This article focuses on carrot farming in Kenya. Carrots are root vegetables that are widely grown in Kenya for local consumption. They have a high nutritional value and with a ready market in the country.
Varieties of Carrots Grown In Kenya
- Nebula F1
- Sunrise F1
- Super Koruda
- Napolitana F1
- Well drained loam soil with pH of 5.5-7.0.
- Temperature range of 25-22°c.
- Altitude of 700m above sea level.
- Adequate rainfall. Between 450-600mm during growing period.
- Cool to warm areas. Carrots are sensitive to high temperature.
Land should be deeply ploughed during the dry season. It should be free from any vegetative matter that may hinder growth.
Soil should be raised and loose to allow penetration of roots and for proper drainage.
The propagation of carrots is through direct seeding. The recommended planting depth is 1-2 cm and 30cm by the drill. About 2.5kgs of seeds is enough for an acre.
Germination occurs within 7 days after planting.
Organic manure and commercial fertilisers are highly recommended for application. The fertilisers are necessary for the optimal growth of carrots. They require important nutrients such as nitrogen, calcium and potassium.
During the growth stage, avoid applying nitrogen-based fertilisers. Nitrogen will promote the growth of foliage. It is best to apply fertilisers rich in potassium and phosphate as they promote root development.
You can also apply other fertilisers rich in sulphur and calcium. They aid in chlorophyll formation and regulation of enzymes.
Thinning should be done after 3-4 weeks of planting to ensure proper spacing of the carrots during growth.
Proper weeding should be done to avoid competition for nutrients and other important minerals.
Crop rotation is also highly encouraged to avoid the infestation of diseases.
Pests and Diseases
Common pests that attack carrots include root knot nematodes, cutworms, African armyworm, carrot fly and carrot beetle. The diseases can be eradicated by using insecticides such as confidor.
Common diseases include leaf blight, cottony soft rot disease, powdery mildew, pythium and bacterial soft rot. The diseases can be eradicated through measures such as crop rotation, planting resistant varieties and using fungicides such as melody duo.
Carrots take 3-4 months to be ready for harvesting depending on the variety grown. Harvesting is best done when the soil is still moist.
The market for Carrots in Kenya
Carrots are root vegetables that are locally consumed by many people. They have a ready market and are sold for Kshs 100 per kg in most parts of the country.
They can be sold in open-air markets, groceries, food stores, and supermarkets or supplied to institutions such as hotels, schools, hospitals and many more.