Coriander farming in kenya: 6 Steps to do it Right

ByElijah Ludenyi

Apr 8, 2023
Coriander farming in kenya or dhania farming

Last updated on March 2nd, 2024 at 05:53 pm

Coriander farming in kenya or dhania farming

Coriander, also known as dhania, is a popular herb that is widely used in Kenyan cuisine. It is also known for its medicinal properties and is used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments.

Coriander farming in Kenya has gained popularity over the years due to its high demand both locally and internationally.

Kenya’s tropical climate makes it an ideal location for coriander farming, with the herb thriving in temperatures ranging from 15 to 25 degrees Celsius.

In addition, coriander requires well-drained soils with a pH range of 6 to 7.5, making it ideal for cultivation in most parts of the country.

Dhania as you call it, is a high-yielding crop that can produce up to 1.5 tons per hectare when grown under optimal conditions.

Making it a profitable venture for farmers looking to diversify their income streams.

Cost ItemCost (in Kenyan Shillings)
Land preparation20,000
Irrigation equipment12,000
Miscellaneous expenses6,000

In addition, coriander has a short maturity period of 30 to 45 days, allowing farmers to harvest their crops within a relatively short period.

According to statistics from the International Trade Centre, Kenya is one of the leading exporters of coriander in Africa.

In 2020, the country exported over 4,500 metric tonnes of coriander, earning over $4 million in revenue. This highlights the potential of coriander farming as a lucrative business venture for farmers in Kenya.

Moreover, coriander/dhania has numerous health benefits, making it a popular ingredient in the health and wellness industry.

It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and has been found to aid in digestion, reduce inflammation, and improve heart health.

In conclusions, coriander farming in Kenya presents an excellent opportunity for farmers looking to diversify their income streams.

With a high demand both locally and internationally, a short maturity period, and numerous health benefits, coriander farming has the potential to be a profitable venture for Kenyan farmers.

The investment for starting a acre land of coriander farm is Ksh. 10,000. This covers costs like labour, seed buying and fertilizers if you’re not able to access organic manure. The profit potential for farmers is Ksh. 40, 000 – 50, 000. Prices may fluctuate based on inflation or market crush.

Also Read: Green Grams farming in Kenya

1. Climate and Soil Requirements for Coriander farming in kenya

Ideal climate conditions for coriander farming in Kenya

In terms of climate, coriander grows best in areas with a temperature range of 17-27°C, with an annual rainfall of 600-800mm.

The herb also requires a lot of sunlight, so it is recommended to plant it in an area that receives full sun exposure.

Soil requirements for growing coriander in Kenya

In terms of soil requirements, coriander prefers well-drained soils with a pH range of 6.0-7.0. The soil should also be rich in organic matter and nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which are essential for the growth and development of the herb.

2. Coriander farming in kenya Land Preparation

Land preparation is a crucial step in coriander (dhania) farming as it sets the foundation for a successful harvest.

In Kenya, coriander is typically grown during the rainy season, but it can also be grown in irrigated areas. The climate and soil conditions play an essential role in determining the success of coriander farming.

In Kenya, the best regions for coriander farming are Kiambu, Meru, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Embu, and Tharaka Nithi.

Land preparation process starts with clearing the land of any debris and vegetation. This can be using manual or mechanical methods such as slash and burn, bulldozing, or hand-clearing.

After clearing, the land is ploughed to a depth of 15-20 cm to loosen the soil and improve aeration. Ploughing also helps to incorporate any crop residues and organic matter into the soil, which improves soil fertility.

Next, the land is harrowed to break down any large clumps of soil and level the land. This process also helps to mix the organic matter and crop residues evenly into the soil.

Finally, the land is levelled to ensure that water is distributed evenly throughout the field during irrigation.

In summary, land preparation is a vital step in coriander farming in Kenya, and proper land preparation practices can result in a bountiful harvest.

Farmers must ensure that they select the right climate and soil conditions, clear the land properly, and use appropriate techniques such as ploughing, harrowing, and levelling to prepare the land.

Also Read: How to Start a Barley Farming in Kenya

3. Seed Selection and Planting of dhania

By doing so, farmers can maximize their yields and achieve success in coriander farming.

To successfully grow coriander, farmers need to follow the right seed selection and planting procedures.

Seed selection is also very crucial for coriander farming as it determines the quality and yield of the crop.

As a serious farmer, you should choose high-quality seeds from a reputable supplier.

It is recommended to use seeds that are certified by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) to ensure they are free from diseases and pests.

After selecting the seeds, farmers can start preparing the land by ploughing, harrowing, and levelling to ensure proper drainage and aeration.

Coriander seeds can be sown either in rows or broadcasted directly into the soil. The ideal planting depth for coriander is between 1-2 cm, and the spacing should be about 15 cm between the rows.

Coriander requires moderate amounts of water, and therefore, farmers need to ensure proper irrigation during the growing season.

Drip irrigation is the most recommended method for coriander farming as it reduces water wastage and provides adequate water to the plant roots.

In addition, farmers should regularly fertilize the crops to ensure optimal growth and yields. The use of organic fertilizers such as compost and manure is encouraged as it enhances soil fertility and minimizes the use of synthetic fertilizers.

Coriander (Dhania) varieties grown in Kenya are;

  • Cilantro
  • Seed coriander
  • Leaf Ciliantro
  • Vietnamese coriander

Successful coriander farming in Kenya requires proper seed selection, land preparation, irrigation, fertilization, and pest control.

Following these procedures, farmers can achieve high yields and quality coriander seeds that can fetch good prices in the market.

Read Also: How to Start a Lettuce Farming Business

4. Fertilizer and Water Management of dhania

Fertilizer and water management are also very important components of coriander (dhania) farming in Kenya. The application of the right type and amount of fertilizers at the right time can significantly increase the yield of the crop.

According to research, coriander requires a well-balanced fertilizer mix, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, for optimal growth and development.

The recommended fertilizer application rate is 50-70 kg/ha of nitrogen, 30-40 kg/ha of phosphorus, and 30-40 kg/ha of potassium. The fertilizer should be applied in two splits, the first at planting time and the second at the 3-4 week stage after emergence.

Water management

Water management is also critical for the successful cultivation of coriander. The crop requires adequate water during the growth stages to ensure optimal development and yield.

Irrigation should be done regularly, especially during the dry season. Over-irrigation can lead to waterlogging, which can cause root rot, while under-irrigation can lead to stunted growth and poor yield.

Weed and pest control

Weed and pest control are also essential in coriander farming. Weeds can compete for nutrients and water, reducing the crop’s yield.

Pests such as aphids, thrips, and mites can cause significant damage to the crop if not controlled early. Integrated pest management (IPM) techniques can be used to control pests and diseases while minimizing the use of chemical pesticides.

Hence, proper fertilizer and water management are vital for successful coriander farming in Kenya.

The application of the right type and amount of fertilizer, combined with effective irrigation and weed and pest control, can significantly increase the crop’s yield and quality. Farmers who adopt these practices can reap the rewards of increased profits and improved livelihoods.

6. Harvesting and Post-Harvest Management

Harvesting Coriander

Coriander plants usually mature within 40 to 60 days after planting. The crop is usually harvested when the seed heads have turned brown and are dry.

Harvesting should be done early in the morning or late in the evening to minimize damage to the plants. The plants should be cut at the base with a sharp knife or sickle, leaving a 2-3cm stem attached to the seed heads.

Post-Harvest Management

After harvesting, the coriander seeds need to be properly cleaned and dried to avoid spoilage. The first step is to remove any plant debris, leaves, or stems that may have been cut along with the seed heads. The seeds can be threshed manually or using a threshing machine to separate them from the seed heads.

Once the seeds have been separated, they should be dried to a moisture content of 10-12% to avoid mould growth or insect infestation.

The seeds can be dried using a solar dryer or a mechanical dryer. It is essential to ensure that the drying process is done in a clean and dry environment to avoid contamination.

After drying, the coriander seeds should be stored in a clean, dry, and well-ventilated storage facility. The seeds should be stored in airtight containers to prevent moisture from entering and causing spoilage. It is also important to store the seeds away from direct sunlight and in a cool place to maintain their quality.

Proper harvesting and post-harvest management practices are essential for coriander farming in Kenya. The process of harvesting and storing coriander seeds requires care and attention to ensure that the seeds remain of high quality and free from contamination. By following these practices, farmers can increase their yield, and improve the quality of their coriander seeds, thereby increasing their income.

7. Marketing and Sales

Marketing and selling coriander seeds in Kenya can be challenging, but with the right strategies and approach, farmers can maximize their profits and reach a wider audience. Here are some facts and tips to consider:

Identify potential buyers and markets

Coriander is a common ingredient in many Kenyan dishes, and it is also used in various industries, such as the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. As a coriander farmer, you can target supermarkets, restaurants, spice companies, and other potential buyers. You can also consider exporting to other countries that have a high demand for coriander.

Develop marketing strategies

To attract buyers and increase sales, you need to develop effective marketing strategies. This can include creating a website or social media page to showcase your products, participating in trade shows and exhibitions, and networking with potential buyers. You can also offer discounts or promotions to encourage customers to buy from you.

Pricing and selling coriander seeds

The price of coriander seeds varies depending on factors such as quality, quantity, and market demand. To set your prices, you need to consider your production costs, the prices of your competitors, and the value you are offering to your customers. You can sell your coriander seeds in bulk or in smaller quantities, depending on the needs of your buyers.

Quality assurance

To ensure that your coriander seeds meet the quality standards of your buyers, you need to invest in quality assurance measures such as testing for purity and moisture content. You can also consider getting certifications such as the Global Good Agricultural Practice (GlobalGAP) certification, which can increase your credibility and attract more buyers.

Government support

The Kenyan government has various initiatives and programs to support farmers, including subsidies, loans, and training. You can take advantage of these programs to improve your farming practices and increase your chances of success in the market.

However, marketing and selling coriander seeds in Kenya requires careful planning, research, and execution.

By identifying potential buyers and markets, developing effective marketing strategies, setting fair prices, investing in quality assurance, and taking advantage of government support, coriander farmers can increase their profits and grow their businesses.

Challenges and Solutions

Coriander farming in Kenya faces several challenges that can impact crop yield and quality. One of the most significant challenges is pests and diseases, which can cause severe damage to the plants and reduce yields. For example, the fungus Fusarium oxysporum can cause wilting and stunting of coriander plants, while aphids and spider mites can cause yellowing and curling of leaves.

According to research conducted by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), the use of integrated pest management (IPM) practices can significantly reduce the impact of pests and diseases on coriander crops. IPM involves the use of a range of methods, including cultural, biological, and chemical control measures, to manage pests and diseases while minimizing environmental impact and promoting sustainable agriculture.

Another challenge faced by coriander farmers in Kenya is access to markets and buyers. While there is a growing demand for coriander both domestically and internationally, many small-scale farmers struggle to find buyers or obtain fair prices for their crops. This can be particularly challenging for farmers who do not have access to reliable transport or who are located in remote areas.

To address this issue, organizations such as the Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA) are working to promote the export of Kenyan coriander and other agricultural products to international markets. Additionally, initiatives such as the Kenya Horticultural Council (KHC) and the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) are helping to connect farmers with buyers and provide training on market access and quality standards.

Despite these challenges, coriander farming in Kenya has the potential to provide significant economic benefits to small-scale farmers and contribute to food security and nutrition. With the right support and resources, farmers can overcome these challenges and cultivate high-quality coriander crops that meet local and international demand.