This article focuses on dragon fruit farming in Kenya. Dragon fruit farming is a very profitable venture that very few farmers in Kenya have embraced. It is one of the highest-priced fruits in Kenya, retailing at about 900 Kshs per kg in the local markets.
Also known as Pitaya or the Strawberry pear, Dragon fruit thrives in semi-arid areas. It is grown in different parts of the country. This includes Meru, Machakos, Laikipia, Naivasha, Makueni and other areas.
Nutritional benefits of dragon fruit
- Dragon fruit is a rich source of dietary fiber.
- Aids in lowering cholesterol levels in the body.
- Contains Vitamin B3 which serves various functions such as enhancing skin appearance and smoothness.
- Contains other important vitamins such as vitamin C and minerals such as calcium.
Ecological conditions for growing dragon fruit
- Temperature that ranges between 20°c- 30°c.
- Annual rainfall of about 40-60mm.
- Grows well in arid and semi-arid areas.
- Requires very little water.
- Can grow on any type of soil as long as the soil is well-drained.
- They need a support structure as they are vines. They can’t uprightly grow on their own.
Harvesting of dragon fruit
The maturity period of a dragon fruit depends on the method of planting, either propagation from a seed or cutting from a mature vine.
While growing, dragon fruit is usually green in colour. When the fruit matures, it turns red colour.
Dragon fruits are not perishable. They can last for a long period of time as they stop ripening once they are cut off from the main plant.
Dragon fruit market in Kenya
There is a high demand for dragon fruits in the country but the supply is low.
Demand for dragon fruit is high in upmarket areas in Nairobi, such as Westlands, Muthaiga, Karen and Parklands where there are a lot of Asians who love the fruit.