This article focuses on ginger farming in Kenya. Ginger belongs to the Zingiberaceae family. It is mainly grown for its rhizomes which have various uses. It can be used to make spices, medicine or for flavouring purposes.
The lower eastern and coastal regions in Kenya are the most ideal areas for ginger farming.
Varieties Of Ginger Grown in Kenya
- Large yellow variety. (Chinese ginger).
- Small yellow variety. (Japanese ginger).
- Well drained loamy and sandy soils with a pH of 5.5-6.5.
- Altitude of 1500m above sea level.
- Temperature between 25°c- 30°c.
- Rainfall of 1000mm- 2000mm.
Ginger is propagated using rhizomes which are small pieces of ginger.
Before planting, land should be thoroughly prepared and proper weeding be done. About 10 tonnes of manure should be applied to improve soil structure and fertility.
After applying manure, the land should be left for about 14 days before planting is done.
The next step is to prepare beds with a height of 30-40cm and a width of 75-100cm. The rows between the beds should be about 50cm apart.
The ginger rhizomes are then planted on the rows with the growth buds facing up. The plants will start sprouting after about 2-3 weeks.
Before planting the ginger rhizomes, it is advisable to soak them in water for about 10 hours.
Pests and Diseases
Common pests that attack ginger plants include nematodes and cutworms. Common diseases include soft rot, rhizome rot, root-knot nematodes, bacterial wilt and fusarium rhizome rot.
The pests and diseases can be managed by planting healthy materials or resistant varieties, practising crop rotation and proper field sanitation.
With proper spacing, an acre of land can produce 10-15 tonnes of ginger. Harvesting time depends on the use, for example, fresh ginger is harvested after 5 months, dried ginger after 8 months and preserved ginger after about 6 to 7 months.
Harvesting can be done manually or mechanically.
The Market for Ginger in Kenya
The market for ginger in Kenya is wide as it has very many uses/ applications. It can be sold while still fresh in groceries, supermarkets, hotels or open-air markets.
It can also be sold to processing companies such as spice manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and many more.