Kamande Farming In Kenya: How To Successfully Grow Lentils For Sale

Have you ever wondered why Kamande is so expensive in Kenya? Well, there’s just one reason: Kamande farming is not done anywhere in Kenya. Honestly, I don’t know why this is so because this country has the best climate and soil for growing these high value legumes. Let me explain this.

Kamande, which are called lentils in English, grow best in hot areas with sandy or sandy loam soils that drain water fast. Lentils are grown under large tracts of land in Australia and India. India consumes almost everything it produces and even imports some more. Australia exports to many countries of the world.  In Africa, this crop is grown commercially in Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan.

Kamande farming in Ethiopia

Best climatic conditions for growing kamande

Looking at these countries that produce lentils in large quantities, you will realize that their climate and soils are very similar to what we have in Eastern and North eastern Kenya, parts of Rift Valley and Nyanza. Kamande requires at least 6 hours of sunshine daily, of which we have more than 10 hours every day of the year in Kenya. It grows best in hot areas and is very tolerant to drought conditions, so areas of Ukambani, Garisa, Wajir, Siaya, Kisumu, Narok South, Kajiado and the entire coastal region would be ideal for lentil farming.

How long do Kamande take to mature?

Lentils are very fast growing taking only 80 days in hot areas and at most 110 in cooler areas to harvest from the day you put down your seeds. Yes, I know that is crazy because most of the crops people run to for fast money take as long as 5 months. It definitely would be a faster money maker compared to onions and tomatoes, and much easier to handle.

What do you need to produce Lentils?

Seeds, land preparation and planting

The kamande you buy at the supermarket or at the cereals shop are the seeds you need for planting. Your land will need to be ploughed well to have fine soils since the seeds are small. Drill lines of about 1 to 2 inches deep with a spacing of 45cm from one line to the next. Drop the seeds in these lines at a spacing of approximately 1 inch from one seed to the next – well that is more like sprinkling the seeds inside the small furrow. Just ensure that the seeds are not too close to each other. Cover the seeds with about 1 inch of soil. You will need 12 – 15 kilos of seeds to plant 1 acre.

Kamande farming and spacing 

Best time for planting Kamande

The best time to sow your lentil seeds is during the onset of the rains. Since this crop doesn’t require a lot of water, it can grow very well over the long or the short rainy season. The seeds will germinate from the 10th day. Contrary to what most people think, you do not need to support this crop. The plant grows to slightly higher than 1 foot (30cm) and thus is able to stand by itself such like ordinary beans do.

Taking care of lentil plants

Any serious farmer will always start with a soil test. This will help you know if you need to add fertilizers, the type and in what quantities. Kamande is a short term crop hence you may need to have the soil nutrient balance and pH levels right before starting.

Weeding between the rows will definitely be necessary. This will not only help to reduce competition for nutrients but will also help to keep pests away. You also don’t want to harvest other wild seeds together with your lentils.

Pests and diseases that affect lentils

The kamande plants are also susceptible to common beans pests such as worms, thrips and aphids. The good thing is that there are many safe pesticides you can get from agro-vet shops to control these pests. However, the most important thing is to closely observe your farm and scout regularly for signs of these pests. Pests are best dealt with before spreading too much in your farm. You can always talk to our agronomist on 0724698357 if you need any help with pesticides.

Harvesting lentils

The lentils are ready for harvesting when the plants turn brown and dry. At this stage, the plants and ponds will produce a dry matter rattling sound if shaken. You need to be very careful when plucking the plants off the soil to avoid cracking the ponds and losing some of the seeds. For small scale farmers, kamande can be harvested in the same way beans, cow peas or green grams are harvesting – placing the dry plants on a drying mat and shredding the seeds out with long sticks.

Kamande ready for harvesting

For large scale farming, combined harvesters are the best for harvesting the seeds. These harvesters will cut off the plants, shred the seeds out and clean off the chaff. The expected yield of lentils per acre in Kenya is about 600 to 800 kgs.

Profitability of kamande farming in Kenya

Let us take the very conservative figures: assuming you achieve a yield of 600kgs and sell each at a wholesale price of 150 per kilo, you will have a turnover of 90,000 from an acre in about 3 months. This is much better than ordinary beans or maize and you are assured of a ready market even from the grocery shop next to your home.

14 comments :

mawartoto said...

I take pleasure in, lead to I found exactly what I was taking a look for. You have ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye Farmhouse near chennai

Unknown said...

Thanks Rich farm for this information. I will try here in Embu.

Unknown said...

Resourceful prose

Nicko Arts said...

I have always looked for such information and now I am greatful that I found one. Thanks so much.

Unknown said...

Hi. Thanks too. My project this year in baringo.

Anonymous said...

Thanks rich farm ,umetufungua macho,from longonot

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info.. does it mean it can't grow on cotton soil

Anonymous said...

Thanks for info

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your assistance for this important information.I wiil try it here in Kilifi.county.

Anonymous said...

Mercy from kibwezi amd i would like to give a try to this kamande and my question goes,is it possible to use the medicine of weed instead of ploughing?

Anonymous said...

Thanks alot very educative in kajiado

Anonymous said...

Does it mean it cannot do well in central to precise Murang'a?.

Anonymous said...

Will try it in kakamega

Anonymous said...

Use health friendly approaches. Don't use cancer causing weed chemicals on human food chain