PAPAYA INDUSTRY IN KENYA: PRODUCTION, CONSUMPTION AND OUTLOOK
Papaya is an important fruit crop of Kenya for both local and export markets. The plant is medium sized with a potential to produce fruits throughout the year. The ripe fruits, which are very rich in vitamins A and C, are popularly used for dessert or processed into jam or wine. Due to its habit as a single stemmed tree it can be economically produced in any size of land from kitchen gardens to large plantations. This paper is based on country wide surveys and validated statistics of papaya production from Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA), Kenya. The major commercial papaya farms in this country are located in the eastern and coastal areas at altitudes ranging from 0 to 1500 m above sea level. In 2006, the total volume of fruits produced in this country was about 2.5 million metric tons (MT), of which papaya contributed 229,950 MT as the 4th most important fruit crop. In the same year, 100% of all the papaya fruits produced were consumed locally. However, recent statistics of 2008 and 2009 reveal that small quantities of papaya were exported to UK and France. A country-wide survey reported the major constraints to papaya production in Kenya as lack of improved cultivars, unreliable methods of picking the required sex of seedlings at planting time, insufficient water, devastating pests and diseases among others. It is possible that although the papaya industry in Kenya was devastated in the last few decades by major diseases like Papaya ringspot virus (PRSV), there is a reawakening that cannot be ignored. Some immediate and long term remedies need to be sought to revamp this crop to its rightful position in contributing meaningfully to the economic growth of Kenya.
Rimberia, F.K. and Wamocho, L.S. (2014). PAPAYA INDUSTRY IN KENYA: PRODUCTION, CONSUMPTION AND OUTLOOK. Acta Hortic. 1022, 181-188
Carica papaya, economic crop, papaya diversity, production statistics, Papaya ringspot virus