Kenya’s agricultural landscape is ripe with opportunities for farmers seeking lucrative ventures. Certain crops are great investments amid evolving market demands and shifting global dynamics. With a dynamic agricultural sector and innovative farming practices, farmers can capitalize on the evolving market trends and secure a prosperous future.
In this article, we present you with the 20 most profitable crops to grow in Kenya to help you make an informed decision. Keep reading to find out!
20 Profitable Crops to Grow in Kenya
Here is a table summarising the profitable crops in Kenya:
|Temperature (Degrees Celsius)
|Best Places to Grow
|Well-drained, slightly acidic
|Kajiado, Laikipia, Narok, Southern Embu, Lower Kirinyaga
|Well-drained fertile soil
|Nyahururu, Elburgon, Nyeri, Meru, Nandi, mt.Elgon, Tranzoia
|Well-drained sandy loam soil
|Nakuru, Meru, Narok, Nyeri
|Kisii, Thika, Nyamira, Nyeri, Muranga, Kakamega
|Eastern, Coast, Rift Valley Central, Nyanza
|Eastern, coast, Rift Valley Central, Nyanza
|Sandy loam soil
|West pokot, Nakuru, Bungoma, bomet, Kiambu, Narok, Nyeri, Nyandarua, trans nzioa
|Well drained fertile
|Kiambu, Nyandarua, Nairobi, Muranga
|Naivasha , Meru, Laikipia. Makueni, Machakos
|Kitale, Nanyuki, Kiambu, Laikipia, Meru
|Well-drained sandy loamy
|Nyeri, Muranga, Kiambu, Kirinyaga
|Kajiado, Thika, Murang’a, Machakos, Nyeri and Naivasha, Uasin Gishu,
|A climate-controlled areas
|Well drained loamy
|Central, Rift Valley, Western
|Embu, Muranga, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Meru
|Well-drained sandy loamy
|Thika, Kisii, Malindi
|Kieni, Karatina, Naivasha, Emali. Oloitoktok, Mai Mahiu
|Well-drained sandy loamy
|Nyeri, Kisii Machakos
Tomatoes are one of the most profitable horticultural crops in Kenya. With high demand in local markets and export opportunities, farmers can generate significant income. Success depends on proper crop management, disease control, and market access. Tomatoes also need regular watering; mulching helps in moisture retention and weed control.
Varieties like Anna F1 and Rafiki F1 are popular for their disease resistance and high yields, contributing to the overall profitability of tomato farming. An acre of land can yield 15 to 20 tons of tomatoes. With a ton going for Ksh 70,000, you can earn an income of Ksh 1,050,000 to 1,400,000.
Dragon fruit is gaining popularity in international markets due to its exotic appearance and health benefits. The demand for dragon fruit has been steadily increasing, and its high market value makes it a profitable crop for Kenyan farmers.
With proper management and adherence to cultivation practices, dragon fruit farming has the potential for significant returns. Additionally, well-established support structures are crucial for the climbing nature of dragon fruit plants.
With its rich nutritional profile and versatility in culinary applications, butternut squash has gained popularity both locally and internationally. Successful cultivation involves providing well-drained soil, adequate water, and pest management.
The rising global demand for butternut squash presents an opportunity for Kenyan farmers to diversify their crops and tap into a lucrative market. Through sustainable farming practices and market-oriented strategies, butternut squash farming can contribute significantly to Kenya’s food security and economic development.
An acre of butternut can produce 20-25 tons. One ton costs Ksh 20,000, which translates to an income of around Kshs 450,000.
Also Read: How to Start Butternut Farming In Kenya
Cabbage farming is a popular farming venture for most Kenyans. Its versatility and consistent demand in local and export markets can be highly profitable. Varieties like Copenhagen Market and Gloria F1 are known for their high yields and disease resistance, contributing to the overall profitability of cabbage farming.
Adequate spacing and regular irrigation are crucial for optimal growth. For optimum harvest, you should know that cabbage is susceptible to pests like aphids and cabbage worms, necessitating pest management strategies.
The expected income for a well-managed one acre of cabbage is between Ksh 600,000 to 750,000, with one acre producing 25-30 tons.
Garlic cultivation can be profitable due to its culinary importance and medicinal properties. The demand for garlic, both locally and internationally, provides an opportunity for farmers to earn a good income. Success in garlic farming involves:
- Selecting quality cloves
- Proper planting techniques
- Disease management.
Varieties like California Late and Chinese Pink are famous for their adaptability and yield, contributing to the overall profitability of garlic farming. An acre can produce 6-8 tons, with one ton costing around 150,000. This makes a potential profit of Ksh 900,000-1,200,000,
Passion fruit farming can be highly profitable due to the increasing demand for passion fruit products. The versatility of the fruit, used in juices, desserts, and as a fresh snack, contributes to its market value.
You need proper pest control, irrigation, and variety selection to succeed in passion fruit cultivation. An acre of passion fruit produces 15-20 tons, giving an average income of Ksh. 1,000,000.
Kales (Sukuma Wiki)
Kales are easy to plant and harvest, and you can use a small piece of land to cultivate. They are highly profitable due to their high demand in the Kenyan market. With a short maturity period, allowing for multiple harvests in a year.
Proper management practices can result in a consistent income stream for farmers. Adequate water supply is essential, with regular irrigation during dry spells. Planting should be done at the onset of the rainy season.
With an acre of kale, you can produce an average of 225 tons. One ton ranges between Ksh. 40,000 and 50,000, making an income of Ksh. 800,000-1,000,000.
Spinach spinach continues to be an excellent crop choice for cultivation in Kenya. Known for its rich nutritional profile, spinach is a versatile leafy green that thrives in various regions nationwide. Its short maturity period allows for quick returns on investment.
Regular harvesting and proper pest management contribute to sustained profitability. Moreover, adequate spacing is crucial for optimal growth. A well-maintained ½ acre garden can produce Ksh. 1,000 daily.
Lettuce is a high-value crop, especially in urban markets and restaurants. Its profitability is augmented by its relatively short cultivation period. Adequate spacing and proper thinning are essential to prevent diseases and promote healthy growth. Good agricultural practices and maintaining quality during harvesting contribute to increased market value.
Dania is widely used in local cuisine, adding flavor and depth to various dishes. It is known for its adaptability to different soil types and climates, making it well-suited for cultivation in Kenya’s diverse agricultural landscapes.
Dania can be sold as fresh leaves or dried seeds, adding versatility to market options. Proper post-harvest handling ensures a higher market price. With ½ an acre of land, you can earn an income of between Ksh. 250,000 and 300,000.
Strawberries are in high demand, both in local and international markets. The fruit’s versatility in culinary applications contributes to its marketability. Also, its short harvest period of 3 to 4 months makes it a preferred farming venture for many farmers.
With careful attention to cultivation practices, disease management, and post-harvest handling, strawberry farming can be a profitable venture for Kenyan farmers. Crop rotation and proper spacing help prevent diseases and ensure optimal growth.
The advantage of strawberries is that you can cultivate them on a small piece of land and earn a decent income. For instance, ⅛ an acre can produce 30 to 50 kgs of strawberries a week. With each kg costing Ksh 200, you expect an income of between Ksh 150,000 to 200,000.
Carrots are a staple in Kenyan diets, ensuring a consistent demand in local markets. Additionally, carrots have export potential, contributing to their profitability.
Carrot farming can be a reliable and profitable enterprise for Kenyan farmers with proper soil preparation, irrigation, and pest management. Moreover, adequate spacing and weed control are essential to prevent nutrient competition.
The average production of carrots in an acre is 25-30 tons, each costing Ksh. 60,000. This yield can produce an income of between Ksh. 1,500,000 and 1,800,000.
French beans are a high-value crop with significant demand in both local and international markets. Kenya has established itself as a key exporter of French beans. French beans can be a profitable horticultural crop for Kenyan farmers with careful attention to:
- Quality control
- Pest management
- Adherence to export standards
Additionally, French beans benefit from trellising to support plant growth and ease of harvesting. An acre of French beans can produce 1.5-2 tons, with one ton costing 200,000. This would translate to an income of Kshs. 300,000-400,000 per acre.
Mushroom Cultivation in Kenya
Mushrooms are not a regular dish for most Kenyans, but it’s a profitable farming venture due to their nutritional value and culinary versatility. The relatively short cultivation cycle allows for multiple harvests in a year, contributing to profitability.
As a niche and high-value crop, mushrooms present a lucrative opportunity for Kenyan farmers, especially those focusing on specialty and gourmet markets. You can grow mushrooms indoors and enjoy the harvest proceeds with:
- Proper light
- Moderate temperatures
- Adequate water
Some exotic types, like shiitake and oyster, can be grown without soil, making their management easier. An eighth of an acre can yield 2 tons of mushroom, giving returns of ksh1.2 million.
Snow peas, thriving in Kenya’s diverse climates, are a lucrative choice. Known for their crisp texture and sweet flavor, they are a delicious addition to local cuisine and offer high market demand. Their adaptability to various altitudes and temperatures makes them suitable for many regions in Kenya.
Snow peas are a reliable source of income for farmers due to their year-round availability, and their nutritional value adds to their appeal. Farmers can capitalize on the growing interest in snow peas domestically and internationally with proper cultivation techniques.
An acre of snow peas can produce 1.5- 2 tons. With a ton of snow peas selling at Kshs 250,000, you can earn Ksh 375,000 and 500,000 per acre.
Kenya’s diverse climate and fertile soils create an ideal environment for macadamia cultivation. Macadamia nuts, revered for their health benefits, are in high demand globally. With proper care, macadamia trees can yield substantial harvests. The long maturation period requires patience, but the economic rewards are significant.
Kenya’s macadamia industry could be a significant player in the global market. By adopting best practices in orchard management and harvesting, Kenyan farmers can capitalize on the opportunities macadamia farming presents.
The yield for an acre of macadamia is 2-3 tons. Each ton goes for approximately Kshs 200,000. This would give an income of between Ksh 400,000 and 600,000.
Pineapple’s economic importance lies not only in local consumption but also in export markets. Kenya’s pineapple industry has grown steadily, supported by favorable agroecological conditions. Sustainable farming practices increase yield and quality. They include:
- Organic cultivation
- Efficient irrigation
- Pest management
The high demand for Kenyan pineapples in international markets presents an opportunity for farmers to contribute to the country’s economic growth while maintaining environmental sustainability in their agricultural practices.
An acre of pineapple farm can hold 22,000 plants. With each pineapple costing between Ksh 40 and 60, you can expect a potential return of around 1,320,000 per acre.
Onions, a staple in many culinary dishes, are well-suited for cultivation in Kenya’s diverse agroecological zones. Kenyan farmers can achieve high onion yields with proper soil preparation, irrigation, and pest control. The crop’s short maturity period allows for multiple planting cycles in a year, contributing to a steady income stream.
Onions also have a high market demand, both domestically and internationally. By adopting modern farming techniques and engaging in value addition, Kenyan onion farmers can enhance their competitiveness in the market.
An acre of onions produces an average of 15-20 tons. One ton costs Ksh 60,000, earning between Ksh 950,000 and 1,200,000.
Pawpaw, or papaya, cultivation in Kenya holds immense promise to farmers. With its fast growth and high yield potential, pawpaw is a lucrative option for farmers. The fruit’s popularity in local markets and its export potential provide farmers with diverse marketing opportunities.
Proper soil preparation, pest management, and post-harvest handling are crucial for maximizing the benefits of pawpaw cultivation. An acre of papaw can yield about 30 tons. With each kg going for Ksh 30, the income is expected to be Kshs 900,000.
Kenya’s diverse altitudes and climates create favorable conditions for avocado cultivation. Avocados, rich in healthy fats and nutrients, have gained popularity in global markets. Successful avocado farming involves proper orchard management, irrigation, and pest control. With varieties like Hass and Fuerte proving well-suited to Kenyan conditions, farmers can explore local and international markets. Avocado farming contributes to food security and offers economic opportunities for Kenyan farmers, positioning the country as a significant player in the global avocado market. The profit margin per acre of avocado is between Ksh 500,000 and 1,000,000.