Factors that affect production and marketing of strawberries in Kenya
Ochuodho, Origa Albert
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Horticulture, especially cut flowers, French beans, off-season strawberries, fruits and vegetables are increasingly becoming an important component of our domestic as well as foreign trade. The future demand for bulk sales of fruit juices and canned pineapple should make feasible annual increases of around ten percentages in value terms (Seasonal Paper No 1 of 1986). This of course includes juices made out of strawberries. The objectives of the study were to establish areas cultivation with strawberries; methods and techniques used in the cultivation and harvesting of the same; pests and disease affecting the main varieties grown in this country; their control methods and how effective they are; the yields harvested from the farms; the promotional and channel management strategies used by both farmers and buyers to market their products; the amounts purchased by buyers; the competitive position of strawberries in the market and the various market differences in terms of quality , price, packing and handling. Primary data was collected using a questionnaire composed of thirty-three questions. The questionnaire was administered to thirty-one respondents out of whom seventeen were farmers and fourteen were buyers. The study established Naivasha, Kinangop, Molo and Limuru as the main strawberry growing areas in Kenya. Most of the farms were small scale farms and most of the yields were below twenty thousand kilograms. It also revealed that crossbreeding was the most common method of cultivation used and picking by hand was the most popular method of harvesting strawberries with farmers. If further established that two main varieties were cultivated i.e. Tioga Selva and Chandler Pajaro. The Chandler Pajaro was more popular with the growers. Three main diseases were established to affect the crop in this country. They were Fusarium Oxysponium, Botrytis and Fusarium Wilt. The study established that Tioga Selfa was not susceptible to Botrytis but was affected by Fusarium Oxysponium and Fusarium Wilt. It also revealed that the Chandler Pajaro was not susceptible to Fusariu Wilt but was affected by Fusarium Oxysponium and Botrytis. This confirms the research carried out by Chandler, (1990) in the USA. The spraying method was moderately effective with Chandler Pajaro but very effective with Tioga Selva. The farmers hardly used any promotional strategies to market their strawberries apart from personal selling and use of agents. The study also established fair competition in the strawberry trade. It further revealed that handling and packing contributed fair competition in the strawberry markets other than quality and price.
- MST-Commerce