As the demand for mango fruit increases, more and more people are looking into mango farming as a viable source of income.
In this post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about mango farming in Kenya: from the basics of planting and cultivation to harvesting and post-harvest care. By the end, you’ll have a clear idea of what it takes to start up a mango farm and whether or not it’s the right venture for you.
Mango trees are tropical fruit that performs best in warm, humid climates. They require well-drained soil and adequate sunlight.
When planting mango plants, it’s important to space them correctly. The ideal spacing is 16-20 feet between trees. This will allow for plenty of room for the branches to grow and spread.
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The ecological requirements for mango farming are not stringent, making it an ideal crop for Kenyan farmers.
The tree thrives in well-drained, sandy loam soils with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.8.
Mango trees need at least 1000 mm of annual rainfall, but they will perform better with between 850mm and 1100 mm of rain fall per year.
They should be planted in an area that has a warm climate; the optimum temperature range is 20 to 32 degrees Celsius.
Best regions for mango farming in kenya
The best areas to start mango farming are lowland and midland regions like coastal , some parts of central and Eastern regions.
In order for your mango trees to bear fruit, they need to be properly pruned. The goal of pruning is to remove any dead or diseased branches, while also shaping the tree so that it grows in a healthy and productive way.
When pruning a mango tree, start by removing any branches that are growing in the wrong direction, or are crossing over other branches. You should also remove any dead or diseased branches, as well as any suckers (branches that grow from the base of the tree rather than from a lateral branch).
Finally, thin out the canopy of the tree by removing some of the larger branches. This will allow more light and air to circulate through the tree, which will help to promote healthy growth.
There are different types of mango varieties in kenya which are divided into two.
Local varieties – Dodo,Boribo, and Batawi
Exotic varieties – Apple, Tommy and Kent, among many others
Mango grafting is a process of joining two varieties of mango trees together. The process is done by cutting the top off one tree and inserting it into the trunk of another tree.
The first step in mango grafting is to cut off the top of one tree and then insert it into the bottom of another tree.
This can be done by using a sharp knife or saw to cut off the top, then using a clean cloth to wrap around the cut end before inserting it into the other tree.
The second step is to tie both trees together with string or wire so that they stay connected.
Finally, you need to cover up any exposed areas with soil or mulch so that they don’t dry out and die.
The main reason for grafting mango trees is to produce a more desirable variety of fruit. Grafting can also be used to fix problems with the original tree, such as disease or poor growth.
There are a few pests that can cause damage to mango crops.
Mango Gall fly
The Mango Gall fly lays eggs on the leaves of the mango tree; when the eggs hatch, the larvae eat the leaves, causing them to curl up and die.
Mango Seed Weevil
The Mango Seed Weevil is a small brown beetle that bores into the mango seed, causing it to rot.
Mango scales are small black insects that attach themselves to the leaves and fruit of the mango tree and suck sap from the plant; this can cause the leaves to yellow and fall off, and can also damage the fruit.
Mealybugs are small, soft-bodied insects covered in a white waxy substance; they feed on plant sap, damaging the leaves and fruit of the mango tree.
Thrips are tiny, slender insects that suck sap from the leaves of the mango tree, causing them to turn yellow and fall off.
Before we discuss the various diseases that can affect mango orchards, it’s important to understand the different types of mangoes that are grown in Kenya. There are two main types of mangoes: the Tommy Atkins and the Kent.
Tommy Atkins mangoes are the most popular type grown in Kenya. They are a large fruit with a green skin and a sweet, juicy flesh. They are susceptible to powdery mildew, anthracnose and die back.
Kent mangoes are a smaller fruit with a reddish-orange skin and a tart, acidic flesh. They are resistant to powdery mildew and anthracnose, but susceptible to die back.
Now let’s take a look at some of the most common diseases that can affect them.
Powdery mildew is a fungal infection that causes a white powdery film to develop on the leaves and fruit of the plant. It can be controlled with fungicides, but if left untreated, it can cause significant damage to the crop.
Anthracnose is a fungal disease that causes lesions on the leaves, stems and fruit of the plant. It can be controlled with fungicides, but if left untreated, it can cause significant damage to the crop.
Die back is a bacterial disease that causes the leaves, branches and fruit of the plant to die. It can be controlled with antibiotics, but if left untreated, it can be fatal to the plant.
Flowering and fruiting
Once the mango tree matures, it will start produce flowers that will turn into fruit.
The flowers will stay on the tree for about two weeks until pollination occurs.
Once the mangoes are ripe, they will be a deep yellow or orange color and will be soft to the touch. You can either pluck them from the tree by hand or use a harvesting tool to cut them off.
Once you’ve harvested the mangoes, you’ll need to store them in a cool, dry place and begin the process of preparing them for sale.