Maize Farming in Kenya: Beginner’s Guide

ByElijah Ludenyi

Jan 15, 2023
Maize farming in Kenya

Last updated on March 2nd, 2024 at 06:00 pm

Are you interested in maize farming in Kenya?

Well, this guide will give you all the necessary information you need to get started. You will learn about the cost of starting maize farming in Kenya, the benefits and nutrients of maize, the suitable areas for growing maize, how to prepare, grow and care for maize, climatic and soil conditions for maize farming in Kenya, varieties of maize in Kenya, market size and opportunities for maize farming in Kenya, how and when to harvest maize, and the pros and cons of maize farming in Kenya.

Benefits and Nutrients of Maize Farming

The maize plant is a tall, sturdy plant that can survive in a wide variety of climates and soil conditions. It is a cereal crop that is grown for its grain, which is used to make food products like flour, tortillas, and popcorn.

Just to be specific:

Maize is an important crop in Kenya, and it has a number of benefits for the farmer. First, it is an annual plant, which means that it grows quickly and produces a harvest in a short period of time.

Secondly, it is adaptable to a variety of climate conditions and soil types. Making it possible to grow maize in many areas of the country.

Thirdly, maize is a nutrient-rich crop that provides many essential vitamins and minerals to the body. Finally, maize farming is a profitable business venture that can provide the farmer with a steady income stream.

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Suitable Areas for Growing Maize in Kenya

When it comes to maize farming in Kenya, there are a few things to consider before planting your crop.

One of the most important thing is the location – you need to find an area that is suitable for maize farming.


The climate and soil conditions are both important factors to consider too. Maize does well in warm climates, so make sure you choose an area that is not too cold. The soil should be rich and fertile, with a good water supply.

There are many different varieties of maize, so make sure you choose one that is suited to your climate and soil conditions. There is a wide range of maize available in Kenya, so you are sure to find one that fits your needs.

How to Prepare, Grow and Care for Maize

Step 1:

Before planting, you will need to buy quality seeds from a reputable source. Seeds will be the foundation of your maize crop, so it is important to invest in good ones.

Step 2:

Once you have your seeds, you will need to prepare the soil for planting. Maize grows best in deep, well-drained soils with a pH level of 6.0-7.5. Amend your soil as necessary to achieve these conditions.

Step 3:

Plant your maize seeds at a depth of 1-1.5 inches, and space them about 8-10 inches apart. Keep in mind that the stalks will grow taller as the maize matures, so leave enough room for them to grow.

Step 4:

Water your maize plants regularly, making sure not to saturate the soil. Overwatering can lead to fungal diseases and other problems.

Step 5:

When the maize plants are about knee-high, apply a layer of organic mulch around them to help retain moisture and nutrients in the soil. Mulch will also help to suppress weeds growth.

Climatic and Soil Conditions for Maize Farming in Kenya

Maize is a crop that requires enough sunlight, adequate water and well-aerated soils that can retain the necessary moisture for optimal growth. Kenya typically has warm and temperate climates that are suitable for maize farming. It is important to note that different varieties of maize thrive in different climatic conditions, so you may want to do some research before deciding on what to grow.

When it comes to soil, maize needs soils rich in organic matter and nitrogen. Sandy loam soils are great for maize farming since they have good drainage and can retain necessary moisture. Clay soils too can be used, but they should be tilled regularly to ensure proper aeration for the plants’ roots. Adding organic compost or manure can also help improve soil fertility and yield.

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Varieties of Maize in Kenya

Knowing the varieties of maize available in Kenya is important for successful maize farming. Currently, there are several varieties of maize grown in Kenya ranging from the white maize to red, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

White maize is the most common type of maize grown in Kenya and it’s used for making many Kenyan dishes like ugali, bread, and snacks. It’s also highly resilient to drought thanks to its hardy nature.

Hybrid maize is popular among commercial farmers due to its high yield potential, vigorous growth, and early maturity. It also requires less water than other varieties of maize and can withstand adverse weather conditions better than traditional varieties.

Dent or field corn is another variety that’s widely grown in Kenya despite its meager yield potential. This type of maize is often used for animal feed or as a staple in rural diets due to its taste appeal compared to other types of maize.

Lastly, there’s sweetcorn which is mostly used as a vegetable thanks to its sweet flavor when eaten fresh or cooked. This type usually has higher inputs (labor and fertilizers) but higher returns depending on the market price at harvest time.

Market Size and Opportunities for Maize Farming

The maize farming business in Kenya has great potential and lots of opportunities. According to a study, the market size for maize alone in Kenya is estimated to be around Kshs.80 billion per year, which is a staggering amount. This means that with careful planning and proper implementation of the recommended practices, you could easily make a profitable return on investment from your maize farming enterprise in no time.

From the various counties in the Republic of Kenya, there is vast demand for maize such as for poultry, brewing, animal feed and human consumption including other industrial uses. The wide range of applications means that the business opportunities are many and so you need to carefully decide on where you want to specialize depending on the area of need or demand and also based on your own strengths and weaknesses. All these variables should be taken into account when deciding on which county might be best suited for your type of maize farming venture.

So, maize farming in Kenya can be a very profitable venture. If you are interested in starting a maize farm, then it is important to do your research and plan your farm carefully. The most important things to consider when farming maize are the climate and soil conditions, and the right variety of maize to grow. As with any other business, there are pros and cons to maize farming in Kenya, so you need to weigh these before making a decision.

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