5 profitable trees to grow in Kenya

Trees are not exciting, but they can be a great source of long-term investment. We should all invest in businesses that will help us secure our financial future. This is because time flies and soon you will be doing one of the following:

  • Paying your kids’ school fees The cost of school fees goes up each year, and this can be a financial nightmare if you have many kids and you have not prepared yourself. Kindergarten school fees are not usually that much, but once you start paying high school and university fees, then that’s when the sweating starts.
  • Retirement: You need to put aside money that will take care of you when you retire. If you find yourself without backup money during retirement, then you will start asking for help from your kids, who are also struggling in their young lives. Invest now and relax tomorrow.

There are various ways we can invest and save up money for tomorrow. This is normally done through pension schemes, SACCOs, insurance, and trust funds.

If you happen to be in possession of a piece of land, however, you can focus on growing trees as a source of income.

Here are some of the trees you can grow to help secure your future alongside other investments you have done.

Avocado Trees

Avocados, also known as “green gold,” are crops whose profitability is here to stay. Avocados love warm climates, and Kenya and other parts of Africa that have such favorable conditions can benefit from this wonderful crop. Avocados have huge potential due to their international demand. It is exported to Europe, China, and the USA, among other countries. Everyone loves eating avocados. It’s put on bread and vegetables and acts as a food accompaniment. Avocado oil can also be extracted from avocado fruits and used for cooking and cosmetic purposes.

chembulet avocados
Avocado Tree

Grafted avocado trees start bearing fruit in between 2-3 years. Let’s put it at 3 years. The Hass avocado variety is currently the most popular avocado fruit on the market. It has a bumpy green surface or skin and turns a dark purplish-black when it becomes ripe.

Once your crop reaches 7 years old, you can get up to 100 kg of fruit per tree. Buyers will come rushing to your farm once your fruits are ready. They will buy 1 kg of fruit at Ksh 100 per kilo. These prices change from time to time, of course. The more trees you have, the better.

This is how you grow Hass avocado trees.

Eucalyptus Trees

Eucalyptus trees, also called Blue Gums, can be found in most parts of Kenya. They have been around for quite some time, and most of us take these trees for granted. Eucalyptus trees are fast, straight-growing trees that can reach a height of up to 50 m and have a trunk diameter at a breast height of 2 m.

eucalyptus tree
Eucalyptus Tree also call Blue Gum Tree

Tree prices have been increasing over the years, and the current price for a 10-year-old tree stands between Ksh 4,000 and Ksh 8,000. Prices also depend on the size of your tree. These prices will continue to increase as trees become scarcer in Kenya. One acre can take 1200 plants grown at a spacing of 2m x 2m.

Cypress Trees

Cypress is the single most important wood needed when you are building a house. Most houses use cypress wood for roofing and ceiling placement. Those on a budget try and wiggle the use of eucalyptus trees, but cypress remains king when it comes to roofing. This is because the cypress wood remains straight when cut. This makes it suitable for roofing. But how much does it cost?

cypress tree farming
Cypress Tree

Cypress trees are expensive. They are currently sold in the timberyard at Ksh 35 per foot, while Eucalyptus trees are Ksh 27 per foot. Cypress can be cut for wood when it reaches 10 years old. You can sell a tree at Ksh 10,000.

How many cypress trees can I grow per acre in Kenya

The number of cypress trees that can be grown per acre in Kenya depends on several factors, such as the species of cypress, the spacing between trees, and the intended use of the trees (e.g., timber production, windbreaks, or landscaping).

For example, the most common species of cypress grown in Kenya is Cupressus lusitanica, which can be planted at a spacing of 2.5 x 2.5 meters (equivalent to 1,600 trees per acre) for timber production or at a spacing of 5 x 5 meters (equivalent to 320 trees per acre) for windbreaks and landscaping.

However, other factors such as soil type, climate, and altitude can also affect the growth and yield of cypress trees. Therefore, it is recommended that you consult with a forestry expert or local nursery to determine the optimal number of cypress trees to plant per acre based on your specific location and objectives.

Macadamia Trees

Have you ever seen macadamia nuts in supermarkets? Those come from these trees. Macadamia nuts are in high demand in the market. It takes 7 years for you to start harvesting your nuts. This is one of the reasons why there is a high demand for the fruit.

macadamia tree
Macadamia Tree

Most people are not ready to wait for 7 years to get a return on their investment. This creates a low supply and high demand scenario in the market. One macadamia tree can give you up to 80 kg of nuts per tree. This is the yield from the improved variety. Local varieties will give you 30 kilos. You should consult before buying seedlings to get the best type of variety for your region. A kg of macadamia nuts goes for Ksh 200 per kg.

Grafted Mango Trees

Mangoes are everywhere these days. They have become an increasingly important fruit to Kenyans, with the average Kenyan consuming an estimated 12 kg per year.

mango yield per acre in Kenya
Mango Tree

There is a massive and increasing regional and global demand for mango juice and other processed products such as:

  • Dried mango confectionery products.
  • Green mango in brine.
  • Vinegar for processing.
  • Jams, preserves.
  • Chutneys.
  • Mango seed oil for cosmetics.

Did you know that Kenya is among the world’s highest mango producers? Kenya is the third-largest mango producer in Africa, We can therefore exploit our country’s favorable agro-climatic conditions and grow mango trees and secure favorable incomes.

Mangoes are best adapted to warm tropical climates. Mangoes require a dry period at the flowering stage and sufficient heat during ripening. This means your region should have moderate rain followed by a dry season.

These areas are Mombasa, Lamu, Garisa, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, lower parts of Kiambu, Thika, Matuu, Muranga, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Mwea, and Maranjau.

Grafted mango trees take 3 years to bear fruit. The break-even point comes after 5 years. A single tree can give you up to 1000 fruits, which you can sell at Ksh 10 per fruit. Some of the mango varieties on the market are Kent, Tommy, Vandyke, and Apple. The Apple Mango is the most popular mango variety in Kenya.

Tree Planting Business in Kenya

Kenya, like many countries in the world, faces challenges related to deforestation, climate change, and unsustainable land use practices. However, many Kenyans are taking action to combat these problems through tree planting businesses.

The demand for timber, fuelwood, and other forest products in Kenya has led to the depletion of the country’s forests. According to the National Forest Resources Assessment (NFRA) Report 20211, Kenya has lost approximately 12% of its forest cover in the last two decades. Deforestation contributes to climate change, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, and other environmental problems.

Tree planting businesses offer a solution to these issues. These businesses involve growing and selling trees for various purposes, including timber, firewood, and carbon sequestration. They also provide a sustainable source of income for communities that rely on forest resources.

One example of a successful tree planting business in Kenya is the Green Belt Movement. Founded in 1977 by the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, the organization has planted millions of trees across Kenya to combat deforestation and promote sustainable land use practices. The Green Belt Movement also trains women in tree planting and management, empowering them to become entrepreneurs and leaders in their communities.

Another example of a tree planting business in Kenya is the Better Globe Forestry Company. The company sells trees to individuals and organizations as a way to offset their carbon emissions. The company also partners with farmers to grow trees on their land, providing them with a sustainable source of income while helping to restore Kenya’s forest cover.

Tree planting businesses in Kenya not only benefit the environment and local communities but also have the potential to generate significant economic benefits. According to a study by the World Agroforestry Centre, agroforestry systems (which incorporate trees

with crops and livestock) can increase farm productivity, food security, and income diversification. Agroforestry also enhances soil fertility, water conservation, and carbon storage.

Kenya has made significant progress in increasing its forest and tree cover in recent years. According to the NFRA Report 2021, Kenya’s forest cover now stands at 8.83 percent while tree cover is at 12.13 percent. This means that Kenya has attained and exceeded the constitutional threshold of having 10 percent tree cover as obligated in Article 69, Section 1 (a). The achievement has also responded to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive in early 2019, to meet 10 percent tree cover by 2022.

However, there is still room for improvement and innovation in the tree planting sector. Some of the challenges facing tree planting businesses include lack of access to quality seeds and seedlings, inadequate extension services and technical support, high costs of land and labor, and low market prices for forest products. To overcome these challenges, tree planting businesses need to adopt best practices, leverage partnerships, and explore new opportunities for value addition and market linkages.

Conclusion

Growing trees takes time. You can make money from trees, but you need patience for your investment to mature.

The start-up costs of growing trees are high, but if you create a step-by-step planting plan, then all will be well. You can start small and grow.

The market is hungry for fruits and trees. These are investments that will never let you down.

Do you have capital and land? Then go ahead and start growing trees. If you grow them today and wait for a few more years, then you will have great success financially. This will help you pay your bills and cushion you through hard times.

Which other type of trees or topic would you like me to research? Please leave a comment below.

References

  • “Mango Production,” SHEP PLUS Model Farmer Groups.
  • “Mango Production Investment Case,” Kenya Agribusiness and Agro-Industry Alliance (KAAA).
  • “Eucalyptus Growing in Kenya,” Kenya Forest Service.
  • “Avocado Production,” SHEP PLUS Model Farmer Groups.
  • “Value chain analysis for Macadamia Nuts from Kenya,” CBI Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • “Cypress Trees” – Wikipedia
Joseph Boit
Show full profile Joseph Boit

Joseph is a social entrepreneur with a curious mind and a love for farming. Big dreamer and a technology enthusiast.

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