This article focuses on chia seeds farming in Kenya. Chia seeds farming is a profitable agribusiness venture that was first introduced to the Kenyan market in 2017. Since then, many farmers have ventured into the practice, thanks to the increased demand in the local and international market.
Chia seeds are mainly grown in areas such as Bungoma, Homabay, Nakuru, Busia, Nanyuki and Meru.
Benefits of Chia Seeds
- Chia seeds are rich in omega 3 fats that aid in lowering cholesterol levels in the body.
- They are rich in dietary fibre.
- Chia seeds are rich in important minerals such as calcium, niacin, phosphorus and magnesium.
Ecological Conditions for Growing Chia Seeds
- Hot and warm environment.
- Soils with high acidity and rich in nitrogen.
- Temperature range of between 11°c to 36°c.
Planting of Chia Seeds
Propagation is by seeds which are sown directly in the soil. The seeds are very tine. It is not necessary to dig planting holes. They can be planted by simply sprinkling the seeds on the ground.
Sprouting of the seedlings is after about 10 days, that is if you water regularly.
Pests and Diseases
Chia seeds are not susceptible to diseases. They have leaves with essential oils that repel pests and other harmful insects.
Chia seeds take about 3 months to fully mature, after which they can be harvested manually. After harvesting, it is important to dry them for about 5 days before storage.
Average yield of chia seeds is 300-400 kgs per acre.
Market for Chia Seeds in Kenya
Chia seeds have a high demand in the local and international market. A kilo of chia seeds goes for about Kshs 570 in the local market.
Major Buyers of Chia Seeds in Kenya
- Momentum Trust ( a Danish company based in Kenya).
- Jade Concepts Ltd.
- Total K Ltd.
- Richfarm Kenya.
- Healthy U Two Thousand Ltd.