Groundnuts Farming In Kenya

This article focuses on groundnut farming in Kenya. Groundnuts are early-season crops that are mainly grown in the western parts of the country. Most of the farmers in Kenya grow groundnuts on small scale for subsistence and commercial purposes.

Varieties Of Groundnuts Grown in Kenya

  • Red oriata
  • Attica
  • Manipinta
  • Homabay
  • Texas peanut
  • Red valencia
  • Nyanda
  • Mwenje
  • Makulu red
  • Bukena

Ecological Requirements

  • Warm areas below 1500m above sea level.
  • Temperature range of 28-30°c.
  • Deep well drained soil. Can grow in all types of soil except heavy soil.
  • Well-distributed rainfall of 500-600mm.
  • A pH of 5.5- 6.5.

Land Preparation

Land should be thoroughly ploughed to a fine tilth early enough before planting. Prepare ridges with flattish tops and with proper spacing, probably 80cm apart.

Planting

Groundnuts are early-season crops that should be planted at the onset of rain. The best planting season is between February- March or August- September.

Planting is best done when the ground is moist for proper germination. It is advisable to do so about 2 weeks after the onset of rain.

Seeds can be sown in rows with a spacing of 30-45 cm and 15-20 cm between plants and a depth of 5-6 cm.

Fertiliser Application

Groundnuts require fertilisers rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. They don’t require nitrogen-rich fertilisers because they are leguminous.

You can apply fertilisers such as Single Super Phosphate (100kg/ha) and Triple Super Phosphate (80-90kg/ha).

Pests and Diseases

Common diseases that attack groundnuts include damping off, aspergillus crown rot, bacterial wilt and groundnut rosette virus. The diseases can be controlled by intercropping with cereals, planting resistant varieties and using fungicides such as benomyl and captafol.

Harvesting

Harvesting can be done after about 100 days. An indication of maturity is plump kernels or dark markings inside the pod shells. One hectare can yield 400-700kgs of groundnuts depending on the variety planted.

After harvesting, it is advisable to dry the groundnuts to avoid aflatoxin contamination.

The market for Groundnuts in Kenya

There is a wide market for groundnuts in Kenya. They are fast-selling produce that can be sold in open-air markets, shops, food stores, supermarkets and many other places.

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Zack Abuyeka

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