Eggplant Growing in Uganda

Eggplant growing was at first done on a small scale especially for home consumption but at the moment there has been an increase in eggplant production in the country due to the increased market demand in the country. It can also be called garden eggs and they come in different varieties. The eggplants can either be eaten when they are raw and cooked or ground and mixed with groundnuts depending on one’s preference. The benefits of growing eggplants are it helps in controlling cholesterol, it helps in strengthening the bone structure, it helps in regulating blood pressure and it also helps in regulating body weight.

eggplant farming uganda

There are various reasons as to why you should join eggplant growing and some of these include the following:

  • They are easy to manage and plant
  • The start-up capital for the eggplant farm is very little and yet the produce yields 100% profits
  • They are extremely affordable because both the leaves and the fruit are sold on the local market.
  • Eggplants do not take long to reach maturity.

Eggplant varieties in Uganda

there are various eggplant varieties in Uganda and they vary in shape, size, maturity rate, colour and growth. Below is a list of the common varieties that are grown in the country.

Small fruited egg plants

these come in different colours for example green, purple, white and lavender. The small fruited egg plants are best grown in small areas.

Oval shaped egg plants

these are best produced in a warm climate and are purplish black in colour.

The Japanese eggplants

these grow as small slender oval egg plants and the good thing about growing the Japanese eggplants is that they grow faster than the normal oval eggplants.

eggplant growing uganda

Market for the eggplants

There is a ready market for the eggplants across the country and they can be found in the local markets, supermarkets, restaurants, hotels and they can also be exported to other countries.  You need to first search for the market before you start farming. Go out to the local markets and find out how you will be transporting the eggplants after harvesting, the people you are going to supply to and how much you will be charging. You can sell at wholesale and retail prices depending on who you are supplying to. Before the eggplants are exported, they can be dried and powder made or they can be refrigerated, packed and exported to different destinations.

How to plant eggplants

The first step when it comes to planting eggplants is by preparing the land. If the land has been previously used, make sure that all the tree stumps, vegetation and any debris are cleared before adding manure to the soil. The best manure to be used is the organic ones (animal waste) and it is better if it is mixed with the soil a month before planting.  If you are planning on doing commercial eggplant farming, it is advisable that you use a tractor to clear the land.

Planting is done either in the morning or in the evening. You can either do direct planting in the garden or first plant them in the nursery before transplanting them to the main garden but if you are planting in the nursery first, then you need to make sure that the garden you are transplanting to is nearby to avoid damage to the seedlings. You need to place two seeds in the holes whether you are planting in the nursery or the main garden. If you are planting directly, make sure that there is 60cm spacing between the plants and 90cm spacing between the ridges created. Eggplants are self-pollinating crops because they contain both the female and male reproductive systems.

Transplanting of the seedlings should be done when the eggplant seedlings have at least 2 to 3 leaves. Eggplants are planted in the open field because they cannot grow in conditions where the climate is either too hot or too cold and that is why eggplant farming is not done in a greenhouse.

Pests and diseases affecting egg plants

the most common diseases that affect eggplants are the fruit rot and the bacterial wilt. These are mainly caused by wind and water and the best way to avoid them is by spraying the eggplants with fungicide. You can also use neem oil and also plant disease resistant varieties. The pests that attack eggplants include fruit borer, caterpillars which eat up the leaves, egg skeletonize, spider mites, flea beetles and bugs. These can be controlled by spraying insecticides on the whole farm.

eggplant cultivation uganda

Harvesting Of Egg Plants

The eggplants are ready for harvest after 65 to 70 days from planting but this depends on the variety of the eggplants that you have planted. When the eggplants are ready, they become smooth especially the oval elongated ones and the garden eggs lose their smoothness, the stem hardens and the more you harvest, the more the plant fruits. You can harvest twice a week and this can go on for months before the tree finally dries off.

Harvesting is done by using a sharp knife which is used to cut the eggplant from the stem. Using your hands to pluck them from the trees might damage the fruits and the stem at the same time which will reduce the flowering of eggplants in the future. After harvesting, wash the eggplants, let them dry off before transporting them to the market. Eggplant farming is a very lucrative business to venture into since the market is on the increase both within the country and outside.