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Apples farming in kenya

Nestled within the breathtaking expanse of Kenya’s diverse agricultural landscape lies a thriving yet lesser-known industry—apple farming. While Kenya is renowned for its abundant wildlife, stunning landscapes, and robust tea and coffee production, its apples farming in the Kenya sector is a hidden gem, quietly flourishing in select regions.

Cultivating this beloved fruit has carved a unique niche within Kenya’s agricultural tapestry, offering challenges and opportunities for local farmers.

This article discusses Kenya’s apple farming venture, exploring the intricacies, challenges, and the promising future of apple farming. 

How to Grow Apples from Seed

Seed Collection and Preparation:

Select seeds from ripe, healthy apples. Remove the seeds, wash them to eliminate any remaining pulp, and dry them thoroughly. Once dry, store the seeds in a cool, dry location until you’re ready to plant them.


To simulate winter conditions necessary for seed germination, stratification is crucial. Wrap the apple seeds in a moist paper towel or peat moss, place them in a sealed plastic bag, and store them in the refrigerator for about 70-100 days. The cold, moist environment breaks the seeds’ dormancy and prepares them for germination.

Planting the Seeds:

After stratification, prepare small pots or seedling trays with a well-draining potting mix. Plant the apple seeds about half an inch deep in the soil, lightly covering them. Water the soil gently, ensuring it stays consistently moist but not soggy.

Germination and Early Care:

Position the pots or trays in a warm, well-lit area, such as a sunny window sill. The seeds will begin to germinate over several weeks or even months. As seedlings emerge, ensure they receive ample sunlight and maintain proper watering to foster healthy growth.


Once the seedlings reach a few inches in height and have developed several sets of leaves, carefully transplant them into larger containers or an outdoor planting site. Choose a location with plenty of sunlight and nutrient-rich, well-draining soil.

Care and Pruning:

Care for the young apple tree by watering it regularly, especially during dry spells. As the tree grows, begin the process of pruning in the second or third year to encourage a strong and balanced structure. Remove any diseased or damaged branches.

Time to Fruit:

Growing an apple tree from seed is a long-term endeavor. It typically takes five to eight years or longer for the tree to mature and bear fruit. Be patient, as the apples produced may not resemble the parent fruit due to genetic variation and cross-pollination. 

How to make apples grow faster

How to Make Apple Trees Grow Faster

If you are wondering how to make your apple trees grow faster, follow the tips below:

  • Choose the right cultivar: Some apple cultivars are naturally faster-growing than others. When choosing a tree, look for a cultivar known for its fast growth.
  • Plant in the right location: Apple trees need full sun and well-drained soil to grow their best. Avoid planting in areas where the soil is heavy or wet.
  • Water regularly: Apple trees need regular watering, especially in the first few years after planting. Water deeply once a week or more often during hot, dry weather.
  • Fertilize regularly: Apple trees also need regular fertilization to grow quickly. Feed your tree with a balanced fertilizer in the spring and again in the fall.
  • Mulch around the tree:  Mulch helps retain soil moisture and suppress weeds. Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch around the tree, but keep it away from the trunk.
  • Prune regularly: Pruning helps to keep the tree healthy and encourages new growth. Prune your apple tree in the late winter or early spring before new growth begins.

As an apple farmer, consider planting the apple with a companion plant such as a legume. Legumes help improve the soil’s nitrogen content, which can benefit apple trees.

Lastly, plant the apple tree in a stress-free environment. Apple trees grow faster in areas free from pests, diseases, and extreme weather conditions.

So, what are some of the apple diseases that you need to keep an eye out for?

Apple Diseases That Affect Apple Farming

Apple farming is affected by numerous diseases that can reduce profitability.  One of these diseases is Apple Scab disease.

This fungal pathogen primarily targets leaves, fruit, and twigs, impacting the apple’s overall health and productivity. Apple scab is prevalent in regions with temperate climates and can lead to significant economic losses if not properly managed.

The symptoms of apple scab include olive-green to black lesions with a scaly or corky texture. These lesions can cause the leaves to become distorted and curled. The apple develops scab-like lesions as the disease progresses, affecting its appearance and marketability.

Other apple diseases to know about are:

Fire Blight Apple Disease

Fire blight apple disease is caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora, and primarily affects plants in the rose family, such as apples and pears.

Though Kenya has a tropical climate, the disease has been detected in cold regions that practice apple farming.


Fire blight symptoms are distinctive and can include wilting, blackening, and a scorched appearance of branches, giving the tree a burned look. 

The disease progresses during warm and moist conditions.

The Infected blossoms, shoots, and branches can have a “burned” or water-soaked appearance.


The bacterium primarily spreads through rain or water, often during flowering when rain splashes disseminate bacteria. Insects, pruning tools, and contaminated equipment can also contribute to the spread of the disease.

Management of Fire Blight Disease

One way to manage fire blight apple disease is pruning. The Infected branches should be pruned during dry weather to minimize the risk of the bacteria spreading. Pruning cuts should be made at least 8-12 inches below visible symptoms.

Apple farmers can also use Copper-based sprays to reduce bacterial populations on exposed apple trees. Lastly, avoid excessive nitrogen fertilization as this can encourage succulent growth, making the tree more susceptible to fire blight. 

Powdery Mildew Apple Disease

Powdery Mildew in Apples

One of the hallmark symptoms of powdery mildew on apple trees is the appearance of a white, powdery coating on the leaves, young shoots, flowers, and fruit. 

This substance consists of fungal spores and mycelia. Infected leaves may exhibit distortion, curling, or rolling, and severe cases can lead to stunted or dwarfed growth. The disease can also affect young, succulent shoots and result in a powdery coating on the surface of the fruit, potentially reducing its quality.

Conditions Favoring Powdery Mildew:

Contrary to expectations, powdery mildew thrives in dry conditions with high humidity rather than wet environments. It develops at moderate temperatures, typically between 60-80°F (15-27°C).

Management and Control:

Various strategies can be employed to manage powdery mildew in apple trees. One is the use of Fungicides. 

Another strategy would be to plant apple varieties resistant to powdery mildew. In addition, implement proper pruning practices to ensure good air circulation and cultural practices like removing infected debris and avoiding excessive nitrogen fertilization. 

Traditional remedies such as sulfur sprays can also be effective, and regular monitoring for early signs allows for prompt intervention to prevent the disease from spreading.

Apple farmers can also integrate pest management (IPM) practices, which combine cultural, biological, and chemical control methods.

Local agricultural extension services and horticultural experts can provide region-specific recommendations based on the apple varieties and prevailing conditions in a particular area.

Cedar Apple Rust Disease:

Cedar apple rust disease is a fungal disease caused by the pathogen Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae. This disease affects apple trees and certain juniper species, particularly Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana).


Cedar apple rust disease begins as small, yellow-orange spots on the upper surface of apple leaves. As the disease progresses, the spots develop into larger lesions with a pronounced orange color. On the undersides of the leaves, you may notice tube-like structures known as telial horns.  

The life cycle of cedar apple rust involves a complex alternation between the apple tree and the juniper host. The fungus completes different stages of its life cycle on each host. Spores produced on juniper trees are carried by wind to apple trees during wet conditions, causing infections.


  • Pruning: Pruning out galls or infected branches on juniper trees can help reduce the source of spores for apple trees.
  • Fungicides: Fungicides may be applied preventatively, especially during critical infection periods. Copper-based fungicides are best.
  • Use Resistant Apple Varieties: Some apple varieties resist cedar apple rust. Planting resistant cultivars can be an effective strategy.
  • Juniper Management: If possible, minimize the proximity of juniper trees to apple orchards to reduce the risk of spore transmission.
  • Sanitation: Remove and destroy infected leaves and fruit to prevent the overwintering of the fungus.

Severe infections of cedar apple rust can lead to defoliation, reducing the tree’s ability to photosynthesize and produce energy. This, in turn, can result in decreased fruit yield and quality. Implementing effective management strategies is crucial for preserving the health and productivity of apple orchards in areas where cedar apple rust is a concern. 

Apple Mosaic Virus

Apple mosaic virus (ApMV) is caused by a virus belonging to the genus Ilarvirus. The virus is primarily transmitted through vegetative propagation, meaning that it can be spread when infected plant material is used for grafting or planting new trees. Aphids can also spread it, transmitting the virus from infected to healthy trees during feeding.

Prevalence of the apple mosaic virus will vary depending on factors such as climate, agricultural practices, and the types of apple varieties grown.

Mosaic viruses can generally be found in various parts of the world and affect many plant species. 

Control measures for mosaic viruses typically involve using disease-free planting material, proper sanitation practices to prevent the spread of the virus, and management of aphid vectors.

If you are involved in apple cultivation and are concerned about the presence of the Apple Mosaic Virus, it is advisable to contact local agricultural extension services or plant health authorities for specific information and guidance tailored to the conditions in your region.

They can provide more in-depth insights into the prevalence of the virus, potential control measures, and best practices for maintaining healthy apple orchards.

Apple Mango Farming in Kenya

Apple mango farming in Kenya is a lucrative business venture, as apple mangoes are one of the most popular fruits in the country. They are in high demand locally and internationally, and there is a growing market for processed apple mango products, such as juices, jams, and jellies.

Suitable conditions for apple mango farming in Kenya

Apple mango trees thrive in warm, tropical climates with well-drained soils and adequate rainfall. They require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily and prefer temperatures between 20 and 35 degrees Celsius. The ideal rainfall range for apple mango farming is between 750 and 1250 millimeters yearly.

One popular apple mango variety grown in Kenya is the Tommy Atkins.

The Tommy Atkins mango is a popular commercial variety known for its long shelf life and tolerance to handling and transportation. It is the most widely grown mango cultivar in the United States, accounting for about 80% of mangoes sold in the country.


  • Appearance: Tommy Atkins mangoes are medium to large, oval or oblong in shape, with a deep yellow flesh and a heavy red blush. The skin is smooth and thick, with numerous white lenticels (pores) resembling freckles.
  • Taste: Tommy Atkins mangoes have a tart flavor with sweet notes and a hint of tropical fruit and citrus. The flesh is firm and has a moderate amount of fiber.
  • Seasonality: Tommy Atkins mangoes are typically available from March to July.
  • Origin: The Tommy Atkins mango originated in Florida in the 1920s.


Tommy Atkins mangoes are versatile and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways:

  • Fresh eating: Tommy Atkins mangoes are delicious and eaten fresh. They can be sliced, diced, or added to salads.
  • Juicing: Tommy Atkins mangoes make a refreshing and nutritious juice.
  • Smoothies: Tommy Atkins mangoes are a great addition to smoothies. They add a sweet and tropical flavor.
  • Cooking: Tommy Atkins mangoes can be used in various cooked dishes, such as jams, jellies, and chutneys.


Tommy Atkins mangoes can be stored at room temperature for 2 weeks. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks to extend their shelf life.

In conclusion, apple farming in Kenya is a lucrative venture. Contact our agronomists for sound advice and guidance to get it right the first time


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