Saturday, 17 May 2014

Earn Returns of Ksh 592,000 per acre from broccoli growing in Kenya

Broccoli is a highly nutritious vegetable with medicinal properties. Recommended plant population is 14800plants per acre yielding heads weighing 1kg each, sold at 40/= per kg. The cost for producing the vegetable is in the range of  Ksh 148, 580 per acre with the following attractive expected Gross income: 14800 multiply by 40=Ksh 592,000.Net income: 592,000 minus148,580= ksh 443,420.Broccoli growing in Kenya is expanding as more people become aware of the high nutritive contents of the vegetable. The vegetable shares brassicas family with cabbage, hence management practices are similar.

Broccoli is started in the nursery which regularly watered with an overhead shade to prevent wilting and drying in harsh weather. Young plantlets are recommended for be transplanting when they have at least 4 true leaves. During field establishment, recommended spacing of seedlings is 60cm between rows and 45 cm from plant to plant. Manure is required up to 40 tons per hectare at the planting time. DAP   fertilizer should be applied at 40grams per plant at planting to promote strong roots.  Later on a topdress of CAN, 20g / plant is necessary when plants are 20 cm high.

Broccoli growing in Kenya requires a second top dressing with CAN fertilizer three weeks after the 1st topdressing at a rate of 40 grams per plant. The fields should be free of weeds until the crop covers the ground. Diamond back moth, cabbage sawfly, cabbage aphids, cutworms etc are the major pests experienced during the growing period. Disease of economic importance includes black rot, ring spot, downy mildew. Downy mildew is severe in broccoli growing particularly in Kenyan high altitudes. The control measures are crop rotation, use of certified seeds as well as nursery and field hygiene .Maturity period ranges from 80-90 days from germination. Broccoli should be harvested in clean containers to avoid contamination.