Strawberry farming is a lucrative business in Kenya that has the potential to transform an individual from a job-seeker to a job-creator or from an employee to an employer in less than a year. This essay provides a step-by-step guide on how to start a successful strawberry farming business in Kenya.
The first step is to secure a good piece of land in a place that has adequate water supply. For a beginner, 1/8th of an acre is adequate, but those in urban areas can invest in a few containers to start farming. The next step is to look for seedlings. The best variety for the Kenyan environment is the Chandelier Strawberry, and about 3,000 seedlings are required for 1/8th of an acre. The minimum investment in seeds alone will cost Ksh30,000. An extra Ksh15,000 is needed for transport, fertilizer, and agro-chemicals.
The land should be prepared by tilling, removing weeds, and softening the soil. Adding some manure and ash to ensure a healthy supply of nutrients to the crop is also necessary. The seedlings should be planted with a distance of 30cm in between rows and at least 50cm space between any two sections of the farm.
It takes about 70 days for the crop to mature and produce the first fruits. Since the fruits are highly perishable, it is advisable to start looking for a market early enough to avoid incurring losses. Demand is readily available in major urban markets, green-grocery suppliers, and major supermarket chains. Investing in good packaging and getting accreditation from The Kenya Bureau of Standards is necessary to access a larger market.
A 1/8th piece of land can produce between 30kg and 50kg of strawberries per week, with each kilo going for about Ksh200 at the current market price. Assuming the farm produces 50kg per week, one can make Ksh40,000 per month using only a small portion of the land. By investing in aquaponics, productivity can be tripled, making at least Ksh100,000 per month on just 1/8th of an acre. The initial investment can be recovered within six months of starting the farm.
In conclusion, Strawberry farming in Kenya does not require one to be an agriculture expert to succeed. All that is needed is a good piece of land, the right seedlings, and proper marketing strategies. The potential for high returns on investment and the ability to transform from a job-seeker to a job-creator makes this an excellent opportunity for those with little capital. Starting small and building up from there is the key to success in this lucrative business.