Apple Farming in Kenya: What You Must Know About Apple Farming in 2024.

Apple farming in Kenya is slowly gaining popularity. This may be due to the high and increasing demand of the fruit while there is limited local supply. Most of the fruits found in the local market are imported from South Africa. South Africa is the main supplier of apples to Kenya. Initially, the farming of the fruit was confined to the highland regions of Kiambu, Kitale, and Nandi but as of 2024 we have the practice going on in most parts of Kenya including the drier coastal areas.

apple farming in Kenya
Apple farming in Kenya: Kirinyaga

In apple farming, there are three factors to consider in order to achieve a high yield with big juicy fruits. These are:

  1. Ecological requirements for apple farming in Kenya
  2. The orchard establishment practices
  3. The apple market in Kenya

Ecological requirements for growing apples in Kenya

The orchard should be selected on a site having deep, fertile, well drained and well aerated loamy-sandy soil, with a slightly acidic to alkaline P.H of 5.5-6.5.

The crop does well in the high-altitude regions of 1800m-2800m above sea level, with rainfall requirement of 1000mm-1800mm per annum. However, very high amount of rainfall is associated with incidences of fungal disease. Regions with low rainfall amounts, irrigation is recommended as the apple tree requires high water amounts for the high yields.



Apples can be produced sexually through the seed or vegetatively through grafting and budding. For juicy and a high yield, grafting is highly recommended as the fruit retains their parental properties compared to seed production whose characteristics may vary from those of the parent plant. Propagation by seed is only used in the preparation of a rootstock. However, this is a stage you do not have to worry about because Richfarm Kenya has already grafted apple seedlings for sale. You only need to Call or Whatsapp us on 0724698357 and place your order.

Land preparation

During land preparation, the land should be cleared of all the trees, bushes or shrubs. Any obstruction including stones that might prevent root penetration should also be removed. All the annual and perennial weeds should be cleared from the site as well.

The spacing is selected depending on the rootstock, variety and the altitude of the site. The holes are dug in a square or rectangular layout at a spacing of 3m X 2m or 3m X 3m for smaller varieties and 4m X 4m or 4m X 5m for the medium and large varieties. The planting hole for apples should be 60cm deep and 60cm wide.


The top soil from the established hole is separated from the subsoil and mixed with 250g of TSP and 20kg of manure. On placing the tree inside the hole, the topsoil is first replaced and firmed around the root region to avoid air pockets. The subsoil is used to cover the hole and care should be taken as to level the planting hole with the surrounding area.

The apple tree is a self-sterile crop and thus needs a pollinator to be established in the orchard to encourage cross pollination thus fertilization of the crop.

Best Apple Farming Cultural Practices in Kenya

1. Mulching

A thick organic mulch is recommended to maintain moisture around the root zone during the early stages of crop development and also suppresses the growth of weeds.

2. Irrigation

Apples require a lot of moisture during the flowering and fruiting stage. Therefore, if you are growing apples in the hotter regions of Kenya, you will need to irrigate your trees. However, keep in mind that excess water around the root zone will encourage disease outbreak and thus low crop yield.

apple farming in Kajiado kenya
Apples growing under irrigation in Kajiado, Kenya

3. Pruning

Pruning will provide a strong framework for the apples and encourage high yields and the development of juicy and tasty fruits. During the first year the central shoot is pruned back to 1m from the ground to allow branching, and then 3-4 strong shoots are selected. During the second year the scaffold branches are pruned to encourage lateral branching. From the laterals 3-4 branches are selected and then pruned to encourage development of the lateral branches. The development of many lateral branches will increase the number of fruits each tree carries.

4. Nutritional needs for apple trees

Application of fertilizer is done according to the soil requirements and the leaf tissue analysis of the plant. So make sure you have done a soil test for your farm before planting the apple seedlings. But to generally guide you, a month after planting urea/CAN is added to provide Nitrogen to the plant and encourage growth. The subsequent years Farm yard manure, CAN at 125g per tree, DAP at 150g is applied in 2-3 splits per tree per year.

Also read: How To Grow Sweet Fruits And Keep Your Customers Coming Back For More

5. Pests and Disease control

Prevention measures are the best and most economical way for controlling pest and diseases and ensuring a high yielding crop. The measures include pruning, timely weed control, proper fertilizer application and selection of the suitable variety. Organic products such as neem extracts and synthetic pesticides and fungicides may be used to control pests and diseases respectively. We shall cover the common pests and diseases that affect apple farmers in Kenya in detail in another article.

The Market and Profitability of Apple Farming in Kenya

The best way to start apple farming in Kenya is by planting grafted seedlings. These seedlings will take 1 year to start producing fruits good enough to get you ready for the market. On the other hand, it will take 7 to 8 years for apple trees to mature if you plant them from seeds.  

Apple farming is one of the most profitable businesses with the potential of earning a farmer over 1 Million shillings in a year from 1 acre. An acre can accommodate 450 apple trees with a spacing of 3x3m and yield between 10 and 15 tons of fruit. A kilo of apples sells for not less than Ksh100, hence, a farmer with 1 acre can make Ksh1,000,000 to Ksh1,500,000. The average cost of setting up an acre of apples in Kenya is about Ksh300,000.

The best avenues to market your apples include:

  1. Local supermarkets: This method is ideal for farmers with large production capacities. Supermarkets provide one of the most reliable marketing channels due to their formalized nature of operation. 
  2. Local vendors: Almost every town in Kenya now has open-air fruit vendors and apples are some of the most traded commodities by them. They provide the most accessible marketing channel for small-scale farmers. Since most of these traders get their apples all the way from Nairobi City Market, they would be very happy to buy from you if you can deliver to their selling points. 
  3. The Nairobi City Market wholesalers: These wholesalers provide another great way to offload your produce in bulk. However, you should be aware of market brokers who can take advantage of you if you try selling to the wholesalers at the market without prior arrangements.  

If you need any help with apple farming in Kenya, high-quality grafted apple seedlings, and setting up your orchard, call Richfarm Kenya on 0724698357. 


Anonymous said...

This is good. I'm based in Gilgil and wish to start an orchid.with 19 seedlings. Which type of apples would you recommend!

Anonymous said...

Hi am an eager farmer in Mandi south and would like to start apple farming. What price and variety crafted plantlets.

Anonymous said...

Hi I planted grafted apples and they are tasting very bitter, what's the problem?