Ginger farming in Kenya business tips and market guide
May 23, 2022
Ginger, also known as Tangawizi, is not widely grown in Kenya. However, there is strong domestic and international demand, with 90% of the Ginger used in Kenya coming from Tanzania, Uganda, China, India, South Africa, and Ethiopia. However, Ginger Farming is not as common as it ought to be.
Kenya produced 93 tonnes of ginger worth 9,672,000 shillings in 2018, up from 84 tonnes in 2017, according to the Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD).
However, exports were insignificant, reaching only 704 kg in 2019 compared to 32.5 kg in 2017. Kenya did not sell Ginger in 2018. Although domestic production remained low, Kenya could not achieve the quantity needed to become regarded as a regular exporter to the global export market.
But local shortages are now drawing some farmers into the harvest.
Ginger Farming Explained
Carol Chelangat, a herb and spice grower, said she started growing Ginger in 2019 on an acre of land due to scarcity in the country. With less competition in the domestic market, earnings are still good. Each kilogram of ginger seed sown gets 10 to 20 kilograms of fresh produce. Now they have 10 acres of Ginger growing land.
To increase local production, their customers mainly import Ginger from Uganda. Of these, 60% is consumed domestically, and 40% is exported to European countries.
“There are a few ginger plantations in the country. Therefore, we import to meet the standards for domestic consumption. Many farmers focus on tomatoes, corn, and other horticultural products. Apparently, it is because of the limited knowledge of ginger farming and the lucrative international market,” said Caro.
In 2018, direct imports of dried Ginger to Europe from 127 developing countries amounted to 127,000 tonnes, according to the CBI Import Promotion Center for Developing Countries. China remains the largest ginger exporter in Europe. Other top exporters to the EU are Peru, Nigeria, Brazil, Thailand, and Burkina Faso.
Herbs and Spices Propagators recommend that beginners need 500-1000 kg of seed per acre for an average yield of 10-20 tons of product. They estimate that a farmer can spend 243,000 shillings to cultivate an acre of land. That means a profit of 522,000 shillings, assuming farmers sell their Ginger for less than 75 shillings/kg. Production costs include seed prices, first and second harvests, drainage costs, fertilizer, and labor budgets for planting and harvesting.
In Caro’s experience, “Ginger has low pest resistance and is easy to control. Because it does not decompose, it can be rinsed and harvested when the demand is high. You can dry Ginger and sell it as leftovers or powder with added value and earn double.”
The most common type of Ginger in Kenya is the hybrid (Jamaica) variety with a large rhizome. The coastal, western, and Nyanza regions have favorable growing conditions. However, Ginger is hardy and thrives in many parts of the country.
Green Ginger is favored in the domestic market in Kenya, while dried Ginger is produced for export. The culture is fully mature in 6-8 months when the leaves turn yellow and begin to dry. However, for vegetable purposes, the rhizomes are harvested after 180 days.