How to start a Greenhouse farming project

Saturday March 8 2014

A greenhouse structure allows farmers to grow crops any time of the year regardless of the climatic conditions of the particular area. PHOTO | JACOB OWITI

A greenhouse structure allows farmers to grow crops any time of the year regardless of the climatic conditions of the particular area. PHOTO | JACOB OWITI NATION MEDIA GROUP

Greenhouse farming has gained popularity among many Kenyans as agriculture becomes serious business for those who want to mint millions, side hustle, change careers or just love the idea of having their own food supply all year round.

“In a country where agriculture is the most available means of wealth creation, popularising modern farming techniques such as greenhouse farming and making it available to the masses which includes finance, technology, training, agro-support and market, are key to ensuring farmers succeed,” says Gilad Millo, head of Amiran Business Development and Public Relations.

BEFORE INVESTING

Research and choose carefully which crops you will grow in your greenhouse. To maximise profits, grow vegetables that are not available in your area at certain times of the year. A greenhouse structure allows farmers to grow crops any time of the year regardless of the climatic conditions of the particular area, which is a significant advantage when you can provide fresh vegetables out of season in your area.

CLIMATE AND SIZE OF THE GREENHOUSE

With different areas of the county having diverse weather conditions, farmers must consider climate when looking for a greenhouse.

Hot areas, such as North Eastern or Coast, require a different kind of greenhouse cover from, say, central Kenya. Hot areas need specially designed covers with ventilation to allow hot air out and give the plant a stable environment for growth.

Depending on your land size for up to as little as 1/8th of an acre, farmers can acquire the Amiran Farmers Kit, able to fit in a small plot measuring 500 square metres, while being able to make between Sh250,000 and Sh380,000 depending on market prices.

An 8x24 metre greenhouse can make between Sh350,000 and Sh550,000, depending on the crop’s market. Smaller greenhouses like the 6 x 12 metre one included in the Amiran Enterprise Kit are also available. With such technologies, small-scale farming and peri-urban farming are proving to be a source of wealth creation.

FINANCING

Modern agribusiness has recently become more attainable for small-scale farmers, thanks to the availability of financing from banks and micro-finance institutions such as Equity Bank, Cooperative Bank, Kenya Women Finance Trust, the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF), Chase Bank and Rafiki DTM, all offering loans to finance the various types of Amiran Kits, which offer a holistic approach to agribusiness which comes complete with a greenhouse, gravity fed drip irrigation system, water tank, seeds of farmer’s choice, fertilisers, agro-chemicals (or organic), knapsack sprayer, training and agro-support.

MINIMISING LOSS

An insurance package such Amiran Farmers Kit Insurance from CIC Insurance covers the hardware components of the AFK from damage or theft and the crop in case of losses.

ALL COMPONENTS IMPORTANT

It is imperative to note that the greenhouse alone will not give the desired results. Drip irrigation, proper seed selection and use of the right fertilisers and agro-chemicals and the right time is crucial.

“Success is not measured only by positive agricultural results in terms of quality and quantity of yields, but by the amount of money a farmer can make as a result of his business approach, calculating all costs compared to expected yields and market sales so that the business is done right and can stand the test of time” says Gilad.