Blackberry Farming in Kenya: A Complete Guide To Growing Your Own Mouth Watering Berries

Blackberry farming in Kenya is a captivating practice that involves growing and managing blackberry plants to produce top-notch blackberries. These delectable fruits are not only delicious but also highly sought after due to their unique flavor, versatility, and numerous health benefits. Whether you're a novice eager to explore the realm of agriculture or an experienced farmer looking to diversify your crop production, blackberry farming presents a promising opportunity. 

In this article, we will delve into the essential aspects of blackberry farming in Kenya, from selecting the perfect varieties and preparing an ideal farming site to implementing effective cultivation techniques, managing pests and diseases, and harvesting. So, get ready to uncover the secrets to success in this rewarding agricultural venture.

These delightful berries have been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years. Believed to have originated in Europe, their popularity quickly spread across the globe. These little berries are powerhouses of nutrients and antioxidants, making them a top choice for health-conscious consumers. And let's not forget, they're simply delicious.

There are several common varieties of blackberries that you can choose from, depending on your climate and personal taste preferences. Some popular ones include Navaho, Ouachita, and Chester. Each variety has its own unique flavors and growth habits.

Blackberries, are not the neatest of plants, they have a wild and sprawling nature, much like a teenager's untamed hair. They fall under the shrub family like most berries. But fear not, because proper pruning will help you stay one step ahead of these unruly fruits.  Pruning is like giving your blackberry plants a stylish haircut. It not only keeps them looking their best but also improves their overall health and productivity. By removing old canes and promoting new growth, you're basically giving your plants a fresh start. Plus, it helps to prevent overcrowding and allows for better airflow, making your blackberries happier than ever.

To run a successful blackberry farm in Kenya here are some of the key areas you should address.  

  1. Site selection. Now that you're itching to get your hands dirty, it's time to choose the perfect spot for your blackberry farm in Kenya. Blackberries have specific preferences for both climate and soil conditions. They thrive in temperate regions with warm to hotter temperatures. As for their soil preference, well-drained and fertile soil. Choosing the right spot for your blackberry farm requires a keen eye. You want a location with good sunlight exposure and preferably a gentle slope to encourage proper drainage. Blackberries appreciate well-prepared soil, preferably with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0. 
  2. Propagation. Blackberries are mainly propagated from cuttings. You can get healthy, disease free seedlings from Richfarm Kenya by visiting our nurseries in Embu or Naivasha or call us on 0724698357 or 0723213602. 
    Blackberry seedlings at Richfarm, Naivasha

  3. Spacing. You need to space them just right to ensure they have room to spread and grow. And don't forget about those trellises and support systems, because these berries need a little help standing tall. They require a spacing of 1m by 1.5m.
  4. Watering. Just like humans, blackberries need water and nutrients to thrive. Proper irrigation and fertilization techniques will keep your plants happy and productive. Think of it as giving them a refreshing drink and a nutritious meal.
  5. Weeding. Weeds are the unwanted party crashers of the farming world. Mulching and hand weeding are one of the practices that can help with that.
  6. Pests. Pests are the unwelcome guests that just can't resist crashing the party. Some of the common pests that love to snack on your blackberry plants include aphids, spider mites. These little critters can cause damage to leaves, stems, and even the fruit itself. You can spray the required pesticide to keep them at bay.
  7. Diseases. Just when you thought pests were bad enough, now you have to deal with diseases too. Blackberry plants can be susceptible to diseases like cane blight, powdery mildew, and rust. There are ways to identify and prevent these diseases from spreading like wildfire. Regular inspections, proper sanitation, and practicing good airflow in your blackberry patch can go a long way in keeping your plants healthy and disease-free.
  8. IPM. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is like having a superhero team dedicated to protecting your blackberry plants. It's a holistic approach that combines different pest control methods to keep those pests in check. From natural enemies like ladybugs and lacewings to organic pesticides, there are various tools at your disposal.
  9. Support. Training systems for blackberry plants are like support system for your garden. They provide structure and help your plants grow in an organized and efficient manner. From trellises to wire supports, there are various options to choose from. They keep your plants in shape.
    Wire training system for blackberry

  10. Harvesting. When harvesting your blackberries you have to look for signs of ripeness, like a nice deep colour and a gentle tug that easily separates the berry from the stem.

Projected Cost and  Income for 1 acre 

  • Cost per seedling Ksh. 200
  • Seedlings per acre - 2,000-3,000 
  • Spacing - 1m by 1.5m
  • Fruit price- Ksh. 100-150 per kg (farmgate)
  • Yield- 10 tones per per year
  • Pest- aphids, spider mite
  • Diseasescane blight, powdery mildew, and rust
  • Lifespan- 20 yrs plus


1. Can blackberries be grown in all climates in Kenya?

Blackberries thrive in temperate climates, although certain varieties are adapted to specific regions. These areas may include parts of Rift Valley like Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, Kitale among others, parts of central Kenya which enjoy warm climate like Embu, Thika, Murang'a also Eastern and Coast region. It is essential to select appropriate blackberry varieties that are suitable for your specific climate and growing conditions.

2. Do blackberry plants require a lot of maintenance?

While blackberry plants do require some maintenance, they are relatively low-maintenance compared to other fruit crops. Routine tasks include pruning, training, fertilizing, and pest management.

3. How long does it take for blackberry plants to bear fruit?

Blackberry plants typically start producing fruit in under four months, but become commercially viable in six months.

4. Are blackberries profitable to grow as a commercial crop in Kenya?

Blackberries can be a profitable crop when grown and marketed effectively. The demand for fresh berries continues to rise, creating opportunities for farmers to tap into the market. There’s a huge untapped export market in Kenya considering the favorable weather we have.

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