*SIX CROPS THAT CAN MAKE YOU RICH IN KENYA*
The agribusiness journey continues to be an exciting one. It is more so with Kenyan farmers now able to access international markets.
The youth are also coming in with ever more advanced technologies that have not only brought farming solutions nearer to the farmer but also made then more affordable.
While agribusiness in Kenya is on a fast growth, the following crops have an even greater advantage:
*1. Dragon fruit*
It is not by coincidence that we have chosen to start with this crop. Dragon fruit is a relatively new crop on the Kenyan soils but the kind of profit potential it has leaves everyone who gets to know about it in awe.
Take one acre for example: dragon fruit plants are vines of the cactus family. As such, they have to be provided with support such as a post or a concrete structure to remain erect.
The ideal spacing for dragon fruits is 2x2m which means an acre can accommodate 1,000 of these support posts.
On each post, 2 vines are planted hence the plant population per acre is 2,000. Each of these vines can give you 30 fruits per year, each fruit weighing on average 0.5kg. That translates to a yield of 30,000 kgs per acre every year.
Now what's crazy is the price of the fruit per acre and I would like you to check this out for yourself if you are lucky to be near a supermarket that stocks these fruits.
When we last checked, the price was at Ksh.800 per kilo at the farm gate of the largest dragon fruit farm in Kenya so far, Boffar farm, Naivasha.
Have you done the math? It comes to Ksh.24 million per acre per year.
Of course, the price of dragon fruit in Kenya at the moment is too high because 90% of the fruits that reach our supermarket shelves are imported.
As more farmers take up dragon fruit farming in Kenya, the price of the fruit will come down. Going by the statistics of the fruits we currently produce and sell locally such as strawberries, a sustainable price will be in the range of 400 per kg.
But even with such, a farmer will still be making a cool Ksh.12 million per acre every year.
The best thing about dragon fruit farming is that once you establish your farm, you have over 30 years to reap from it. You can visit Richfarm Kenya's demonstration farm in Kiritiri Embu or call them on 0724698347 / 0723213602 for more information.
*2. Passion fruit*
If you are looking for a high-value crop that can produce an income in the first year, take a look at passion fruit farming. Passion fruit farming has nearly unlimited advantages from extended life span exceeding three years after establishment to ability to intercrop.
While the capital needed to start a good size of passion fruit farm is not very low, the benefits and profit are worth every investment you make.
Demand for passion fruits has continued to rise in 2022, especially with the coming of Covid 19 which has made people want to eat more healthy foods, more so fruits.
In the wake of health awareness, companies like Coca-cola, Afia juices and Del-Monte are also doing more in fruit juice production.
Some of them are already sourcing various fruits from farmers to tap fresh fruits processing segments.
Despite all the interest by fresh drink processors, the supply of this fruit has been low even this year. This presents an opportunity for you as a farmer.
The crop produces high yields under proper care, for instance, a yield of 50,000kg of passion fruit per hectare has been reported in Kenya. The average price of one kilo of passion fruits is Sh.50 in various market centres in the country.
However, you can still sell at a higher price through direct marketing. From one hectare, it’s possible to earn over Sh.2,000,000; an earning that exceeds many other farming enterprises.
Furthermore, the maturity and ripening of the fruits, does not happen at the same time; some take three days others one week while others two weeks. This is an advantage, as it will allow you to harvest weekly, and have time to market the produce.
Starting as a small grower you will find lots of eager buyers at your neighbourhoods and supermarkets.
The demand for strawberries is bursting at the seams and the supply is low. This is because of the strawberry flavour that is used in the production of yoghurt, ice-creams, jams and in perfumes.
Companies that use these fruits in Kenya are relying on imports. This is sufficient justification why strawberry farming is and will remain lucrative agribusiness in the years to come.
Strawberries can grow in almost every part of our country provided there is constant water supply and stable temperature.
A one eighth of an acre would be adequate for a beginner but if you are in an urban setting you can invest in a few containers (which you can then put in your backyard) and start farming.
It takes about 70 days for the crop to mature and produce the first fruits. But because the fruits are highly perishable (stays fresh for four to five days after harvesting), it is advisable to start looking for market early enough to avoid incurring losses.
An eighth piece of land can produce between 30 kg and 50 kg of strawberries per week and each kilo goes for about Sh.200 at the current wholesale market price. Now assuming your small farm produces 50 Kgs per week then that means you can make Sh.40,000 per month using only a small portion of your land.
Once you plant them, 70 days down the line you will get your first harvest. This will continue for up to three years with two to three harvesting seasons every year.
Like any other business with attractive returns, strawberry farming in Kenya requires capital. Chandler is the most popular variety. Strawberries are runners, so once you plant, you do not need to buy other seedlings as you can propagate them by removing the splits from the parent plant.
You don’t have to be an agriculture expert to succeed in strawberry farming. All you need to do is find a good piece of land. Then you need to source for the right seedlings – and this is where you need to contact Richfarm Kenya on 0724698357 for assistance.
Alternatively, you can talk to other successful farmers in your area for assistance in sourcing for the right variety.
Mushroom production of late has captured the attention of the Kenya’s farming community with most mushroom farmers boasting amazing profits.
Mushroom are land and rainfall independent hence making them the better option for those looking to maximize revenue from their land usage.
For those without space to garden, growing mushrooms for profit can produce a great return in a small space.
Exotic mushrooms, such as oyster and shiitake, make sense, as they can be grown indoors without soil. They only require a house and your attention. Mud thatched houses can create the right climate for mushroom growing.
The demand in Kenya is unsatisfied with data indicating that we are only producing 500 tonnes of these mushrooms against an annual demand of 1,200 tonnes.
Mushrooms can be grown using various substrates from agricultural wastes such as cereal straws such as maize stalks, bean stalk, wheat straw Coffee pulp, coffee husks, paper waste, papyrus, water hyacinth, banana fronds etc.
Cotton husks, maize cobs, banana leaves, papyrus, grass straw, paper wastes, sugarcane bagasse and hay. Spawns ‘seeds’ can now be easily obtained from Richfarm Kenya.
Oyster mushrooms, for example, produce around 10kg per square foot of growing space in a year’s time. At the current price of Sh.400 a kilo, that’s Sh.400,000 worth of mushrooms from a 10’x10′ space!
Exotic mushrooms do not travel well, so as a small local grower you will always have an edge over distant producers. In most supermarkets, the oyster mushrooms are also the first items to sell out.
Before, mushroom farming has been a very complicated venture requiring lots of chemistry, biology and attention. So many people were discouraged by this but not now, Richfarm Kenya has simplified it so much that anyone can do it.
There are training sessions every week and starters can even buy already prepared and seeded mushroom production bags such that they are in production in less than 1 month.
Although onion prices reached the lowest in 2020 with a kg selling for as low as Ksh.20 at the farm gate, this is a crop that is still worth a shot at.
It is not so much of a goldmine as it was in previous years but my prediction is that there is going to be an abnormal rise in onion prices very soon since so many farmers abandoned the crop when the prices went low and remained so for a long time.
Done well, 1 acre of onions should yield 20,000 kgs or more. If you sell the crop at Ksh.20 per kg, your revenue will be Ksh.400,000 in just 5 months.
The cost of production usually goes to an average of Ksh.120,000 per acre so you are still making profits.
The kill will be when these prices start going up, most likely in early 2021, something that seems sure to happen.
Can you imagine how much you will earn if you harvest your 20 tons when the price are at 80 per kg!
That is not a far dream; the prices have many times been on such a high.
This is a crop that few farmers know about and that is where the opportunity lies. It is a tree that is quite resistant to dry conditions and hardy to pests and diseases. Once planted and well established, just a little care will be required from time to time.
There are various varieties of pawpaw and now we even have the dwarfs which start producing fruits from the ninth month.
With a line spacing of 2 m and tree-to-tree spacing of 2m, one acre can carry 1100 trees. Each of these trees produces 40 to 50 kg of fruit every year giving you about 40 to 50 tons of fruit per acre every year.
With a kg selling at an average of Ksh.30, you can easily make 1.2 to 1.5 million shillings from an acre of pawpaw every year.
The initial cost of planting an acre of pawpaw is low since each seedling can be bought at an average of 50 shillings meaning you will only need 55,000 shillings to buy seedlings for one acre.
The rest is labour and a bit of fertilization. The cost would hardly exceed 100,000 shillings.
Well, while dragon fruit caps our list of the five most profitable crops in Kenya this year, we have two unique crops we would like you to research more about:
1. Kiwi fruit
2. Black berry farming in Kenya
Written By:* Gabriel