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Strolling into the exciting world of strawberry farming

Though it can be commercially produced on a small farm, strawberry remain largely unexploited as the country spends millions of shillings importing the fruit.

25/Apr/2014 7:58:04 am
Strolling into the exciting world of strawberry farming

By Wilson Maina/October 2010

Despite its high potential to alleviate poverty, earn substantial foreign exchange and suitability to grow in nearly every corner of Kenya on small parcels of land, the strawberry remains largely unexploited as the country spends millions of shillings importing the fruit whose flavor resonates with many tongues.

 It is a favorite in jams, yoghurts, juices, cookies and milkshakes among other products and unconfirmed reports indicate that a prominent personality is growing them for export while manufacturers are importing the berries from Europe.

 Other reports indicate that the government has directed companies which produce/manufacture strawberry products using flavors to use natural fruits, that are rich in calcium, vitamin e; calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and fiber. The companies have started importing the plants and fruits since the local growers cannot satisfy the demand.

This also means there is a ready market for the fruits, which Mr. Mureithi said can be commercially produced on a small parcel of land.

 “Strawberry farming has a high potential to employ very many of our jobless youth,” says Joseph Mureithi, the Principal of Waruhiu Farmers Training Centre. According to Robert Gitau, Rogita Plants Consultants managing director, strawberry farming may be easy but it demands dedication as it requires regular watering, fruits continuously and is harvested weekly.

 There are 42 varieties of strawberries, three for export and the rest for the local market. Chandler, Pajero and Sulphur fall in the hybrid category and are grown for export. Local varieties have a red stem and a thick fur not found with the export ones.

 Strawberries are grown from splits, and are suitable for temperatures of between 10 degrees C and 30 degrees C therefore they can grow in every part of the country. To produce strawberries, one has to prepare the land well. Make/uplift the beds to one metre width making a path of 50cm the beds for easier spray watering. One has to pre bed well by leveling it with.

 Mix the topsoil with manure at 20kg buckets per square metre the bed well with watering cans/drips. From the edge of the bed one has to leave a space of 15cm to make a small hole for the plants, 30cm from plant to plant and 30cm from line to line in an isolated triangle to give the plants enough space to flower on all sides. Before planting one has to apply the planting chemical Molcap, Nembidicene 2gms per hole and mix with the soil then plant the split firmly and level the ground properly. After planting, water every evening.

 In the first month, deflower the first and second flowers to prevent premature cropping and top dress with CAN at one table spoon/10gms per hole between the plants. This helps the plants to take only what it requires. At the second month the plants produce healthy flowers. Top dress with NPK: 17:17 between the plants. Mulching is done at this stage whereby dry grass or hay is used, to help the ground/soil to retain water and for the fruits to lie on, to keep them clean and healthy.

 After 75 days (two-and-a- months), harvesting starts and the plant fruits for three years continuously. Throughout this production period, plants should be well fed to maintain high quality yields. This is by feeding for example with foliar feeds HB1O1. For healthy fruits, keep the bed clean and free of weeds. Like many plants, pruning is vital for the strawberry. It is done after every two months to remove the old and unhealthy leaves.

During the rainy season, the strawberry is attacked by fungal diseases which target the leaves leaving brown spots. It is advisable to spray with a fungicide like COTAF, Master to fight the diseases. Ants are also a big threat to strawberries and it is advisable to spray with a pesticide like ATOM, Tata Umeme, or Vapcomic. After every seven months, thinning is done to remove three splits from every plant making them self- reliable.

To grow strawberries for export, it is advisable to choose high quality hybrids like the chandler. Fruits for export should be harvested when they are 1/4 ripe to avoid over-ripening when they are on the market. After harvesting the fruits stay fresh for 4-5 days.

Strawberry can be used to make jam and yoghurt or lotions and can be taken as a fruit.

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Mr. Gitau said capital, water and seeds are the main basics that have often put off investors. The seed is especially costly with one split going for Ksh300. A commercial farmer requires at least 1,000 splits, therefore not many people can afford them.

 

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30 Comment(s)
kuchenga

hey good people, i have strawberry seedlings and a trainer at very reasonable rates- my no is 0722-244-876,cheers

Entrepreneur Farmer

This is wonderful information. I have invested in strawberry farming and I can attest that it is indeed a lucrative field. For those in search of seedlings, send me an email: entrepreneurfarmer@gmail.com. prices are quite affordable.

jacob

call 0721697976 for seedlings

Kiarie

Hi I am very interested in Strawberry farming. Is there anyone farming this crop near Githurai? I would like to visit the farm and see how it is done

mwangi

glad to learn of this new business line.however i would like to know if i can grow them in open field or must be in a green house.a question earlier was how many plants would grow in an acre?how much are the export quality seedlings and are there any agents dealing with the export market?

Moses

I would like to get in touch with anybody with strawberry seedlings around Nakuru for immediate transaction.

Joseph Muchiri

Thank you a lot for the shared information I dwell in Nakuru could you share more light on where to find the markets.

Kenzie Daniel

Am absolutely for strawberry farming but I would like to know the best and most cost effective method,open field or greenhouse! How about the market?

wikki

i need seedlings iam situated in kakamega town western kenya

Simon

Hi..here again..i ask too if the thinned splits can be planted qualitatively producing healthy plants and fruits. 2:-in as much as it is expensive,where can we get the splits? 3:-can one produce the splits for vegetative purposes commercially. thanks

Joan

thanks for the write up on strawberries. can the thinned splits removed after 7 months be planted to produce quality fruits still?

rebel kimiri

Thanks alot for the information. My query is how can i get the best quality cuttings ?

Allan

Dear all, Kindly contact Mr. Gitau on 0722639716. He will be able to advice on all matters concerning strawberry farming, from seedlings, thinning, diseases and pests, pesticides, and much more.

Martin

Hi, Thanks a lot for this great information. Please assist me on the following questions. 1.How many plants can be planted in one acre? 2.whats the production of a single plant per week or month? Thanks in advance.

Vascaline

Does the type of water matter? I am in an area with salty water. Thanks.

Robert

Thank you for the information provided in this Article. For those who are in need of Strawberries seedlings please contact me through +254727897593. Thanks

Tonyweru

Ive planted 1000 plants of chandler strawberries in Mweiga, Nyeri county,now ive comsumed enough with my family now I have been looking for market to sell the excess but cant find anyone interested where am forced to deflower all of them now i have numerous runnersand enough land to grow more, but am worried to increase acreage cos there's no market.please help my tel. Number is 0753708086

Geoffrey Ndichu

thanks alot for the info about the plant.am from Nakuru and i do have chandler strawberry seedling in plenty.anyone interested can contact me thro 0721-933-907

samuel

ave planted several strawberry plants that is for my family consumption.i have enough land to plant more but who's there to assist in farming and marketing.am in nyeri county.

catherine

catherine i wanted to know whether its a must to grow them in a green house or an open field can do, and for a new person where can i get trained

THE STRAWBERRY FARM KENYA

We at THE STRAWBERRY FARM currently sell pure organic, chemical free strawberry fruits and seedlings. Our seedlings are specially grown from prime, well-manicured nurseries under excellent conditions to guarantee the sweetest, biggest and most nutritious yields. We sell well rooted, ready to plant seedlings picked from high yielding organically grown mother-plants which ensures a 95% successful flowering rate. We also offer a unique on-site training tutorial on how to grow and manage strawberries for both commercial and personal use. We are located on Waiyaki Way. Call 0721630306/0723701237 for more information. THE STRAWBERRY FARM - All things strawberry!

mwangi

please advice on where to get strawberry seeds or seedlings in nakuru town?

David Susu

Hi! Am pleased to learn about strawberry growing. I would kindly like to know much about the market and the availability of seedlings in Kitale.

julia

thanks for the information shared am from mombasa and i would like to know how i can get the strawberry seedlings.

Eugene Otsuongo Juma

The articles are quite encouraging.I wish to start strawberry farming kindly furnish me with all the information i need to make this venture.Am based in bungoma county

Tonyweru

Wakulima in Mweiga join me in this strawberries farming but it's only if you have capital say 20,000/- (1000 seedlings,farm inputs and seedbed preparation),enough water say a minimum of 200ml(ngirathi) per plant in the 1st month afterwards 300ml (fifuteen)per plant twice or once per wk depending on weather condition,lastly Land 15by15mtrs(gîthimo kîmwe).This is minimum or what we call least,this will provide food to your family and atleast educate your child in boarding school better than that farmer with an acre of tea or that farmer in kieni with three to five daily cows which require a lot of care,risks and uncertainities. Join me call my mobile 0727983131

Emily

Interested to start planting strawberries in Iten Elgeyo Marakwet county. What climatic conditions favour it.

kamau peter

Thanks, informative, timely.

jackson

i have strawberry chandler splits available at 12 shillings in nakuru delivery to other towns available 0723798727

THE STRAWBERRY FARM KENYA

We at THE STRAWBERRY FARM currently sell pure organic, chemical free strawberry fruits and seedlings. Our seedlings are specially grown from prime, well-manicured nurseries under excellent conditions to guarantee the sweetest, biggest and most nutritious fruits and seedlings. We also offer hands on practical training on organic strawberry farming. Call us today on 0723701237 or 0721630306 for more information. Email us on thestrawberryfarmkenya@gmail.com .You can also visit our web page http://thestrawberryfarmkenya.kbo.co.ke/ or see our mature beautiful fruits and seedlings on facebook https://www.facebook.com/thestrawberryfarmkenya . All are welcome.

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