Pineapple farming in Kenya: How to Make 800K per hectare

Pineapple farming in Kenya has become a lucrative source of income for upcoming agribusiness investors. The country's warm climate and fertile soils make it ideal for growing pineapples, and the demand for the fruit both domestically and internationally has led to an increase in pineapple farming. In this article, we will what you need in order to start a profitable pineapple farming venture. 

pineapple farming in Kenya
Pineapple farming in Kenya, Malindi

Let us start with explaining the best climatic and soil conditions for pineapple production.

Ecological Requirements for pineapple farming


Pineapple is a tropical crop that requires a warm and humid climate to grow well. In Kenya, the ideal temperature range for pineapple farming is between 21-32 degrees Celsius.


The crop requires average amount of rainfall, which typically should be between 600 and 1500 mm per year. In areas that experience lower rainfall amounts, the water needs of the plant should be supplemented by irrigation.


The soil should be well-drained and rich in organic matter, with a pH range of 5.5-6.5. However, they also do well in acidic soils of pH level as low as 4.5. Actually, the acidic condition of the soils can help to reduce the chances of pineapple plants being affected by soilborne diseases.

Areas in Kenya where Pineapple farming is practiced


Pineapple farming in Kenya is mainly concentrated in the coastal region, specifically in areas such as Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale, and Taita Taveta. In fact, pineapple farming in Malindi is one of the factors that have recently been attracting so many land buyers to this area.

pineapple farming in Malindi
Young Pineapple farm in Malindi

The larger coastal area also has the ideal climate and soil conditions for pineapple farming. However, in recent years, pineapple farming has also spread to other regions such as Meru, Tharaka Nithi, and Embu, where farmers are using irrigation to grow the crop. The most notable farm, of course, is the expansive DelMonte farm in Thika which has opened the eyes of Kenyans to the potential of pineapple farming. They have acres upon acres of pineapple making it look easy to produce this juicy fruit. But how easy is it?


How to actually grow juicy pineapples at the farm

Selecting the best variety

Profitable pineapple farming in Kenya starts with selecting the right variety of pineapple. The most common variety grown in the country is the "Smooth Cayenne" which is known for its high yield and sweet taste.

Land preparation

The next step is preparing the land for planting. This involves clearing the land, ploughing, and adding organic matter to the soil. As we always suggest, this is the best time to carry out your soil test to help you know which soil components you need to adjust and to what extent.

Transplanting pineapple seedlings

The pineapple plants are then propagated using slips, which are shoots that are cut from the stem of a mature pineapple plant. You can order these slips from pineapple seedlings propagator, Richfarm Kenya, by calling 0724698357/0723213602.


The pineapple slips are best planted on raised beds 60 cm wide, with 2 rows on each side of the bed. The spacing from one bed to the next is put at 100 cm while the spacing from plant to plant on all rows is 30 cm. With this spacing, 1 acre accommodates around 23,000 plants. The plants require regular weeding, fertilization, and irrigation to ensure optimal growth and high yield of big quality fruits.

Pests and diseases affecting pineapples

Pineapples are relatively hardy plants, so pests and diseases are not quite a threat. However, there are some common pests that affect pineapples such as scale insects, mealybugs, and aphids. These pests feed on the sap of the plant, causing leaves to yellow and wilt, and can also attract ants. To control these pests, you can use a solution of water and dish soap, or you can use an insecticidal soap.

Another common pest that affects pineapples is the pineapple weevil, which can cause the fruit to rot and the leaves to wilt. To control this pest, you can use a pesticide specifically designed to target weevils.

Diseases that can affect pineapples include leaf spot, fruit rot, and mosaic virus. Leaf spot is caused by a fungus and results in brown or black spots on the leaves. To control this disease, you can use a fungicide specifically designed to target leaf spot.

Fruit rot can be caused by a number of factors, including poor drainage and high humidity. To control this disease, it's important to keep the area around the pineapple plant clean and dry, and to avoid overcrowding. Mosaic virus is caused by a virus and results in mottled or discoloured leaves. There is no cure for mosaic virus, so the best way to control it is to remove and destroy infected plants.

It is always recommendable to use organic methods as much as possible to prevent and control pests and diseases. Also, monitoring the plant regularly and keeping the surrounding area clean and free of debris can help prevent pest and disease problems.


Maturity and Harvesting


Pineapple plants take approximately 18 to 24 months to mature and are ready for harvest. The maturity of a pineapple can be determined by the colour of the fruit, which should be a uniform golden-yellow. Additionally, the leaves on the crown of the pineapple should be a deep green colour and the base of the fruit should be firm to the touch.

The best time to harvest a pineapple is when the fruit is fully ripe and the leaves at the base of the fruit can be easily pulled out. This indicates that the pineapple has reached peak sweetness and flavour. Harvesting is done by cutting off the fruit from the stem using a sharp knife. Ensure to leave a small portion of the crown attached to the fruit.

The pineapple plants will typically fruit only once, after which they die off. However, you can use the slips, suckers or crowns that are produced by the mother plant before it dies, to raise new plants. These new plants will be genetically identical to the mother plant and will fruit in the same way.


Why pineapple farming in Kenya has become very lucrative


The demand for pineapples in Kenya is high, both domestically and internationally. The main domestic market for pineapples is in urban areas, where the fruit is consumed fresh or processed into juice, jams, and canned pineapples. Kenya also exports fresh pineapples to countries such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Germany. However, the pineapple processing industry seems to give the best prospects even for those looking at capturing the export market.


Profitability of Pineapple farming in Kenya


Pineapple farming in Kenya is a profitable venture, with returns that are higher than those of other crops such as maize and beans. The cost of planting and maintaining a hectare of pineapple is around KES 500,000-800,000. The yield per hectare is around 60-80 tonnes, with a selling price of KES 15-20 per kilogram. This translates to a gross income of KES 900,000-1,600,000 per hectare, with a profit margin of KES 400,000-800,000 per hectare.

I wish to write all you need to know in this one article but I know that might not be possible all at once. However, we are available on call to answer all your questions. Do not hesitate to call us on 0724698257 or 0723213602 and ask any questions you might be having. We will be glad to use your feedback to improve this article.

1 comment :

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