above steps have been carried out successfully, you can create a 6-8-inch-deep furrow in the soil. this is where the pineapple crown will be planted.
Step 3: Acquire your Pineapple Crown
The popular method of planting pineapple in Kenya is through pineapple crown. Pineapple crowns are the top of the pineapple, including the leaves and the stem.
This method is proven to be successful when growing pineapple in the country. You can get your pineapple crown by choosing a tropical variety of pineapple and cutting off the top of the pineapple.
However, ensure to leave at least an inch of the pineapple fruit attached to the top.
On the other hand, you can purchase a pineapple crown from a reliable nursery, an existing pineapple farmer, or online.
Ensure you select a pineapple variety that is suitable to the climate and soil property of the planting site so that your pineapple can grow well and you can get a reasonable yield during harvest.
Step 4: Planting Pineapple Crown
Growing pineapple is not a difficult task. To grow, ensure your timing is right as the climate that best suits pineapple planting is time the warm climate that is needed to produce fruit.
You should dig a hole on the prepared farmland large enough to fit the pineapple crown, and place it in the center of the hole.
Once you’ve placed the pineapple crown in the hole, ensure you cover lightly with topsoil and water the area.
Step 5: Regular Watering
Regular watering is an important step in pineapple farming. Pineapple plants require plenty of water, particularly throughout the germination season.
Ensure you Water the pineapple plants frequently and deeply but not to overflood the soil. Ensure that for the first two weeks after planting, you water thoroughly.
Once the plant is established and began to sprout, there is no need for frequent watering. Watering can be limited to one in two days or once daily.
Step 6: Fertilizer Application
Pineapple plants require regular fertilization so that they can receive the necessary nutrients to grow and as well stay healthy and productive. Nonetheless, it is important that you apply balanced fertilizer at least twice per year.
Step 7. Mulch
The essence of mulching your pineapple farm is to help retain soil moisture and nutrient. Mulching should be done by spreading a 2–3-inch layer of mulch around the pineapple plant so that the soil will remain moist and as well retain heat.
Step 8: Control Pests and Diseases
Pineapple like most crops is susceptible to different types of diseases and pests which can reduce yields. It is important that you actively manage these diseases and pests.
The most common pests and diseases affecting pineapple in Kenya include root rots, nematodes, mealybugs, yellow spots, and several others. These diseases can be controlled through the use of fungicides and pesticides.
Other suitable options to control pests and diseases affecting pineapple include a combination of cultural, physical, and chemical methods.
Step 9: Harvesting
Pineapple grows to maturity within 18 months. Typically, pineapples are harvested within 7 to 14 days after the fruits have turned yellow.
You can use a sharp knife to cut the fruit from where it joins with the stalk. After harvesting, ensure they are cleaned and properly stored and later marketed for sale.
Variety of Pineapple in Kenya
There are several varieties of pineapples that can be grown in Kenya. The most common varieties grown include:
- Smooth Cayenne: This is the most popular variety in Kenya, and it produces large and sweet fruit that is ideal for canning and juice production.
- MD2: This is a newer variety that is gaining popularity in Kenya. It produces larger fruit than the Smooth Cayenne and has a higher sugar content.
Pineapple Prices In Kenya
Pineapple prices in Kenya vary depending on the location, season, and market demand. On average, a single pineapple can be sold for between Ksh. 30 to Ksh. 100, depending on the size and quality of the fruit. As a farmer, you can earn between Ksh. 150,000 to Ksh. 400,000 per acre of pineapple plantation.
Best Agronomic Practices To Engage In Growing Pineapple In Kenya
To ensure a successful pineapple harvest, it is important to engage in best agronomic practices when growing the fruit. Here are some tips to consider:
- Soil preparation: Pineapples grow best in well-drained, fertile soils with a pH range of 4.5 to 5.5. Before planting, prepare the soil by removing weeds and debris and adding organic matter such as manure or compost.
- Planting: Pineapple is propagated by planting the crown or the sucker. The ideal planting time in Kenya is between February and March, during the rainy season. Ensure that the planting holes are at least 50cm deep and wide.
- Fertilizer application: Pineapples require regular fertilization to grow healthy and produce high-quality fruit. Apply fertilizers rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in a ratio of 4:4:4.
- Irrigation: Pineapples require regular watering to thrive. In Kenya, it is recommended to irrigate the plants once or twice a week, especially during the dry season.
- Pest and disease control: Pineapples are susceptible to various pests and diseases, such as mealybugs, mites, and fungal diseases. It is essential to use appropriate pesticides and fungicides to control these pests and diseases.
Projected Profit Of Pineapple In Kenya
The projected profit of pineapple farming in Kenya is high, and it depends on various factors such as the yield per acre, market demand, and prices.
With an average yield of 25 to 30 tonnes per acre, a farmer can earn between Ksh. 150,000 to Ksh. 400,000 per acre, assuming a selling price of Ksh. 60 per pineapple.
However, the profit margin can be significantly higher for those who engage in value addition by processing and packaging the fruit for sale.
Common Diseases And Pests Of Pineapple
Pineapples are prone to several pests and diseases that can significantly reduce the yield and quality of the fruit. Some common pests and diseases to watch out for in Kenya include:
- Mealybugs: These pests attack the leaves and stems of the pineapple plant and can be controlled using appropriate pesticides such as carbaryl or malathion.
- Mites: These pests are small and difficult to see, but they can cause significant damage to the pineapple plant by sucking sap from the leaves. They can be controlled using miticides such as abamectin or bifenthrin.
- Fruit fly: These pests attack the fruit and can cause rot and spoilage. They can be controlled using insecticides such as fipronil or spinosad.
- Pineapple wilt: This is a fungal disease that causes the leaves to turn yellow and wilt. It can be controlled by removing and destroying infected plants, and using appropriate fungicides such as copper oxychloride or carbendazim.
Different Propagation Methods Of Pineapple
Pineapples can be propagated by planting the crown or the sucker. The crown is the leafy top of the pineapple fruit, while the sucker is a small plant that develops from the base of the fruit.
The crown is the most common method of propagation used in Kenya, as it is easier and less labor-intensive.
However, suckers can also be used, especially when planting a new pineapple field. To propagate using the crown method, follow these steps:
- Twist off the crown of a ripe pineapple fruit.
- Remove the bottom few leaves of the crown, exposing the stem.
- Plant the crown in well-prepared soil, making sure that the stem is firmly rooted.
- Water the plant regularly and apply fertilizers as recommended.
Pineapple Farming In Kenya
Pineapple farming is a lucrative business in Kenya due to the favorable climate and soil conditions. The main varieties of pineapple cultivated in Kenya are Smooth Cayenne, Sugarloaf, and MD-2. Farmers can increase their profits by having a well-planned production system in place and utilizing effective pest and disease management practices.
Effective post-harvest handling and proper packaging are important factors for successful pineapple farming in Kenya.
Pineapple Farming In Kenya Pdf
Pineapple farming in Kenya is a major agricultural sector, providing income for many small-scale farmers. It is a labor-intensive crop and requires careful management to ensure a successful yield. Farmers must choose the right variety, soil, and fertilizer for optimal production.
Proper cultivation, harvesting, and post-harvest handling techniques are also necessary to ensure quality fruit. In addition, pest and disease management strategies are essential to ensure a healthy crop.
With the right techniques and strategies, pineapple farming in Kenya can be a profitable venture.
Pineapple Growing Areas In Kenya
Pineapples are widely grown in Kenya, mainly in the coastal, central and western regions. The major growing areas are Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Malindi and Voi. Other areas include Kitui, Machakos, Taita-Taveta, Nyandarua and Narok.
Pineapple Farming In Malindi
Pineapple farming is a major agricultural activity in Malindi, Kenya. The area has favourable climatic conditions for producing high-quality pineapples, with farmers taking advantage of the abundant sunlight and warm temperatures to grow crops.
Farmers use innovative farming methods such as integrated pest management and drip irrigation to ensure optimal yields. More so, farmers are able to benefit from the large market in Malindi, as well as access to export markets.
Pineapple Cultivation Pdf
Pineapple cultivation involves growing pineapple plants in a suitable environment, nurturing them with adequate water, fertilizers and nutrients, and harvesting the mature fruit.
It requires careful planning and management to ensure successful production and economic returns.
The cultivation process involves land selection, soil preparation, propagation, planting, weed control, fertilizer application, irrigation, pest and disease control, and post-harvest management.
Pineapple Cultivation Time
Pineapple cultivation typically takes 18-24 months from planting to harvest. During this time, plants must be consistently monitored and maintained to ensure optimal growth and fruiting.
After harvest, pineapples can be stored for up to 6 weeks if kept at the correct temperature and humidity.
Pineapple Planting Distance
Pineapple plants should be planted 2-3 feet apart, in rows spaced 4-5 feet apart.
Double Row Planting In Pineapple
Double row planting is a technique in pineapple cultivation where two rows of plants are planted together, with one row on each side of a central alleyway and spaced around 1-1.5m apart.
This technique reduces competition for resources, promotes better air circulation, and allows for easier maintenance and harvesting.
How To Grow Pineapple In a Container
- Start with a large container that has good drainage, preferably one that is at least 20 inches wide and deep.
- Fill the container with a nutrient-rich, well-draining potting soil.
- Plant a pineapple crown, available at garden centers or online, in the soil.
- Place the container in a sunny spot and water it regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.
- Fertilize the pineapple every other month with an all-purpose fertilizer.
- Move the container indoors during cold temperatures.
- Harvest the pineapple when it is ripe by cutting off the stem with a sharp knife.
How To Grow Pineapple In Pots
Plant a pineapple top in a pot with well-draining soil and a few inches of sand. Make sure you place the pot in a warm, sunny location and water it regularly.
After several months, the pineapple should begin to grow.
It is important that you apply fertilizer to the soil every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer. Once the pineapple has grown several leaves, cut off the top and transplant it into a larger pot.
Continue to water and fertilize regularly and the pineapple should produce fruit in about 18 months.
How To Grow Pineapple In Garden
- Plant pineapple in a warm, sunny spot in the garden.
- Dig a hole in the soil and insert the pineapple top, the leafy part, into it.
- Water the soil and keep it moist, but not soggy.
- Fertilize with a high-nitrogen fertilizer once a month.
- Harvest fruit when the crowns turn brown, usually 10-12 months after planting.
Growing pineapples in Kenya is possible with the right soil, water, and climate conditions. With proper care and maintenance, pineapples can be grown year-round in Kenya, providing a steady supply of fresh fruit.
By selecting the right variety of pineapple, providing ample water, and keeping the soil well-drained, farmers can successfully grow pineapples in Kenya.