If you’re looking for a profitable small agricultural niche business, garlic is just right for you. Garlic farming in Kenya is a booming business if done appropriately. Commonly known as “Kitunguu Saumu,” garlic is a valuable horticultural crop in Kenya owing to its good returns and high demand.
The cost of garlic farming in Kenya is Ksh. 75,000 per acre. This amount caters for fertilizer, labor, garlic seeds, and miscellaneous. Therefore, the more land you have, the higher you should expect to spend producing garlic in Kenya.
In this article, I’ll illustrate a breakdown of the cost of garlic farming in Kenya. I’ll also highlight the different types of garlic and where they are grown in Kenya. Keep reading!
Cost of Garlic Production Per Acre
Garlic onion farming can be expensive, depending on the land you want to exploit. The larger the farm, the more the cost you’ll incur and the more promising the produce.
The table below is a breakdown of the cost of garlic farming per acre in Kenya:
|Garlic seeds||An acre requires around 100kg of garlic. Each kg cost up to Ksh. 450 ( during some seasons, you can get the seeds even at a lower price)||450 x 100= Ksh. 45,000|
|labor||Per person||Roughly ksh20,000|
|Fertilizer||A 25kg bag||Roughly Ksh. 500|
|Miscellaneous||Disease control just in case and transport||Roughly Ksh. 10,000|
|Total costs||Ksh. 75,000|
Where is Garlic Grown in Kenya?
Garlic onions are among the most complex growing crops because they tend to survive within a small geographical area worldwide.
In Kenya, garlic is grown in Narok, Nakuru, and Meru. The crop also does well in Kajiando and Nyeri since these areas are hot with temperatures above 30 degrees and well-drained fertile soil.
Garlic onion can also thrive in any other region consistent with the places mentioned above but on small-scale production.
Garlic grows best in loose soil. Well-drained fertile soil and loam sandy are the ideal soil types for garlic growing. Also, garlic farming in Kenya performs well in humid areas with low sunshine, moderate rain, and low temperatures.
Also Read: Cost of Onion Farming in Kenya
Types of Garlic in Kenya
There are two significant types of garlic grown worldwide. They are;
- The softneck
Within these two categories, there are nine sub-types whose growth is favored by the geographical area and climate. Here we’re going to look at the three common sub-types of garlic.
Silver Rose Garlic.
First, we’ve got the silver rose garlic which has a shelf life of 12 months when properly dried in the sun.
So, even if there isn’t a ready market at harvesting time, you may store and sell them when the market reopens.
Silver White Garlic
Next is the famous silver white garlic known for its feature white color and its short growth and maturity period.
Artichoke Seed Garlic
Finally, we’ve got the artichoke type, which is reddish and the most productive. Artichoke seed garlic is regarded as one of the most productive and easiest to farm.
There are three sub-types of garlic that are well-known in Kenya;
- Rich in proteins
- Plenty of fatty acids,
- Rich with protein but with fewer fatty acids.
The three sub-types are the ones we consume and use daily.
How to Grow Big Garlic Bulbs
Garlic onion is a fantastic crop most farmers enjoy planting every season. It’s a relatively easy crop to grow as it takes care of itself without much effort. The plant has few pests or diseases and often grows with little maintenance.
However, these advantageous features don’t always guarantee that your garlic will produce big bulbs. Most farmers are disappointed with their garlic harvest because the bulbs are tiny. The plants are very healthy and beautiful during the growing season, only to find they have small bulbs when you harvest.
It can be frustrating even to the most patient farmers. The best thing is that growing big bulbs isn’t that hard, and you can effortlessly achieve it by following the steps below.
Use Suitable Soil
Garlic onion is a heavy feeder and requires good fertile soil to produce large and healthy bulbs. Naturally, most soils are low in nitrogen and, depending on the region, other nutrients. Also, they have been depleted from years of farming, meaning they will require additional care t improve their fertility.
Most farmers believe adding a few inches of manure is enough to meet the garlic’s fertility needs. Even though soil benefits from adding a large amount of manure, it still does not guarantee that the nutrients will be at a sufficient level for the garlic to grow to its maximum potential.
Amending with organics like manure or garden compost improves soil tilth, moderates moisture conditions, and adds some nutrients, especially micronutrients, potash, and phosphorous. It means they can significantly increase overall growing conditions but often lack enough nitrogen, which is crucial for producing large bulbs.
To guarantee your garlic is receiving all the fertility requirements it needs for optimum growth, apply a well-balanced all-purpose organic fertilizer along with routine amendments such as compost.
Plant High-Quality Cloves
When planting garlic, it’s essential to begin with healthy seed stock. Use quality cloves that are firm, disease free, and have not started to sprout. It’s also good to plant big cloves as they produce the largest bulbs.
This implies that the largest cloves are the best for seed stock when you break up a bulb. Bulbs and cloves have different sizes depending on the variety. When growing large cloved varieties, you can successfully plant most cloves. When growing small cloved varieties, it’s best to use the largest cloves for optimum bulb growth.
When farming hardneck varieties, scape removal promotes larger bulbs. The reason being energy is preserved and directed to the bulb instead of the flowering structure. You can snap off the scapes using shears to cut or by hand just above the last leaves once they start to curl.
The cut needs to dry as soon as possible to block the route for diseases and infection. Therefore whenever possible, perform the removal during dry weather.
Garlic farming is a booming business that’s continuing to grow in Kenya. Garlic is an easy crop to grow and takes care of itself without much effort. Garlic onion is a necessary vegetable for many recipes, meaning it’s always in demand and has a ready market and good returns.
However, due to a lack of knowledge, most farmers produce poor quality and unmarketable garlic. I believe this breakdown of the cost of garlic farming in Kenya will make it easier for you to venture into the practice.