Grape Farming in Kenya: How Meru Farmers Are Making Crazy Money

Grapes Farming in Kenya is Possible and Profitable

Grapes farming in Kenya sounds like an impossible dream to many. But you would be pleasantly surprised if you visited Meru and witnessed how farmers there have cultivated this rare crop in Kenya. Rows and rows of over 5,000 grape plants line up an expansive piece of land at Liliaba in Igembe Central with vines well supported by wires tied across the pilot farm established over 20 years ago.

To most people, vineyards are only synonymous with bible stories but the Liliaba Vineyard has been in Meru for two decades after grapes were introduced by Father Adol Celestino from Italy in the 1980s. 
grapes farming in Kenya
Grapes farming in Kenya
Located about 20 kilometers from Kangeta town, the Liliaba Vineyard is now run by Catholic Fathers the Diocese of Meru where over 80 farmers have now adopted grape farming.

According to Father Mbiko, Grape farming has also been introduced at Murera near Meru National park, Rwarera in Buuri and Ngarendare.

“We already have a wine press and processing plant at Mukululu in Igembe Central. We produce over 1,000 bottles of table wine, church wine among other brands. The demand for the wine is higher than supply hence we are encouraging more farmers to start grape farming,” Fr Mbiko says.

Is Grapes farming in Kenya profitable?

When we spoke to Fr. Mbiko, the father in charge at the time, he said that he buys grapes from out growers at Sh80 per kilo on self delivery and Sh70 gate price while those who sell fresh fruits to supermarkets and streets can make up to Sh300 a kilo.

He notes that grapes farming require very little water and are often referred as ‘camel fruit’ hence can be grown even in the hot and dry parts of Kenya.

We have actually highlighted the conditions suitable for grapes farming in Kenya in the article "How to Make Money With Grapes Farming in Kenya". 

“We train farmers on how to grow grapes, supply them with seedlings and buy fruits for processing. Many farmers are losing crops to drought but if they venture into grape farming, they are assured of harvest,” he explains.

Grapes start yielding very early; within a year after transplanting but reach the highest yield in take four years. They are harvested twice a year and with one grape plant capable producing over 15kgs of grapes per year which translates to Sh1, 200 per plant.

Fr Adol notes that farmers who have embraced the production of grapes in Kenya have benefited greatly from the farming as Liliaba is mostly prone to rain failure.

What is the main challenge with grapes farming in Kenya?

The main challenge in grape farming, Fr Mbiko says, is keeping off birds hence a watch tower has to be built in the middle of the farm for a good view of the farm

“Birds like feeding the grape fruits when they are ripe. The farmer has to keep watch throughout the day to secure a good harvest.

However, the returns are too good to be barred by the challenges. We cannot meet the demand for wine in Meru only,” he advises.

He notes that other seasonal crops can be planted in between the grapes making the land more productive.

About four varieties of grapes are grown at Liliaba vineyard and the fruit has been attracting interest from many people including former Provincial Commissioner Peter Kiilu who has a vineyard in Kitui.

grapes farming guide kenya
Grapes farming guide for Kenya
Fr Mbiko is calling on more farmers to venture into grape farming so as to increase production of Mukululu wine production plant. 

However, for you to be successful in grapes farming, you need proper information. That is why we compiled this grapes  farming guide for kenya to help you with information on the go. 

It is now available in pdf so you can even carry it in your phone and refer any time. You can now request for it from our Resources Page


Unknown said...

How can I get in touch with Father Mbiko and visit his farm in Meru? My contact no. is 0736961796

Unknown said...

Please I want to visit your farm. I am from Ghan,and I am willing to come n learn on grape farm.

Unknown said...

I live in meru I would like to learn more on grapes and do grape farming my email

Unknown said...

How can I get the pdf my number is +254714789831

Unknown said...

Great information can they do well in laikipia ndaragwa and nyahururu areas

Unknown said...

May i have your farm contacts

Anonymous said... I would like to practice grape farming

Anonymous said...

can i grow grapes in msabweni in kilifi county

Anonymous said...

Good information, I'm Peter wambua from kitui county and how can I get in touch with you I want to practice the farming my is +254723144321

Anonymous said...

Hilton Nairobi.I want to grow this grapes.