Dragon fruits: High-value crops that Kenyan farmers are investing in

Peter Kibe

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The first time I saw dragon fruits in Kenya, I couldn’t help but remember the cactus fruits we were enjoying while playing in the semi arid fields of Narok. Back then, I couldn’t imagine that miles away, in the Asian countries, dragon fruit farming was a major business.

Back home in Kenya, cactus fruits were only considered as wild fruits, most people oblivious of the health benefits that these fruits had: maybe it’s the reason why I seldom have to see the doctor.

Now, dragon fruit farming in Kenya has picked up pace, thanks to the hawk-eyed Kenyan agri-preneurs who never miss an opportunity.

Price of dragon fruit in Kenya

Currently, dragon fruits sell at Ksh890 per kg at Zucchini supermarket, making it the highest priced fruit in Kenya. Can you even compare that with the price of hass avocado which is at Ksh100 per Kg?

So this begs the question; why is dragon fruit so expensive in Kenya? Of course the law of demand and supply plays the biggest role in determining the price. A huge amount of the dragon fruits consumed in Kenya are imported from Vietnam, the largest producer in the world so far. So take into consideration the transport cost, the fact that the fruit is rare and that the demand is higher than supply and you understand why the fruit sells for close to Kes. 1,000.

Where is dragon fruit farming in Kenya done?

Quite a number of people have called me asking, “Can dragon fruits grow in Kenya?”. Well, yes, dragon fruits can grow in Kenya. However, very few Kenyans have taken up dragon fruit farming. Mugambi and Kinoti, from Meru are the pioneers of dragon fruits farming in Kenya. The other major dragon fruit farms are in Naivasha, Makueni and Laikipia.

Peter Kibe is the compliance officer at PJ Dave Flora Limited

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