• 27/06/2022

Exploring Possibilities Of Grape Farming In Kenya


Sep 26, 2021

Grape farming has been undertaken by humans for millennia, possibly it’s the earliest cultivated fruit. Many people view grapes as an exotic fruit in Kenya which can only be farmed under special conditions. This is misleading and a very uninformed viewpoint. Kenya has been listed as one of the best geographic regions for grape cultivation on earth,also known as viticulture.

A healthy,well developed bunch of grapes ready for harvest

Kenya has all the conditions required for grape farming; warm climate with very sufficient and satisfactory relief,good well loamy soils almost in all the agricultural zones,and more importantly a thriving and hungry market in need of grapes. Grapes can be a headache if you go into the cultivation without planning and preparation. The first thing to think about is the location of your vineyard,it must be located in such an area that it receives enough daily sunlight.

Young vines in a field in their early developmental stages

The success of your vineyard will depend highly in the site you have selected. The next critical decision to make is the ease of reaching the market. For your produce to get to the target market while fresh and fetch high prices,the vineyard should be near a market center and away from woodlands or overgrown areas to avoid pestilence and theft. Vineyards are very labor intensive and therefore be prepared to source labor when needed to the farm at affordable costing that won’t leave you bankrupt.

Be sure to choose a vine that is adapted to your local soil and environment. This matching can be cheaply done by the supplier of your vines,all you need is a soil sample and a vine variety suited to your local zone will be availed. Taking into consideration the market preference,don’t grow grape varieties not liked by buyers. When developing your vineyard be sure to locate it far away from other farms that use herbicides because these chemicals  end up influencing the quality of your produce. And contamination is eminent.

Remember your vineyard is a lifetime decision and it will be so for generations after you because vines never get old under proper care. Therefore do a thorough research before commencing on developing a vineyard. Local suppliers of vines retail at an approximated price of KShs 300/- per vine,they are many and it is your decision as a farmer to choose who will supply your farm.

It is time Kenyan farmers ditch the growing of conventional crops which are prone to market exploitation and manipulation,and start farming smart with new and better paying crops.

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I write about the human condition:what make's us who we are,who we can be and how to perfect ourselves.

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