Cowpea Farming in Kenya:
Could cowpea farming be the best vegetable for farmers in the dry areas of Kenya?”
I found myself asking myself that question one day.
When I moved to Homabay, to try my hand in vegetable production, I found myself in a tough predicament.
I tried growing both Kunde and Sukuma wiki.
What I saw and was blew me away.
And that’s why I am here today.
To share with you my First hand experience growing Kunde…
so that when you decide to to the same, you may succeed beyond your wildest dreams.
Ready? Continue reading.
The kunde perfomed very well.
From it, I was able to harvest veges worth KSH 120,000 from the 1 acre I had grown.
But when it came to the Kale, things were not very rosy.
The sukuma wiki struggled so much with the hot weather.
For me to get something from it, I had to apply several rounds of irrigation.
If I had slacked a little, I am sure that I would have incurred a total loss on the Kale.
My experience growing both Kale and Kunde is what is making me write this post.
I want to share with you all the details so that you succeed when you grow cowpeas.
Let’s get started.
When it comes to growing vegetables, farmers in the drier areas of Ukambani, Nyanza, Rift valley, and Coast have limited options.
They cannot grow the popular sukuma wiki, as the hot dry weather makes it impossible for them to do it.
Neither can they grow cabbage, carrots, broccoli or cauliflower.
They are only left with kunde if they were to grow vegetables at all.
“Cowpeas account for roughly 16% of Kenya’s pulse production and 90% of the production is grown in Eastern Kenya, mainly in Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Embu, and Tharaka-Nithi counties. Minor volumes are produced in Coast Province (3.7%), Rift Valley (1.6%), North Eastern (0.8%), Central (0.6%) and Western (0.3%) provinces”
“Optimum cowpea production is done at a spacing of two feet by one foot between plants. The seeds should be planted at a depth of four to five centimeters deep.”
Which are the Best Cowpea Varieties to Plant In Kenya?
You may ask.
According to Farmbiz Africa…
There are four Kunde/Cowpea varieties in Kenya.
- Kitui black eye,
To get the best cowpea for planting, you can do so here. You need 15 kg of cowpea per acre
“The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization has released new high yielding disease tolerant cowpea varieties that can produce four tonnes per acre, double the amount of the existing varieties such as zebra and randa.
The varieties Kitui black eye and M66 are tolerant to leaf spot, rust and powdery mildew and are suitable for low, dry areas of North Rift Valley such as Samburu, Baringo, West Pokot, and Trans Nzoia.”