Pomelo Fruit Farming in Kenya

Did you know that pomelo is the largest fruit in the citrus family?

Pomelo known as mbalungi/balungi in Swahili is characterized by its large size, often reaching up to 30cm in diameter and weighing between 1 to 2kg. It has a thick, spongy rind that ranges in colour from green to yellow when ripe. Pomelo originated from Southeast Asia before spreading to other parts of the world.

Pomelo Farming

Pomelo farming requires a warm climate with temperatures ranging between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius. It thrives well in well-drained sandy loam soils with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. Pomelo plants require long hours of sunlight for crucial fruit development.

Propagation of Pomelo

Pomelo is primarily propagated through seeds or grafting. Grafting is most preferred as it ensures the propagation of desirable traits such as fruit quality and diseases resistance.

Step by step process for planting pomelo.

1.    Land preparation

Select a site that has a good sunlight exposure and clear the land off weeds and debris. Prepare planting holes measuring 60cm in diameter and 60cm in depth with a spacing of 8-10metres apart.

2.    Actual planting

Get your ready to plant grafted pomelo seedlings from certified nurseries. Place the grafted seedlings in holes, ensuring the graft union is above the soil level. Backfill with a mixture of topsoil and organic manure.

3.    Watering

Water the plants immediately after planting and continue to provide regular irrigation, especially during the dry season. Drip irrigation systems are efficient and as they help conserve water.

Pest and Disease

Common pests and diseases that are known to affect pomelos include citrus psyllids, aphids, fruit flies, citrus greening, anthracnose and root rot.


Pomelo plant takes about 3 years from planting to start fruiting. A mature pomelo tree can produce up to 100-150 fruits annually, with each fruit weighing between 1 to 2kg. With proper management, farmers can achieve high yields, translating to significant income.

Market demand/ Marketing strategies

The market demand for pomelo in Kenya is on the rise, driven by increasing awareness of its health benefits and the growing middle class with a taste for exotic fruits. Additionally, the fruit has potential export markets in the Middle East and Europe. You can market your pomelos through local markets, supermarket chains, and export to international markets. Establishing and joining cooperative societies can enhance bargaining power and access to better markets.

How profitable is pomelo farming?

The initial investment in pomelo farming includes the cost of seedlings, land preparation, and irrigation systems. However, the returns are substantial due to the high market prices for pomelo, ranging between ksh100 to ksh200 per kg. With an average yield of 10-15 tonnes per hectare, farmers can realize a gross income of ksh1,000,000 to ksh3,000,000 per hectare per year.

Value Addition

Apart from being eaten directly, pomelo fruit can be processed into juices, jams and marmalades. Doing this value addition will definitely increase its market value. The thick rind of pomelos can be used to make candied peels, and this further enhances its profitability.

Nutritional benefits of Pomelo fruit

Pomelo is rich in vitamins A and C, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. It supports immune function, promotes healthy skin, and aids digestion. The fruit is also low in calories, making it a healthy addition to any diet.