How to grow chili peppers in Kenya

This is the chili farming in Kenya definitive guide with all information and answers to guide you on how to grow chili peppers in Kenya. Be it you want to start commercial chili farming or chili farming for domestic purpose this guide is prepared specifically for you. Before venturing into chili farming in Kenya there are some of the questions you have been asking yourself we intend to answer all of these questions on this guide;

  • Areas where chili farming is done in Kenya?
  • How many kilograms of chili can one acre of land produce?
  • How to start chili farming
  • How profitable is chili farming in Kenya
  • Chili pests and diseases in Kenya
  • What is the best fertilizer for chili farming?
  • Which is the best month for growing chili in Kenya
  • How long does it take for chili peppers to mature
  • chili seed rate per acre in Kenya
  • What is the market for chili in Kenya

HOW TO GROW CHILI IN KENYA

PLANTING

Chili is grown in Kenya to be used as a spice and ingredient. Before planting of chili these are some of their ecological conditions, chili requires medium rainfall because excessive rainfall can cause leaf shedding and minimum rainfall causes stunted growth, Chili are sensitive to frost hence require warm temperatures the optimum temperature for  growth of chili fruits are 20 to 30 degrees Celsius. Chili should also be grown in light loamy, non-acidic well-draining soil.

SEEDLINGS PREPARATION

Chili are always grown from seedlings where they are raised in nursery then transplanted to the main field. To prepare your seedlings in the nursery  make raised beds of soil 1m wide and the length of your convenience, mix the soil with farmyard manure then make uniform furrow drills across the bed. The furrows should be 10 cm apart, now sow seeds on the furrows and cover with light soil. To protect the seedlings on the nursery bed, mulch the nursery bed. Continuous care of the nursery by weeding and watering continues until the seedlings are ready to be transplanted this is when they are 8 to 10cm tall and with at least 4 true leaves. You should also consider thinning of the seedlings.

SEED RATE FOR CHILI

The approximate seed rate for chili peppers is about 400 to 500grams of seeds per hectare depending on spacing

When your chili seedlings are ready now it’s ready for transplanting land to be transplanted to should be properly ploughed and harrowed free from weeds. Always remember to transplant your seedlings in the evening and directly after it is uprooted from the nursery bed. On the actual land make holes with spacing of 40cm within rows and 50 cm between rows. You may choose to intercrop to save on land and supplement your income.

FERTILIZER APPLICATION

The rate for fertilizer application for chili is 10tons per ha of farm yard manure or compost or 2 handfuls per planting holes. You may also choose to apply 250kgs per ha of DAP during transplanting. CAN of 100kg per ha can be used for topdressing when the chili are 15cm tall

Regular farm practices for chili farm continues as you wait for maturity

Soil conditioning: This is done by application of manure to the soil this is done in moderation too much nutrients or too little nutrients may damage your chili plantation

Weeding: this is the removal of unwanted plants on the area where you may have grown your potatoes. Weeds harm the proper growth of the chili plantation

Monitoring: this is done by frequently checking for pest and diseases. Some pests may invest in chili making it necessary for integration of pest management practices pest affecting chili in Kenya include aphids, mites, thrips and white flies. Diseases for chili include; Anthracnose, bacterial wilt, Late blight, downey, Mildew and Rust

HARVESYTING OF CHILI

Chili fruits are ready for first picking between 3 months after transplanting Picking continues for about 4 months. It is always recommended to pick the red ripe chilies first as soon as they appear chilies should also be picked without stalks. Consider also not to take the damaged, overripe green chilies to the dryer

MARKETTING OF CHILLI IN KENYA

Chili farming has proved to be a very profitable venture in Kenya, Chili is exported to countries like France, United Kingdom, Spain and Germany, chili is also sold locally in markets supermarkets and various institutions Chili storage is in sacks or crates. Depending on management, an acre of chili can produce up to 1000 to 3000kgs 1kg of chili can cost up to 50 to 70 shillings which varies according to time and availability. This should proof how profitable is chili farming in Kenya.

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