Apple farming is slowly gaining popularity in Kenya. This could be owing to the fruit’s high and rising demand, along with a restricted local supply. The majority of the fruits in the local market originate from South Africa. Kenya’s primary apple supplier is South Africa. Farming of the fruit is currently limited to the highlands of Kiambu, Kitale, and Nandi.
In apple farming, there are three factors to consider in order to achieve a high yield with big juicy fruits. These are:
Ecological requirements for growing apples in Kenya
Plant the orchard on a deep, fertile, well-drained, and well-aerated loamy-sandy soil with a pH of 5.5-6.5, which is slightly acidic to alkaline.
The crop thrives at elevations of 1800m-2800m above sea level, with annual rainfall requirements of 1000mm-1800mm. High rainfall, on the other hand, causes the occurrence of fungal disease. Irrigation is important in areas with limited rainfall because the apple tree requires a lot of water to produce high harvests.
Clearing of all trees, bushes, and plants during land preparation. Remove any obstructions, like stones, that could inhibit root penetration as well. The property should be free of all annual and perennial weeds.
Determine the spacing by the rootstock, variety, and altitude of the location. Dug holes for lesser types, in a square or rectangular shape with a spacing of 3m X 2m or 3m X 3m, and for medium and large varieties, 4m X 4m or 4m X 5m. Apples require a planting hole that is 60cm deep and 60cm broad.
Scrape the top soil from the subsoil and mixed with 250g of TSP and 20kg of manure from the formed hole. To avoid air pockets, restore and firm the topsoil around the root zone before inserting the tree inside the hole. Cover the hole with subsoil, and ensure that the planting hole is level with the surrounding area.
Because the apple tree is a self-sterile crop, it requires the presence of a pollinator in the orchard to enable cross pollination and consequently crop fertilization.
Nutritional needs for apple trees
Apply Fertilizer based on the soil’s requirements as well as the plant’s leaf tissue analysis. So, before you plant the apple seedlings, make sure you’ve done a soil test for your farm. But, as a general rule, urea/CAN use a month after planting to deliver Nitrogen to the plant and boost growth. Farm yard manure, CAN at 125g per tree, and DAP at 150g apply in 2-3 splits per tree every year in the following years.
Export market prices for Kenya apples
Kenya apple market prices have fluctuated over time. Prior to 2019, a kilogram of apples cost $0.97 in 2017 and $0.89 in 2018. In 2019, the export price decreased by 7.067 percent to $0.83 per kg.
Exports to Bahrain, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia were among the best-performing markets for Kenya apples in 2019.
Kenya apples wholesale price
In Kenya, Apples cost between US$ 0.82 and US$ 0.89 per kilogram, or between US$ 0.37 and US$ 0.4 per pound, in 2022. (lb).
The price per kilogram is KES 89.51 in Kenyan Shillings. In Mombasa and Nairobi, the average price for a tonne is US$ 821.66.
In 2019, Kenya’s apple import price was US$0.85 per kilogram.
What are the 5 top health benefits of apples?
1. May lower cholesterol
Apples contain pectin, a natural fibre found in plants. According to a new study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, eating pectin-rich whole apples showed a cholesterol-lowering effect in healthy volunteers when compared to apple juice.
2. May protect against diabetes
Due to their high fibre content, apples have a low glycaemic index (GI). This, paired with its high flavonoid content, may help with weight loss and diabetes prevention by boosting insulin sensitivity.
3. May prevent obesity
Pectin derived from apples has been proven in animal experiments to help manage the gut microbiome (good gut bacteria), which may help prevent obesity and other inflammatory illnesses.
4. May protect against heart disease
Apples are high in polyphenols, which are beneficial plant chemicals, one of which is quercetin, a flavonoid. According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who consumed more quercetin (primarily from apples) had a lower chance of developing a variety of chronic conditions, including heart disease and asthma.
5. May be beneficial for bone health Consumption of fruits and vegetables can cause higher bone density and better bone health. According to the results of a study on healthy women, apples in particular may help to reduce the amount of calcium lost from the body and so increase bone strength.