So you want to start a cucumber farm in Kenya? But let me guess you want to understand what cucumbers are, and if they’re profitable.
Cucumbers are a nutritious and lucrative crop, and with the right preparation, you can be harvesting them by the bucketload in no time.
In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about cucumber farming in Kenya.
We’ll discuss the cost of starting a farm, the climate and soil requirements, the best varieties to plant, and the market potential for cucumbers.
Plus, we’ll give you some tips on how to care for your plants and harvest your cucumbers.
So what are you waiting for? Start reading and learn everything you need to know about cucumber farming in Kenya.
Benefits and Nutrients of Cucumber Farming in Kenya
When you start a cucumber farm in Kenya, you are tapping into a vegetable that is not only rich in nutrients, but has a host of health benefits as well.
Here are some of the key nutrients found in cucumbers include vitamin C, vitamin K, B vitamins and potassium.
Cucumbers also contain phytonutrients, which are plant compounds that have beneficial effects on health. These phytonutrients include lignans (PHYTO) and flavonoids (PHYTO), which have been found to reduce the risk of cancer, and cucurbitacin E, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
So why not start a cucumber farm in Kenya today? Not only will you be supplying your family and community with a nutritious vegetable, but you’ll also be enjoying the health benefits that come with it.
What Counties Does Cucumber Do Well in Kenya
The good news is that cucumber farming is doable in most parts of Kenya. However, some counties are better suited for this crop than others.
So, if you’re looking to start a cucumber farm, we recommend you consider the following counties: Kisumu, Nandi, Nakuru, Busia, Bungoma and Kericho. These counties have the right climatic and soil conditions for cucumber farming, and they also have a sizeable market for this crop.
Preparing, Planting and Caring for Cucumber
Before you can plant cucumbers, there are a few things you need to do:
- Till the soil to a depth of 12 inches.
- Add 3 inches of organic matter, such as compost or manure, and mix it in well.
- Rake the soil surface smooth.
- Apply a pre-planting fertilizer such as 10-10-10 at the rate of 2 pounds per 100 square feet.
- Dig planting holes 12 inches apart in rows that are 24 inches apart.
- Plant cucumber seeds 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart in the planting holes.
- Water the planting holes thoroughly and then mulch with 4 to 6 inches of organic matter, such as straw, leaves or compost.
Once your cucumbers are planted, you need to take care of them:
- Keep the soil moist but not wet; cucumbers will rot if they’re waterlogged.
- Apply a balanced fertilizer such as 20-20-20 at the rate of 1 pound per 100 square feet every two weeks.
- Weed your cucumber bed regularly so the plants have room to grow; a thick weed mat can suppress growth and reduce yields.
- Control pests and diseases with organic or chemical methods as needed.
- Harvest your cucumbers when they reach the desired size and color; overripe cucumbers will be soft and tasteless.
Climatic and Soil Conditions for Cucumber Farming in Kenya
If you are planning to start a cucumber farm of your own in Kenya, it is important to keep in mind the climatic and soil conditions of the region. The ideal climate for cucumbers is warm and sunny, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C.
The soil should be moist but well-drained, with the ideal pH level being between 6.5 and 7.5.
Also, make sure the soil is free of pests and weeds, as well as free of diseases that may affect your crops.
It is best to use organic fertilizers such as manure or compost on your cucumber plants, rather than chemical fertilizers, because they are more beneficial for the environment and overall health of your plants.
Mulching can also help retain moisture in the soil and prevent weed growth as well.
Varieties of Cucumbers to Plant in Kenya
Are there different varieties of cucumbers you can grow in Kenya? The answer is yes!
There are a variety of cucumber varieties available that can do well in Kenyan climate and soil.
Some popular varieties for Kenya include the ‘Indian Profile’ which produces large cylindrical fruits, ‘Trouble Maker’ which has bitter-free fruits with a crisp texture, ‘Tatume’ which is known for its disease resistance, and ‘Cuctsan’ with its highly productive vines.
So when selecting your cucumber seeds, look for varieties that are best suited for your land and climate type.
No matter what variety you choose, make sure to prepare the soil before planting by adding organic material like compost and manure to enrich it.
You should also consider planting your cucumber in raised beds or containers to help with water drainage and provide better access to nutrients. Don’t forget to stake or trellis them as they grow.
With the right preparation, you’ll be on your way towards reaping a healthy harvest of delicious cucumbers.
Market Size and Opportunities for Cucumber Farming in Kenya
If you’re interested in cucumber farming in Kenya, then you’re probably curious to know the market size and opportunities. Kenya is considered one of the biggest exporters of cucumbers in Africa, so there’s definitely an excellent opportunity for you to make good profits from your farm.
The local market is also quite lucrative because of the high demand for cucumbers.
However you could easily connect with retailers and wholesalers who would be more than willing to purchase your produce. So with some research and planning, you should be able to determine the best way to approach potential customers, whether it’s through online marketing or through traditional advertising methods.
Additionally, there are a few other avenues you can explore if you want access to an even bigger market. Export opportunities, for instance, are becoming increasingly popular amongst Kenyan farmers and could give you access to larger profits as well as bigger customer bases. With a bit of effort and knowledge, you really could maximize your income from cucumber farming in Kenya.
Cost of starting an acre of cucumber farm
Now that you know the benefits and what it takes to start a cucumber farm in Kenya, let’s take a look at the cost of starting an acre of cucumber farm.
The cost will vary depending on what type of cucumber you decide to plant as well as the soil and climatic conditions in your region. On average, it will cost between Kshs 200,000-250,000 to start an acre of cucumber farm in Kenya, with the majority of the expenses going towards buying seeds, fertilizers and pesticides.
In addition you will also need to factor in other expenses such as hiring labor, transporting supplies, renting land or purchasing farmland if necessary.
However, this initial investment should be able to provide a good yield that can return your money several times over depending on how well you manage your farm.
How and when to harvest cucumber for market
Knowing when to harvest your cucumbers is essential to getting the best yield from your crop.
Cucumbers are ready for harvest when they reach their full size and have developed a bright, glossy green color.
Generally, cucumbers can be harvested anywhere from 25–45 days after being planted, depending on the variety. When harvesting, make sure to use sharp scissors or knives to avoid damaging the delicate vines.
It’s important to harvest your cucumber regularly—doing this prevents them from becoming overripe and bitter-tasting. You should harvest cucumber every 4–5 days once they start bearing fruit in order to ensure optimum freshness and marketability.
Also make sure you pick your cucumbers early in the morning or late in the evening when they’re more likely to be crisp and flavourful.
When harvesting your cucumbers for sale, it’s important to pick them carefully without damaging them, so that you can get top dollar for your crop at market.
Doing a few practice runs of harvesting as if you were going to be selling them will help you get comfortable with this task before having to do it under pressure at market day.
So, if you’re looking to get into cucumber farming in Kenya, this guide will give you all the information you need to get started. We’ll go over everything from the benefits of cucumber farming to the different varieties you can plant, as well as the market size and opportunities for cucumber farming in Kenya.