This article focuses on lemon farming in Kenya. Lemons are part of the citrus family. They are tree crops that take a long period of time before they start bearing fruits, approximately 3-6 years.
Lemon is mainly grown in the Coastal, Eastern and Rift Valley regions.
Varieties of Lemon Grown in Kenya
There are two main varieties of lemon grown in Kenya. This includes;
- Acid lemons (Lisbon and eureka).
- Sweet lemons (Meyer and ponderosa).
Ecological Conditions for Growing Lemon
- Well distributed annual rainfall of not less than 1000mm.
- Fertile and well-drained soils with a pH of 6-6.5. The soil should also be well aerated. Lemon can be grown in a wide range of soil types.
- Temperature range of 20-30°C.
- Lemons do well in sunny and wind-protected areas.
- For aeration purposes and sunlight penetration, the recommended tree spacing is 7m by 7m.
Disease and Pest Management
Major pests that attack lemons include fruit flies, thrips, aphids, mites, black flies, false coddling moths and ants.
On the other hand, common diseases include anthracnose, leaf spot, damping off, greening disease, scab and canker.
To manage such diseases and pests, you can use foliar fertilisers, fungicides, insecticides and supplements.
Harvesting of Lemon
Lemon takes 3-6 years to start bearing fruits, a period which is ideal for harvesting mature lemons.
An acre of land can hold about 130 lemon trees. One lemon tree can produce up to 300 lemons, meaning it is a profitable venture based on the current market rates. A single lemon costs Kshs 5 in the local market.
Health Benefits of Lemon
- Rich in antioxidants and flavonoids which help in fighting cancer cells boosting the immune system of the body.
- Contain components that aid in treating digestive problems and urinary tract infections.
- Lemons are natural antiseptics that can be used on cuts.
- Rich in Vitamin C which improve calcium absorption by the digestive system.