This article focuses on bamboo farming in Kenya. Bamboo farming is a profitable agribusiness venture that has not been embraced by many farmers in the country. Bamboo is a valuable plant that grows faster compared to other hardwoods.
Species of Bamboo Grown in Kenya
- Bambusa textilis.
- Juniperus Sabina.
- Bambusa tulda.
- Bambusa vulgaris.
- Pinus kesiya.
- Dendrocalamus maximuslamina.
- Dendrocalamus asper.
- Dendrocalamus gigantess.
- Leucana leucocephala.
- Phyllostachys pubescens.
Ecological Conditions for Growing Bamboo
- Well drained soils with pH of 6.5 to 8.
- Adequate sunlight.
- Moderate rainfall.
- Enough spacing between plants.
Land should be thoroughly prepared before planting. Proper weeding needs to be done to avoid competition that may exist for nutrients.
Soil should be mixed with organic manure or compost manure to improve growth and ensure that the plants are healthy.
Planting holes should be spaced 5m by 5m apart to ensure proper growth of the plants.
It is also advisable to regularly apply fertilisers rich in nitrogen for improved growth and to increase drainage.
Bamboo Pests and Diseases
Bamboo is a high-value plant that is not susceptible to diseases and pests. It contains an antimicrobial agent that prevents the infestation of pests and common diseases such as leaf rust.
Bamboo takes about 3 to 4 years to mature and be ready for harvesting. It is self-reproducing and can be harvested for more than 10 years without re-planting.
Market for Bamboo in Kenya
As mentioned earlier, bamboo is a valuable plant that can be used for various purposes such as ornamental, medicinal and construction purposes.
You can source for market in manufacturing companies that use the plant to manufacture various products. A good example is Bidco and companies that make products such as matchsticks and toothpicks.
Construction/ landscaping companies are also major buyers of bamboo.
To reap big, you need to do a lot of marketing, especially in social media channels to get a good number of clients/ buyers.