News and knowhow for farmers

New dwarf coconut cuts growing time in half wooing coast farmers back

Since its heydays in the 90’s, coconut farming has experienced a steep decline in fortunes. Key to this is the time it takes to replenish aging underperforming coconut trees.

While it takes the East African Tall (EAT) coconut– the most common coconut variety in Kenya– six to seven years to mature, the Deejay Sampoorna dwarf coconut variety introduced to Kenya in 2019 by KALRO takes just two-and-a-half to three years.

This has encouraged younger farmers such as Rashid Kalu— a farmer in Kilifi County– to take up coconut farming.

“Compared to the EAT, and even locally developed hybrids, the Sampoorna variety has been a game-changer. “The time it took to establish a new coconut farm was too demanding for young people. Three years is a more realistic timeframe,” he opined.

Before being part of the 200 farmers issued with the hybrid variety by KALRO in 2019, Kalim Mbogho was contemplating abandoning farming the crop entirely. ”A lot of the coconuts on my farm had been planted by my grandfather. Most were aging and had become unproductive, he said. 

The idea of planting new trees and waiting close to a decade for them to grow was unfeasible to him. “If you look around neighboring farms, old and premature coconut trees are being cut down for timber making because most farmers cannot bear to wait seven-plus years for the trees to start fruiting,” observed the resident of Kaloleni, Kilifi County.

Doubled yield

On top of halving the time to fruiting, the Indian-developed hybrid coconut also has a yield potential of 250 plus nuts per year compared to 80 nuts gotten from the East Africa Tall.

It also has a comparatively higher oil content of 68 per cent compared to 65 per cent and a higher amount of copra– the part of the coconut that is consumed– of 200 grams per nut compared to 140 grams.

Additionally, it produces an extra 300 ml of sweeter coconut water compared to 200 ml from the tall variety.

Read more:

Coconut farmers halve growing time, triple yield with Indian hybrid

Soaring demand for bixa by local hotels excites coastal farmers

Coastal Farmers Find Empowerment Growing Neem Trees

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