This article focuses on pawpaw farming in Kenya. Pawpaw is also known as papaya. It is a very nutritious fruit that is mainly grown in tropical and subtropical climates.
Varieties of Pawpaw Grown In Kenya
There are very many varieties of pawpaw that can be grown. This includes;
- Solo sunrise
- Red lady dwarf pawpaw
- Moontain pawpaw
- Malkia F1
- Sinta F1
- Golden Caliman
- Red Royal F1
- Hermaphroditic solo pawpaw
According to experts, the best varieties to grow in Kenya are IBP9 and Solo Sunrise.
Ecological Requirements for Growing Pawpaw
- Well distributed rainfall of about 1000mm annually.
- Well drained soils with pH of 6.0 to 6.5. The soil should also have high humus content.
- Altitude should be below 2100m above sea level.
- Temperature range of 20°c to 22°c.
Propagation of Pawpaw
Propagation is by seeds. The seeds can be extracted from already mature pawpaw fruits. The seeds can be sown directly or first grown in a nursery.
The recommended spacing for sowing the pawpaw seeds is 3m by 3m. The planting holes should be 60 cm wide and 60cm deep. With this spacing, an acre of land can hold over 1,000 pawpaw trees.
Before sowing, you need to soak the seeds for at least 48 hours. This is done particularly to break dormancy.
If the seeds are first grown in a nursery, transplant them after about 2 months.
For proper yields, it is advisable to apply necessary fertilisers such as Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) and well-decomposed manure during planting.
Pests and Diseases
Common pests that attack papaya include mealy bugs, spider mites and thrips, nematodes, grasshoppers and crickets.
Diseases include damping off, anthracnose and mosaic.
To counter such pests and diseases, you can practice measures such as crop rotation and also use well-decomposed manure to avoid pests infestation.
Pawpaw fruits mature after 8-9 months. A tinge of yellow colour (at the bottom end) is a clear indication of maturity.
Pawpaw Market In Kenya
A big percentage of the pawpaw produced in Kenya is for local consumption. It is mainly sold in open-air markets, groceries, supermarkets etc.
1 kilo goes for about Kshs 50-60 in the local market.
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