Apple farming is catching on in Kenya, with a number of young farmers taking it up. Kate Wambugu is one of those who have ventured into Apple farming in Laikipia County and she is reaping the fruits – quite literally.
In an interview with Business Hour KE, a YouTube channel, Kate Wambugu reveals that she took a decision to venture into apple farming, following in the footsteps of her father, who has had big success in growing apples.
Kate stated that her father begun Apple farming in 1985 and has been generating good income from the business. “My father was the founder of the Wambugu Apple Farm, she said. The farm was named after the old man.
Kate says she developed interest in apples after watching her father develop the farm and reap handsome profits from apples.
She explains that apple farming is not labour intensive as many would imagine, adding that it is easy to take care of the fruit crop, since one only needs land, water and manure to grow the trees.
The market for apples is huge, notes Kate Wambugu, who observes that Kenya imports most of its apples from Egypt, Middle East and South Africa.
“One acre can accommodate about 600 seedlings. Thus, you can begin with few seedlings and expand. One tree can produce close to 200 Apple fruits,” Kate says.
On the farm, Kate advises that manure is the mainstay of Apple farming, but can only work when you apply it well.
While apples can be sold to the local market, there is growing demand in international markets such as Canada, Brazil, Australia, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany among other countries.
Before selling or exporting to other global countries, the fruits are first certified by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).
Kate says apples perform well in cold regions, specifically tea and coffee zone areas. “Apple is a temperate fruit, which requires cold weather to break its dormancy,” Peter Wambugu, Kate1s father, said in separate interview with Standard.
Traditional apples start producing fruits two years after planting, but the variety grown by the Wambugus matures within Nine months.
“Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization and the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service approved the apple variety after thorough analysis”, Kate said.