Grape fruits. They can be eaten raw or can be used to process wine and other products such as jam and grape juice.
Given the dramatic change of climate in the country that has seen many farmers incur losses, farmers can consider growing grape fruits which are non-climatic and can thrive in different climatic conditions so long as there is warm to hot temperatures available for their ripping.
Grapes are a high value crops that can earn farmers very good returns if well-managed.
Currently, a bigger percentage of the grape consumed in Kenya is imported from South Africa and Egypt and mostly sold to the high end market that pays a good price for them- a kilo goes at around Sh400-500, according to the National Farmers Information Service (NAFIS).
In Kenya, grapes can be used to reduce economic and food insecurity because there is a good market within the country.
There is ready market throughout the year and new wine companies that use grapes as their main raw material are setting shop in Kenya.
Established brewer companies such as East African breweries Ltd and Keroche Breweries Ltd are thinking of entering the wine market as they seek to diversify. The future of this crop is thus promising, according to Research Solutions Africa Report of a Study on Fresh Vegetables Market in Kenya.
Grapes are a very rich source of vitamins A, C and K including minerals such as iron, copper and manganese which are important in human health. Grapes can be grown in the home kitchen garden or just in the backyard for family consumption.
Grapes do well in deep, well-drained soils although they can grow in a range of soil types. Planting material can be obtained from seeds or just cuttings. While planting, a spacing of 3m x2m is required. An acre can hold 660 grapevines.
One grapevine can produce between 20kg to 30 kg in one year. A punnet of grapes costs Ksh 600 to Ksh 1000 per kg in super markets.
Experts advise that farmers should plant grapes with other tree crops such as mulberry or guava fruit trees to offer the grape vines support as they grow.