Kiwi Farming Project For Beginners
Kiwi is a deciduous vine and is native to China which has now been spread across New Zealand, Italy, United States, Japan, Australia, France, Chile and Spain.
In India, this food has become so much popular day by day and its commercial farming has extended to the mid hills of Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, the Nilgiri Hills and the Hills of Tripura.
Kiwi farming is profitable if good farming practises are followed and it has a huge demand in the market. A single mature vine of Kiwi can give you 80 to 90 kg of Kiwi fruits. The market value increases at the rate of 4.1 % annually and According to resources, the sale value of Kiwi has touched 6.9 billion dollars globally in the year 2019.
The leading producer of Kiwi is China producing about 2.2 million tons of kiwi fruits and it is slightly more than half of the world’s total kiwi production.
Here in this article, we will learn about the cultivation practises so that you can grow them commercially and earn decent profits.
Introduction to Kiwi fruit
Kiwi or Actinidia deliciosa is a deciduous vine fruit belonging to the family of Actinidiaceae and is also popularly known as ‘Chinese gooseberry’. It has a wonderful source of Vitamin B and C. It is also packed with some minerals such as Potassium, Phosphorus and Calcium.
They are consumed fresh as a fruit or are also combined with other fruits in salads and desserts and are also used in the preparation of Squash and Wine.
Kiwi fruits have a thin, fuzzy, fibrous tart and the edible part has a light brown skin with light green or golden fleshy part with rows of tiny, black coloured edible seeds. It has a soft texture with a sweet and unique flavour and the common cultivar of kiwi is oval in shape with a size of about a large hen’s egg.
Kiwi fruit originated in China but in the 20th century, the Kiwi seeds were brought to New Zealand from China, where the cultivation and development of the Kiwi cultivars started on a large scale.
Kiwi fruits have an excellent demand in domestic as well as export markets and its cultivation can generate great profits. The commercial production of Kiwi is increasing rapidly because of its high nutritive and medicinal value and also because of the profits.
Top 10 Kiwi producing Countries
Here’s a list of top 10 Kiwi producing countries.
- New Zealand
- United States of America
Kiwi fruit Nutritional Benefits
Kiwi fruit is loaded with essential Vitamins and minerals and it gives you great nutritional boosts. Some of the the top health benefits of Kiwi fruits are mentioned below:
- Kiwi fruits are a powerhouse of Vitamins and Minerals such as Calcium, Iron Potassium, Magnesium and Vitamins A, B6, B12 and E.
- It has a high source of vitamin C.
- It is rich in many medicinally useful compounds.
- It is beneficial in treating sleep disorders.
- It has so many dietary fibres that it helps in digestion and prevents numerous diseases.
- It is a good source of folate that is beneficial for pregnant women and is good for growing children as well.
- The Vitamins are good for skin and the fruits also contain Omega 3 fatty acids.
- It helps in lowering blood pressure levels.
- It supports heart health.
Varieties of Kiwi
Kiwi fruits has many varieties that are grown across the world, but the most popular varieties include:
- Fuzzy Kiwi fruit
- Golden kiwi fruit
- Chinese egg gooseberry
- Baby Kiwi fruit
- Arctic Kiwi fruit
- Red Kiwi fruit
- Purple Kiwi frui
Some other varieties that are cultivated in India are:
Kiwi farming is easy and simple and kiwi fruits can be grown in different types of fertile soil in temperate climates having adequate summer heat.
But for producing the best quality Kiwi fruits, it requires well drained fertile soil, shelter from the wind, adequate moisture all through the year and protection from autumn and spring frosts.
Kiwi fruits are a great business idea for educated unemployed people where the production cost is relatively less as compared to some other crops and you just need a piece of fertile land.
Also, the marketing of kiwi fruits is very easy as it has a good market demand and value and you can receive higher prices as compared to other common fruits.
Here, we will try to describe everything about the Kiwi Farming, from planting to harvesting and the growing requirements of Kiwi fruits.
Climatic Requirement for Kiwi Farming
Kiwi fruit is a temperate season crop and hence it cannot tolerate hot tropical climate. Also, it cannot withstand Frost but it requires 800 hours of chilling to cultivate them. This means that kiwi fruits require 700 to 800 hours of chilling during the winters and the average temperature should remain below 7 °C.
The ideal region for Kiwi cultivation are the hilly regions which are about 800 to 1500 metres above the mean sea level. During summer, the temperature should not rise above 35 °C as above this range, scorching of leaves can occur. It requires an annual rainfall of 150 to 200 cm during their growing period.
Strong winds and Frost during the growing period or the flowering stage can be injurious to the plants so the young and flowering shoots need protection from the winds to grow into high quality kiwi fruits.
The Kiwi fruit vines are leafless and dormant and can withstand frosts upto -10 °C but the plants are vulnerable to Frost damage during Spring and Autumn and the farmers often use sprinklers and wind machines for protecting their crop from frosts.
Soil Requirement for Kiwi Farming
Kiwi fruits require deep friable sandy loam soils that are rich in organic matter having good drainage capacity with the pH range of 6.5 to 7.0 to obtain optimum fruit yield.
Propagation in Kiwi Farming
Kiwi fruits are propagated mostly through vegetative methods using Cuttings and Grafting.
Land Preparation & Planting in Kiwi Farming
The land for cultivating kiwi is prepared by converting the steep land into terraces and the rows are oriented in North-South direction so that it can be exposed to maximum sunlight.
The soil is ploughed for 3-4 times followed by 1-2 times harrowing to form a fine tilth and it should be made sure that the soil is free from all kinds of weed for successful establishment of plants.
For plantation, T-bar or Pergola training system is adopted. The pits should be made by maintaining 4 m spacing between row to row and 5-6 m spacing from plant to plant (T- bar Training system) or a spacing of 6m from row to row (Pergola Training system). The pit depth should be at the same depth as the plants grown in the nursery.
The pits should be filled with Farmyard manure or any well composted bulky Organic manure and for organic farming, you can also add Jeevamrutha or Sanjivak after application of Farmyard manure to increase the fertility of the soil.
After planting, make sure to press the soil properly around the roots of the plant so that it could grow properly and provide irrigation after planting immediately. The excess water should be drained out as water logging can harm the growth of kiwi vines. The land should be prepared by the end of December.
Pollination in Kiwi Farming
For pollination, male and female flowers are borne on different plants and for every 9 female plants, 1 male plant should be planted for successfully pollinating them. Insect pollination can also be carried out for the production of marketable fruits.
The flowers of kiwi fruits are pollinated and thinned during the early summer season. As Kiwi fruit are not self pollinating so a part of each Orchard is devoted to male vines unless the pollen is brought in for Artificial pollination.
Kiwi fruits need high levels of pollination that is about 13000 pollen grains per stigma as compared to other fruits. The growers sometimes place numerous Honey Bee hives in the orchards temporarily for artificially pollinating the flowers.
Best Planting Season for Kiwi Farming
Kiwi fruits are planted usually in the month of January. However, you can start the plantation from late January to March. The planting should be done at the same depth at which the plants were grown in the nursery.
The soil should be firmly placed around the roots and it should be pruned hard to 30 cm so that it could encourage the vigorous growth of the plants.
Training in Kiwi Farming
Training is essential for maintaining a well formed framework of main branches and the fruiting arms. The supporting structures or fences are constructed of three types. A single wire fence is generally adopted through another wire and the structure takes the form of Kniffin system.
One 2.5 mm thick tensile wire is stung on the top of pillars that are 1.8 – 2 metres high above the ground where the pillars are made of wood, concrete or iron and erected at a distance of 6 m from each other in a row.
A cross arm of 1.5 m on the pole also carries two outrigger wires and the laterals arising from the main branch are trained on the canopy of three wires.
This type of training is known as T-Bar or overhead trellis or telephone system. A flat topped network or criss cross wires are also prepared to train the vines on Pergola or Bower type of training system but it is costly and is also difficult to manage but it can give higher yield as compared to other training systems.
Irrigation in Kiwi Farming
For better establishment of the plants, every Orchard or crop requires good irrigation. In kiwi cultivation, it is important to provide frequent irrigation during the first two to three years of planting, especially during drought or summer season.
In general, irrigating at a 10-12 days interval is beneficial. However, excessive irrigation should be avoided as it can lead to Frost damage in plants during the winters.
You can use Drip irrigation, mini sprinkler or impact sprinkler for irrigation purposes as it helps in reducing water loss and also results in higher water use efficiency.
Manures & Fertilisers in Kiwi Farming
Manuals and fertilisers should be properly applied for the health of the plant and properly fruit setting. As a basal dose, 25 kg of well decomposed Farmyard manure should be applied along with 0.5kg of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium mixture containing 15% of Nitrogen.
After 5 years, 850 to 900 gram of Nitrogen, 500 to 600 gram of Phosphorus and 800 to 900 gram of Potassium along with Farmyard manure should be applied. Nitrogen should be applied in two equal doses, half of it 3-4 months before the fruit setting stage and the remaining half of it after the fruit setting stage.
If the Kiwi fruit has a deficiency of Chlorine then it should be applied because it can affect the growth of shoot and roots.
Also the excess levels of Boron and Sodium can be harmful. In young vines, the fertiliser should be mixed in the soil within the periphery of the vines and for the matured vines, it is broadcasted evenly over the entire soil surface.
Intercultural Operations in Kiwi Farming
Intercultural operations are carried out on a regular basis so as to promote healthy growth of the plants. The intercultural operations performed in kiwi farming are:
- Weed control – In Kiwi Orchard, the weed control operation is carried out on a regular basis to remove the weeds by applying recommended chemical weedicides. Mulching is also preferred for controlling the weeds. Mulching also helps in reducing the irrigation requirement by saving from water evaporation. You can use dry leaves, straw or some organic materials like these as the mulch material.
- Pruning – The kiwi plants are pruned hard to about 30 cm for encouraging vigorous growth of the plants.
Intercropping in Kiwi Farming
Intercropping helps the farmers get extra income and in Kiwi farming, many vegetables and leguminous crops can be intercropped during the initial 4 to 5 years of plantation.
Pests & Diseases in Kiwi Farming
Kiwi crop is not affected by any serious pests or diseases so far and that’s why it is very profitable to grow, however, excess watering or waterlogged conditions can lead to fungal diseases.
Some of the insect pests found in Kiwi cultivation are:
- Leafroller caterpillars
- Armoured scales
- Box elder bug
- Root knot nematode
The common diseases found in kiwi cultivation are:
- Armillaria root rot
- Bacterial blight
- Bleeding canker
- Crown gall
- Phytophthora root
- Crown rot
The local horticulture or agriculture department can be a good source of finding suitable solutions for controlling these pests and diseases.
Harvesting & Yield in Kiwi Farming
The Kiwi vine starts bearing fruits at the age of 4 to 5 years. However commercial production starts after 7 to 8 years. The fruits mature earlier at the lower altitudes and later at higher altitudes because of the temperature variations.
It is recommended to harvest large size fruits and leave the smaller ones to increase the fruit size. After harvesting the fruits, they are wrapped with a coarse cloth so as to remove the stiff hairs that are found on the surface of the fruits.
Hard fruits are transported to the market. The fruits lose their firmness in 2 weeks and become edible.
The yield depends on many factors like the age of the tree, variety of the crop used, irrigation facilities, soil, climate and other Orchard management practises. On an average, you can obtain 50-100 kg of Kiwi fruits per vine and the vines on trellis produce about 25 tonnes per ha after 7 years.
Post Harvest Management in Kiwi Farming
The post harvest management in kiwi farming is based on the following steps:
- Grading – Kiwi fruits are graded based on weight. The fruits weighing 70 grams and above are considered as A grade fruits, while the fruits weighing 40 to 70 grams are considered as B grade fruits.
- Storage – Kiwi fruits have an excellent keeping quality and therefore it can be kept in good condition in a cool place without refrigerating it for 8 weeks. It can be kept for 4 to 6 months in cold storage at -0.6 °C – 0 °C.
- Packing – Kiwi fruits do not require any standard packaging. In general, cardboard boxes of 3-4 kg capacity are used for packing the Kiwi For maintaining high humidity, polythene liners in storage cases are very effective and it is also used to maintain the fruits in good condition for a longer period.
- Transportation and Marketing – Kiwi fruits are transported by trucks or lorries as a road transport and it is one of the most convenient modes of transport because of the easy approach from Orchard to market. Majority of the growers sell their produce through the trade agents in their local areas or through the commission agents at the market.
Kiwi farming is very easy to start and operate. However, you can face some problems if you are a beginner but if you learn from an existing farmer practically then it can become very easy for you. In short, it’s a wonderful fruit with excellent profits under appropriate growing conditions and Orchard management.