Grapes Farming: How to Produce the Best Grapes in Kenya

While commercial grapes farming is practiced only by a few investors in Kenya, these sweet berrylike fruits are among the most produced fruits in other parts of the world. There are actually very many farmers who grow grapevines in their backyards as  ornamental plants. Most of the grapes consumed in Kenya are imported from Tanzania and Ethiopia among other nations. However, farmers are noting the gap in the market and have started taking advantage of the low supply to make quite good profits. 

Grapes farming in Kenya
Grapes growing in Kenya

Grapes grow on woody perennial vines that can live for over 50 years. The grapes are of different varieties that include; Muscatine grapes, French grapes, and American grapes. The most widespread type is the French grapes that are of European origin.

Grapes farming in Kenya has existed for over 20 years but it seems like the information and planting materials were kept out of reach of the general public. Luckily, with internet making the world a global village, we have been able to source planting materials and get all the information we need to grow them. 

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You Too Can Grow Grapes In Kenya and Make a Good Profit

Where to grow grapes in Kenya

Grapes are not very sensitive to climate and they grow in a cool climate just as well as they do in hot climate. However, in hot places, the short rains must be supplemented with sufficient irrigation. The topography should be slightly sloppy to avoid water logging and the destruction of roots. The growing conditions vary at times due to the variety you choose to plant. However, most types can thrive well in humid areas at an altitude of less than 1000 meters above sea level.

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Tips to produce the best grapes in Kenya

1. How to get grapes seedlings

Vegetative propagation is the best choice for reproducing grapes. The seed propagation does not give rise to vines with the mother plant's actual characteristics, and it is also time-consuming since you will need to wait for over three years to obtain fruits from such vines. Therefore you must go for the vegetatively propagated grapes. You can get these from all Richfarm Kenya nurseries. You can call the Naivasha nursery on 0723213602 or the Embu one on 0724698357. These vines will have the desired mother plant characteristics and will give fruits within a short duration of about 1 year.

2. Choice of location for planting your grapevines

Grape vines do not do well in waterlogged areas. You must ensure that the plot on which you plant them is well drained. Drainage can also be improved by constructing drainage channels to direct excess rain water away from the rooting area of your vines. 

3. Vineyard sunlight requirement

Grapes thrive and produce well under full sunlight. Since Kenya is placed in the equatorial region, grape farming in Kenya is a success due to sufficient year-round sunlight in most parts of the country. However, it would help establish your vineyard where the plants can receive ample sunlight, majorly in the morning hours. The rows should also be planted running from East to West to ensure that plants do not fall under the shade of neighboring rows. 

4. Air circulation

Good airflow is recommended in your vineyard as this helps in preventing fungus infestation. Therefore you should locate your vineyard in an open place away from buildings, trees, and bush that can act as an obstacle for air circulation into your vineyard. You should also ensure that you maintain the recommended plant population of 650 plants per acre with the rows separated by at least 2m and plants having 3m between them.  

5. How to prune grapevines

Even though it is the most demanding task in vineyards, you need to prune up to 90% of the last season's wood (that is the branches that bore fruits the previous season). This allows new ones that have greater vigour to grow and carry healthier and larger bunches. This is where the secret for the best grapes production lies. Remember that the best quality fruits are reproduced from correctly pruned grapes, whereas poor quality fruits are from light pruning. Please note that grapevines usually produce fruits from the current seasons' growth and not the previous ones.

You can watch a video we made on YouTube to guide you on how to do pruning. Click here to watch. 

To improve on the size of the fruits without necessarily compromising the quality, you need to do away with all the third bunches when they begin to form. It allows all the energy to be directed towards the development of the fruit and thus bigger grapes.

6. Mulching

It would be best if you mulch around the vines. It helps in retaining moisture and also in suppressing the weeds around the vines.

7. Best soils for growing grapes in Kenya

Volcanic, well-drained, and aerated soils are suitable for grapes production. Fertilization in the first year of production is not essential if you have healthy soil, not unless you have soil problems. Majorly fertilizer is applied in the second year of production but lightly. Make sure to do soil testing every year to find our which minerals need to be replenished. 

8. Harvesting

At times grapes can take longer to ripen. In this case, you will need to pinch back some foliage to allow penetration of sufficient sunlight. Remember not to pick unripe grapefruits since they do not continue ripening after picking. Grapevines start fruiting after the first year but will take three years after establishment to full maturity.

A bunch of grapes is considered ready to harvest when it is juicy, rich in color, fully flavored, plump and easy to crush. At the time of harvest, the fruits should still be tightly attached to the stems.

9. Protection from Birds

Be ready to erect mesh nets to prevent the birds. Birds are capable of feeding on budding fruits and entirely destroying your crop.

Grape farming in Kenya has been majorly done in places like Naivasha, Kibwezi, Mombasa, and Mandera. So far, they have done well due to the moderate rainfall and ecological setup. Pest and diseases are not a significant issue in grapes.

Also Read:

Yes, Grapes Can Grow In Kenya And Fetch You Over Ksh.400 Per Kg

Growing grapes is not even as challenging as it is to grow some fruit trees in Kenya. You can start by getting a few seedlings from Richfarm Kenya. You can always call them on 0724698357 whenever you need more information on grapes farming. 

Grapes seedlings for sale at Richfarm kenya
Grapes seedlings for sale at Richfarm Kenya

13 comments :

Unknown said...

Wow educative think will try this out

Lilian Nekesa said...

Lovely article

Lilian Nekesa said...

Lovely article

Unknown said...

Good one

Richfarm Kenya said...

Thank you very much

Richfarm Kenya said...

Thank you very much

Richfarm Kenya said...

Thank you very much

Anonymous said...

Amazing. Kudos👍

Anonymous said...

How much do you sell one seedling . wish try out

Anonymous said...

In need of seedling

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information. How can I get seedlings?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information. How can I get the seedlings?

Anonymous said...

Can they be grown in Zambia too?