This article focuses on plums farming in Kenya. Plums are seasonal fruits that are mainly grown in the central highlands of Kenya. The fruits flood the local markets from December to early March.
Varieties Of Plums Grown in Kenya
- Santa Rosa.
- Well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5- 6.5.
- Temperature between 15°c- 24°c.
- Well-distributed rainfall above 1000mm.
- Exposure to sunlight for at least 8 hours daily.
- Altitude between 1700-2600m above sea level.
Land should be well ploughed to a medium tilth early enough before planting. All weeds should be removed, this is to avoid competition that may exist with the plants for important nutrients and water.
Plums are best propagated asexually by grafting with proper rootstock materials. Experts recommend myrobalan seedlings as the best rootstock for plums. Planting should be done at the onset of rains.
Planting holes need to be deep and wide, with a recommended planting space of 5m by 6m.
After planting, it is advisable to water the plants and apply mulch for moisture retention.
During the flowering stage, well-decomposed organic manure can be used. For proper establishment of trees, phosphorus-rich fertilisers can be applied.
Pests and Diseases
Common pests that attack plums include aphids, stem borers and mealy bugs. Common diseases include root rot, blossom wilt, brown rot, scab and rust.
The pests and diseases can be controlled by practising proper field hygiene, planting resistant varieties and using recommended insecticides and pesticides.
The best way to determine whether the plums are ready for harvesting is by gently applying pressure on the fruits. If the skin of the fruits feels supple, then you can harvest.
The Market for Plums in Kenya
Plums are very nutritious fruits with a wide market locally and in the export market. Locally, they have a huge market in groceries, supermarkets and open-air markets.
A kilo of the fruits retails at Kshs 300 depending on the season.