This article focuses on parsley farming in Kenya. Parsley is a herb that is used in flavouring food. Its production is not at a satisfactory level as it is still a new concept to most small-scale farmers in the country.
Varieties of Parsley Grown in Kenya
There are two main varieties of parsley grown in Kenya. This includes;
- Flat leaved parsley
- Curly leaved parsley
Ecological Conditions for Growing Parsley
- Fertile and well-drained loamy soils with a pH of 6.0- 7.0.
- Rainfall between 950-1000mm.
- Good amount of sunlight, 6-8 hours of sunlight on a daily basis.
- Temperature range of 20-24°c.
- Altitude of up to 2100m above sea level.
- It doesn’t tolerate water logging. Therefore, controlled watering should be exercised.
Land should be thoroughly prepared during the dry season. It also should be ploughed deep as parsley is a deep-rooted plant.
Propagation and Planting
Propagation is by seeds which are sown directly in the field or land. The seeds take about 3-4 weeks to germinate. This is a long period of time. Therefore, it is advisable to soak the seeds overnight in optimizer to initiate germination.
During the growing period, the plant requires constant moisture. For this case, drip irrigation is recommended.
After land preparation/ ploughing, you can apply well decomposed organic matter to increase soil fertility. The organic matter should be thoroughly mixed with soil.
DAP fertiliser can also be used during planting. For top dressing, you can use fertilisers such as CAN, mono ammonium sulphate and ammonium sulphate.
Pest and Disease Management
Common pests that attack the parsley plant include red spider mites, white flies and aphids. The pests can be controlled using insecticides and biological agents such as diglyphus isae and califocus.
Common diseases include stem rot and leaf spot. This can be controlled by practicing proper field hygiene.
Parsley matures after about 70-90 days when the leaf stems have 3 segments. A few leaves can be plucked if harvesting is for domestic consumption. If harvesting is for commercial purpose, then the whole stems are cut.
Market for Parsley in Kenya
The major market for parsley in Kenya is Indian or Hindi hotels. A great percentage is also exported to other countries.
Locally, the price per kg of parsley is between Kshs 100-150. The price also varies depending on the market demand.
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