How to grow garlic in Kenya which can be found in West Africa is the next question that we want to answer to help you make a good decision about when, where, and How to grow garlic in any part of Kenya well and smoothly
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Garlic cultivation in Kenya can be a lucrative business if done right. Garlic, also known as ‘Kitunguu Saumu,’ belongs to the onion family and is a valuable horticultural plant in Kenya due to its high demand and favourable returns.
Read Also: HOW TO GROW GARLIC IN WEST AFRICA
But, you might wonder, why would people seek garlic despite its unpleasant odour. Not just in Kenya, but also in a wide range of French, Mediterranean, Spanish, Italian, and Mexican dishes, garlic is used in the preparation of particular cuisines.
As a result, it is in high demand both locally and internationally. Garlic has a variety of medical benefits in addition to its economic usefulness. Do you want to make money from this enterprise as well? Look no further; we’ll show you how to effectively plant garlic in this article.
To begin with, garlic is believed to help prevent colds and flu by boosting the immune system and therefore improving the body’s natural defences. Second, garlic is a powerful anti-oxidant containing components including disulphide, sallycystein, and diallyl that help shrink tumours and delay their growth.
Finally, garlic aids the body in the battle against bacterial, fungal, and viral illnesses such as recurring yeast infections, cholera, acne, typhus, wound healing, and candida Albicans, to name a few.
Garlic can also aid in the prevention of heart disease and the management of high blood pressure. Garlic has aphrodisiac effects and can therefore be used to treat impotence.
Few farmers in Kenya are participating in the venture due to a lack of expertise about how to grow garlic. Furthermore, some garlic growers produce unmarketable garlic because of poor quality.
As a result, China supplies almost 80% of the crop in the Kenyan market. Are you interested in becoming a successful garlic grower? Well, keep reading because this post will provide you with a Garlic planting guide to get you started.
KENYAN GARLIC FARMING PROFIT PER ACRE
Garlic cultivation is a profitable business, with demand peaking in the months of May, June, July, August, and September when a kilo of garlic costs between KSh. 300 and KSh. 400. Prices drop to roughly Sh 150 to 200 in December and January when demand is consistent.
Nonetheless, despite the price fluctuations, garlic is unlikely to dip below Sh 150 per kilo anytime soon.
Let’s do some fast calculations with that in mind. Garlic can be grown on a small scale or on a vast scale.
If you want to grow garlic on a small scale in one acre, you’ll need 100 kg of garlic seeds, which cost around Sh 390 per kilo. As a result, the production cost will be 390 X 100 = $39,000.
A single acre of land can provide 4,000 to 5,000 kg of the crop. If you harvest 4,000 kilos and sell them at Sh 350 per kilo during peak season, your total profit will be 4000 X 350 = 1,400,000 – 39,000= 1,361,000. Isn’t it amazing?
Even if you account for the cost of inputs such as fungicides, fertilizers, and pesticides, you will still get a good return on your investment, thus garlic onion farming in Kenya will certainly make you smile all the way to the bank.
Garlic producers in Kenya confront a number of obstacles, the most significant of which is the high cost of farm inputs such as fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers used to control pests and diseases such as worms, nematodes, leaf minors, rust, and thrips.
Furthermore, acquiring high-quality seeds is difficult, and when you do, the seed cloves are pricey.
A kilo of seed cloves costs Ksh 390, and 100 kilograms of seeds are required for a one-acre plot of land, which costs Ksh 39,000. Last but not least, garlic farmers are up against a lot of competition from imported garlic from Asia.
HOW TO GROW GARLIC IN KENYA
When producing garlic in Kenya, you must have a thorough understanding of the local seed varieties, soil appropriateness, and suitable climate conditions in which the crop can thrive.
We’ll go through the many stages of growing garlic in Kenya, as well as the necessary processes and what you should be aware of.
Garlic is grown from seed cloves, so if you want to cultivate your own, you’ll need to buy certified garlic seeds that have completely matured cloves and are disease-free. Such seeds can be purchased from a garden centre or a Seed Company that has been approved.
Choose the largest seed cloves while choosing the best seed cloves since they will produce a larger harvest than small ones.
Softneck, hardneck, and elephant garlic are the three principal varieties that thrive in Kenya. Softneck is the most common, with white, paper-like skin with a strong taste and odour. It’s one of the simplest plants to grow. Creole, California Early, and California Late are some of the softneck kinds.
The hard neck is distinguished by its tan and purple patterns. It’s a clove type with larger heads and fewer cloves per head.
Hardneck, on the other hand, does not store as well as softness over longer periods of time. Roja and German Extra Hearty are two Hardneck varietals.
Elephant garlic is a popular kind that can be purchased in many grocery stores across the country. A large head and large cloves distinguish this kind. In addition, as compared to the first two forms of garlic, it has a faint flavour and a slight odour.
Garlic growing thrives in medium to high elevations of 500-200 meters. Garlic also necessitates high temps of 30°C for optimum bulb development. Cooler temperatures, on the other hand, are desirable during the early phases of plant establishment since they aid in vegetative growth.
As a result, the best temperature for producing garlic is between 12 and 24 degrees Celsius.
It’s worth mentioning that excessive rain and humidity are harmful to garlic’s vegetative growth and bulb formation, thus the crop will do well in locations with little rainfall, potentially supplemented with irrigation during the early stages when water is at a premium.
Garlic should be planted on soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.8. As a result, garlic may be grown in most Kenyan soils as long as they drain effectively, as the crop performs poorly in waterlogged soils. Farmers should avoid planting garlic on clay soils as much as possible since it inhibits bulb enlargement.
Additionally, the soil must be carefully prepared, with loose and airy depths of up to 6- 8 inches, and must be dry and free of pebbles and plant debris. Mix the soil with organic manure before ploughing to ensure optimum yield. This will aid in bulb production.
PLANTING LOCATION AND SPACING
Garlic cultivation is not as difficult as it appears. All you have to do now is pick the best cloves and separate them with 30cm between rows and 15cm or 6 inches between each plant. Dig and build 25cm-deep ditches with a hoe. Sow a single garlic clove with the root facing up and the point facing up the hole.
Cover the clove with loose and airy soils after that. Repeat the technique until all of the seeds are placed 6 inches apart. Make sure the second row of seeds is 2 feet or 60cm away from the first. To avoid over-watering, water the rows softly and stop when the soil surface is slightly damp. If there is too much water, the seed cloves will decay before they can sprout.
MULCH AND MANURE ARE APPLICATION.
After planting your garlic seeds, cover them with a thick layer of mulch to protect them from the elements. You can use a 4 to 6-inch covering of straw, chopped leaves, or grass to cover the rows.
The seeds will insulate as a result, protecting them from harsh winter circumstances. This mulch should be removed on the first day of spring, when temperatures are between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, as this is when the garlic seeds will begin to sprout.
Apply a mild all-purpose fertilizer every 30 to 40 days after removing the mulch and with temperate temperatures in the spring. The ideal fertilizers are 5-5-5 or 10-10-10, which indicates the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the fertilizer.
Apply the fertilizer by sprinkling its granules on the sprouting garlic, being careful not to let the granules touch the actual plant, as they may burn it or cause other problems. The fertilizer should be applied at a rate of 34 per 100 square feet, according to most manufacturers.
HOW TO WATER GARLIC IN KENYA
Garlic growing flourishes in well-drained soils that are free of waterlogging, as previously stated. Garlic requires less water, and when the seeds are covered in mulch, there is no need to water them. If there isn’t much rain during the season, water the garlic after a couple of weeks.
A light one-inch-deep watering is sufficient. However, if there are reasonable rains every 10 to 14 days, there is no need to water.
DISEASE PREVENTION AND CONTROL
Weed management is the most common of the field management strategies used in garlic farming in Kenya, as they must be eradicated to avoid competition for nutrients, light, and water.
Crop rotation, which involves planting new garlic seeds in places that have gone long without garlic or onion plants, is one strategy to keep weeds at bay when growing garlic.
You can also get rid of weeds by manually hoeing, mulching, cultivating, or spraying herbicides on them. Early weed control is critical because it prevents significant crop loss.
To limit and remove nematodes in the field, employ copper oxychloride and other soil fumigants for pest prevention and control.
HARVESTING AND STORING OF GARLIC IN KENYA
Garlic should never be harvested too soon or too late because it will degrade the quality of the product. To determine the best time to harvest, keep track of the growing months for 4 to 6 months.
Because garlic heads sink in the soil and different types mature at different times, determining the exact harvesting time can be difficult.
As a result, as a guide for harvesting, inspect the foliage and see if it has turned brown and died back.
After you’ve dug out the crops, bundle them in tens or fifteens and dry them in a well-ventilated area. Keep them there for three to four weeks, until the roots and shoots have dried out.
Remove the outer skin without removing the gloves by cutting off the tops about one inch above the main bulb and roots. Once you’ve removed any remaining soil, your bulbs are ready to sell.
Depending on whether you’ll use the garlic as table stock or planting stock, you’ll need to preserve it in perfect storage conditions while you wait to sell it.
If you want to use them as table stock, keep them between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 60 to 70 per cent humidity; temperatures above 40 degrees will encourage sprouting, while moisture above 70 per cent will stimulate rooting.
Planting stock, on the other hand, requires storage at ambient temperature with a relative humidity of 60-70 per cent.
TO SUM UP
All of the processes involved in garlic cultivation in Kenya are delicate, and each garlic producer must learn to identify the source of any problems they find and how to deal with them. To be successful in garlic cultivation, you only need to conduct a thorough study.
Garlic, also known as ‘Kitunguu Saumu,’ belongs to the onion family and is a valuable horticultural plant in Kenya. Garlic cultivation is a profitable business, with demand peaking in the months of May, June, July, August, and September.
Garlic producers in Kenya confront a number of obstacles, the most significant of which is the high cost of farm inputs such as fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers. Even if you account for the cost of inputs, you will still get a good return on your investment.
The hard neck is a clove type with larger heads and fewer cloves per head.
It thrives in medium to high elevations of 500-200 meters. Garlic should be planted on soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.8 for optimum growth. Garlic growing flourishes in well-drained soils that are free of waterlogging.
To avoid over-watering, water the rows softly and stop when the soil surface is slightly damp. Weed management is the most common field management strategy used in garlic farming in Kenya.
Garlic should never be harvested too soon or too late because it will degrade the quality of the product. To determine the best time to harvest, keep track of the growing months for 4 to 6 months. Garlic heads sink in the soil and different types mature at different times.
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