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palm oil in Kenya

oil palm farming in kenya

Last updated on June 9th, 2023 at 09:22 pm

This article focuses on oil palm farming in Kenya. Oil palm plantation is not a common business in Kenya.

It is successfully produced on a small scale, mainly for palm oil which is extracted from the red fruit of the oil palm.

A variety of oil palm trees grow in Kenya
  • Dura
  • Pisifera
  • Tenera
  • Hybrid Deli

Environmental conditions for the cultivation of palm trees
  • The temperature is around 20°C-35°C. 500 to 600 m above sea level.
  • Rainfall is well distributed over 1000 mm per year.
  • About 5 hours of sunlight per day.
  • Sandy loam soils, alluvial clay soils and acidic soils have a pH of 5.5.
  • The soil should also have good water holding capacity.

Palm oil

Oil palm propagation is a seed that is first grown in a nursery for 12 to 24 months and planted in the field.

Recommended spacing for planting is 7m and 8m.

Fertilizer application

When the plant is still in the nursery, it is best to apply phosphatic fertilizers such as rock phosphate, TSP, magnesium oxide or potassium chloride.

Managing pests and diseases

Insects that can attack oil palm trees include aphids, thrips, armyworms, red spider mites, and mealy bugs.

Insects can be controlled using insecticides such as confidor, hit hand, power or volium targo.

One of the most common diseases is leaf spot which can be controlled using fungicides such as Dacomil.


Oil palm takes about 6 years to bear fruit which can be brought forward for up to 6 years. The color change from black to orange is an indication of maturity.

Another sign is the failure of the first fruits individually.

Palm oil use

As mentioned earlier, palm trees are grown for palm oil which is the most widely used oil in Kenya and the rest of the world.

Palm oil is also used to make products such as cosmetics, soaps, breads, and many other products.

From palm seeds, one can extract one liter of palm oil.

Palm oil market in Kenya
The main users of palm oil are oil refineries and manufacturing companies. Palm oil is used as an ingredient or as a flavoring agent to create a variety of products.

Since palm cultivation is not a common business in the country, much of the palm oil is imported from other countries.