Mango Farming in Kenya
Mango Farming in Kenya requires time and patience. Most newly planted mango trees will produce fruit in approximately 5 years.
Follow the steps below for a guide on how to grow a mangoes in Kenya.
Mango Farming in Kenya – Planting
Young mango tree
Land should be prepared by deep ploughing followed by harrowing and levelling with a gentle slope for good drainage. Spacing varies from 10 m x 10 m, in the dry zones where growth is less, to 12 m x 12 m, in heavy rainfall areas and rich soils where abundant vegetative growth occurs. New dwarf hybrids like Amrapali can be planted at closer spacing. Pits are filled with original soil mixed with 20-25 kg well rotten FYM, 2.5 kg single super phosphate and 1 kg muriate of potash.
One year old healthy, straight growing grafts from reliable sources can be planted at the centre of pits along with the ball of the earth intact during rainy season in such a way that the roots are not expanded and the graft union is above the ground level. Plants should be irrigated immediately after planting. In the initial one or two years, it is advisable to provide some shade to the young plants and also stake to make them grow straight.
Mango Farming in Kenya – Irrigation
Young plants are watered frequently for proper establishment. In case of grown up trees, irrigation at 10 to 15 days interval from fruit set to maturity is beneficial for improving yield. However, irrigation is not recommended for 2-3 months prior to flowering as it is likely to promote vegetative growth at the expense of flowering.
Mango Farming in Kenya – Inter Cropping
Inter crops such as vegetables, legumes, short duration and dwarf fruit crops like papaya, guava, peach, plum, etc. depending on the agro-climatic factors of the region can be grown. The water and nutrient requirements of the inter crops must be met separately.
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Mango Farming in Kenya – Harvesting and yield
The yield of mango varies greatly, depending upon the variety and agro-climatic conditions prevailing in a region.
Grafted mango trees start bearing from the fifth year onward. However, seedling trees may take 8-10 years.
At the start of bearing at the age of 3 – 4 years the yield may be as low as 10-20 fruits (2-3 kg) per tree, rising to 50-75 fruits (10-15 kg) in the subsequent years, and to about 500 fruits (100 kg) in its tenth year. In the age group-20- 40 years, a tree bears 1,000-3,000 fruits (200-600 kg) in an ”on” year. The productive age of a grafted mango tree is usually 40-50 years, after which the yield declines.
Mango Farming in Kenya – Post Harvest Management
Shelf life of mangoes being short (2 to 3 weeks) they are cooled as soon as possible to storage temperatue of 13 degree Celcius. A few varieties can withstand storage temperature of 10 degree Celcius. Steps involved in post harvest handling include preparation, grading, washing, drying, waxing, packing, pre-cooling, palletisation and transportation.
Mango Farming in Kenya – Packaging
Mangoes are generally packed in corrugated fibre board boxes 40 cm x 30 cm x 20cm in size. Fruits are packed in single layer 8 to 20 fruits per carton. The boxes should have sufficient number of air holes (about 8% of the surface area) to allow good ventillation.
Banks in Kenya have also formulated mango financing schemes in potential areas for expansion of area under mango. Individual mango development schemes with farm infrastructure facilities like well, pumpset, fencing and drip irrigation system etc. have also been considered.
Mango Farming in Kenya – Importance
- Mangoes can be used to make juice, pickles, chutney, fresh fruit, jam/jelly, canned and/or dried fruit among other uses.
- Due to the many products that can be obtained from the mango, it makes it a potential source of foreign exchange for a developing country.
- Source of employment for a considerable seasonal labour force.
- The mango is known for combating nutritional disorders.
- Source of Vitamins