Farmers are now looking for an alternative to grow apples locally, and the farming of Wambugu apples has excited many farmers in Kenya and abroad.

The story of farming Wambugu apples in Kenya

People like eating apples, but in Kenya, imported apples are very expensive and farmers are now looking for an alternative to grow apples locally, and the farming of Wambugu apples has excited many farmers in Kenya and abroad. In this article, we have gathered and reviewed some information from Wambugu Apple farm as well as from some farmers who have been growing the Wambugu apple variety in Kenya.

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It is said that an apple a day keeps a doctor away, but what if you could venture into the business of farming apples and keep poverty away? Think about it this way: A huge percentage of apples consumed in Kenya, almost 99% are imported from South Africa, the Middle East region, and the Mediterranean countries majorly Egypt. The price of one piece of apple fruit in Kenya goes for around $ 0.5. One kilogram of the imported apples go for up to 10 dollars. The price is very inhibitive especially the apple lovers who do not have enough disposable income. However, with the invention of Wambugu apples, which is a locally developed variety, Kenya may soon say goodbye to the importation of expensive apples.

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Here is the outline of today’s story of farming Wambugu apples in Kenya.

Details of Wambugu Apple Farm:

  1. Location of Wambugu apple farm
  2. Types of Wambugu apples
  3. Market for Wambugu apple seedlings
  4. Cost of seedlings
  5. Transplanting
  6. Maturity period
  7. Contacts of Wambugu apple farm 

Location of Wambugu Apple farm

Wambugu apple farm is in Laikipia County, approximately 200 kilometers from the capital city of Kenya, Nairobi. The exact location is a place called Makutano, near the farms allocated to the victims of post-election violence. Laikipia County is one of the semi-arid counties in Kenya. On this location, Wambugu apple farm has the seedlings section as well as an operational farm where they actively grow, harvest, and sell apple fruits.

The nursery contains over 10,000 grafted Wambugu apple seedlings that are ready for market, which signifies the capacity of the farm to supply seedlings sufficiently to the whole country and even export.

The Wambugu apple farm itself is approximately 3 acres with around 1500 stems of mature apple trees.

Types of Wambugu apple varieties

According to Catherine Wambugu, the daughter of the founder of Wambugu Apple Farm and the manager of Wambugu apples, there are three types of Wambugu apples that farmers should be aware of.

  • Wambugu 1: This is the red-colored staple apple
  • Wambugu 2: This is the green-colored apple
  • Wambugu 3: This is the pink-colored apple

All these types of Wambugu apples are grafted. The rootstalk is a hardy wild apple variety that makes the apple survive quite well in harsh environmental conditions.

Market for Wambugu apple seedlings

Wambugu apple seedlings are commercialized locally in Kenya and abroad under an international export licensed. If you are located outside Kenya, Wambugu farm can organize and send your seedlings through an efficient legal channel. They have been exporting to countries such as Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Israel, Cameroon, Tanzania, and Ghana.

Wambugu apples do well in all types of soils and in many weather conditions apart from the swampy areas, that’s why they are on high demand from across the world more than any other apple variety.

Wambugu farm is certified by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KARLO).

Cost of seedlings

If you buy the seedlings directly for the Wambugu apple farm, you will get them at a cost of Ksh 1000 ($10) per stem. If you buy them from licensed seedlings sellers, the price might go higher depending on your location.


You start by making a planting pit/hole that is 2 meters cube. Additionally, the wider you make the hole, the more advantageous it is to your apples because it will allow more space for root growth and development.

 Mix the topsoil that was excavated from the hole and mix it with manure using the same ratio and refill the hole. Add water to the mixture up until the pit is fully soaked. Use about 60 liters of water.

Remove the plastic bag that covers the roots of your seedling and place the seedling gently into the planting hole. Firm the soil around the rootstalk to enhance contact between the roots and the soil in the pit.

In the end, mulch the whole pit using dry stalks preferably wheat stalks or beanstalks to reduce the rate of water loss through direct sunlight. In the absence of rain, make sure you water at least once a day.

Maturity period

All the three types of Wambugu apples take around 12 months to start producing healthy fruits and can be commercialized. Nevertheless, Wambugu apples are very hardy and sometimes start to produce flowers and fruits while at the nursery. It is recommended that you remove all the flowers and fruits until the plant is one year old on the farm after transplanting. This ensures that the tree is fully developed and can support the growth of many fruits on its branches without competition.

Productivity of Wambugu apples

One year after transplanting, each stem should give you around 40 pieces of fruits which are harvested annually. The size of the fruit is generally 0.5 inch by diameter. In the local market, such a fruit can be sold at around Ksh 30 ($0.3), this gives a potential return of $ 200,000 from one acre per annum. Reminder, one acre accommodates around 500 stems.

Contacts of Wambugu apple farm

If you wish to try Wambugu Apples on your farm, you can call the Farm Manager Madam Catherine Wambugu through this number +254722284176

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