Posted on 1 Comment

Profitable cabbage farming in Kenya

Cabbage Farming Profit Per Acre

Read: How to quit your job, move to your farm and start making sane money

In our modern Kenyan homes, cabbages are very popular. They are loved because one can serve many people as well as last for a long time, thud cost effective. This fact alone makes it a very profitable crop in Kenya because its demand is very high at all times.

They are normally grown from seed. Its seed is widely available in many agro-stores in Kenya. Cabbages are a temperate vegetable which do best under cool climates where there is a significant difference between day and night temperatures.

The plants have a short thick stalk bearing leaves which form a tight ball called a ‘head’. They have a high-water requirement and do best with at least 500 millimeters of rainfall yearly. Cabbages are a good source of nutrients especially for calcium, iron and vitamins, but are low in protein. The leaves are eaten after boiling, or may be used raw in salads.

Plants are propagated from seed in a nursery and transplanted when the seedlings are about 10 to 12 cm high and about 4 to 6 weeks old. The cabbage heads are mature and ready for harvest when they become firm to the touch. This will be up to 3 months after transplanting depending on variety selected. Cabbages are best stored out of the sun and in a cool place. Heads can weigh up to 4 kg each. Yield/population per acre is around 12,000 and 16,000 heads.

Cabbage farming can give you an income (net profit) of of Ksh 220,000 per acre (This after deducting your expenses). The total cash spent is estimated at Ksh 80,000 (From nursery all the way to harvesting minus irrigation equipment).

Read: What Is the Difference Between Agriculture And Agribusiness?

Estimated Calculations

If you get 15,000 heads x Ksh 20 per head = Ksh 300,000 (Gross Profit).

Ksh 300,000- Ksh 80,000 = Ksh 220,00 (Net Profit).

The expense cost includes farm equipment, chemicals, seeds and labour. However, in some areas of Kenya, irrigation is required and it is not captured in the estimates. The price of cabbages will vary depending on the season as normally there is an over-abundance of material for sale late in the rainy season. If growers are equipped with drip irrigation, they should plan their planting times so that cabbages will be available for sale in the dry season when prices are highest.

Read: I Have Been a Good Farmer Why Aren’t I Successful Yet?

Below are major factors to put in mind before getting into cabbage farming are;

  • Soil health.
  • Type of fertilizer to use.
  • Cabbage variety to grow in your region and soil adaptability.
  • Manure
  • Transportation to the market
  • Crop yields per acre
  • Irrigation (Water needs)
  • Market or Pricing.
  • Planting timing.
Posted on 4 Comments

Cost and returns of establishing successful dairy farm

If you are interested in farming you might have noticed how dairy farming has of late become popular in Kenya. Are you interested in dairy farming but you lack know how on where to start and what to expect along the way? Don’t you worry, we are here to guide you. However, it’s your call since our research and analysis are just assumptions and are due to alter depending on a number of items.

In Kenya, intensive systems are the most popular and comprise both zero-grazing and semi-zero grazing. An estimate of the returns and cost can be calculated as shown below.

Read: How to establish grafted purple passion Fruits Orchard

Critical Factors For Dairy Production

  1. Land

There is nowhere is said you have to own land for you to be a dairy farmer. However, you can lease, some farmers in Nakuru have leased land and has kept over 500 heads of cattle which rather gives them millions in return.

  1. Labor

Whether you depend on machinery or humans, intensive labor is paramount in dairy production. Labor is estimated at about 45-50% of the total cost.

  1. Capital

In dairy farming, the most important capital is stocking the cows and construction of the cow shed, milking crutches fencing, as well as equipment. In Kenya a good in-calf heifer varies from 40,000-200,000 depending on genetic potential. Cow sheds that are simple and can hold upto 4 cows are estimated to cost 50K to 100K depending on what you use as material and labour. However this cost can go down if one uses locally available materials such as timber, building stones, rainwater and home labor.

Crucial recurrent expenditure costs include AI, purchase of feeds, heath care and milk marketing and sales (preservation, transport and value addition).

Read: What Is the Difference Between Agriculture And Agribusiness?

Projected Returns From Dairy Production

We have used these examples just to show you how to calculate expected returns from your dairy farming and you should only use it as guidelines. It is very crucial that each farmer uses this guideline to calculate production figures depending on costs of feeds and labor in his/her area.

It is always wise to reduce costs as much as possible having in mind that some costs such as feeds and healthcare are the foundations of profitable dairy farming.

Overall Assumptions:

  • No dairy cow dies
  • A dairy cow eats feed amounting to 3% of its body mass dairy
  • The calves are raised well as stock replacement or sold at early stage/maturity
  • AI is the only practice
  • A bale of hay weighs 14.4 Kg
  • Milk is sold at the farm without value addition or processing
  • Labor costs vary with systems and locality.

We will now use an example of one Friesian cow weighing around 400 kg raised in central region under zero grazing management based on bought feeds.

Feed Stuff Amount (fed based on dry matter)
Napier grass 5kg
Lucerne 3kg
Dairy meal 4kg
Macklick Super 120 grams
   
  1. Costs Annual

Fixed  Costs Amount (Ksh)
Dairy Cow 80,000
Dairy shed 20,000
   
Recurrent Expenses  
Forage 16,500
Concentrates 30,000
Health Care 15,000
AI 800
Calf 21,000
Labor 60,200
   
Total 143,500
   
  1. Returns (Annual)

Milk 300,000
Calf 30,000
Manure 10,000
Total 340,000

Gross Profit = 196500

Therefore, in your first year, net profit per cow could be 16,375 per month. Now if you keep more animals you definitely lower your costs and increase your margins. Considering that you could make your own rations, and do value addition to your milk returns per month per cow could be as high as Ksh 20,000.

Read: I don’t have capital to start my agribusiness venture how do I start from scratch?

Posted on 3 Comments

How to quit your job, move to your farm and start making sane money

Forget the well-paid 8-to-5 job, two bedroom house and the other trappings of material wealth. Sure, it’s nice to have them, but we farmers know that real wealth is clean air, clear water and healthy nutritious food, not piling up stuff and then dying with it.

We want to spend our days outside, tending our gardens and food forests, spending more time with our families. We want the freedom and security of a farm and take care of our needs, bring abundant vitality back to the landscape, and earn a living wage from our efforts to “make the Earth great again”.

It’s a modest dream, isn’t it? In a world of greedy banking elites, deceitful and self-serving politicians and daily environmental destruction, it’s a simple ideal that deserves to come true, and yet you can’t help but wonde..Can this dream come true for you?

Do you really have what it takes to be a farmer, or that’s just an escapist fantasy? Is it realistic to expect that you can make a living wage from your farm and quit your job, or is it just the pipe dream that everyone ‘normal’, including your spouse, thinks it is?

Well, we are here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be just a dream. Actually, in contrast to what you might have been told, it’s quite a reasonable expectation.

There is a way to turn your dream into a productive reality, but the truth is you’ll have to be strategic about it and learn a little bit about business and entrepreneurship.

Having a hobby vs. running a business

The moment you decide to use your land to generate some income for you, you’re no longer just a hobby farmer playing. At that moment, you also become an entrepreneur, and your farm becomes a small business. Farming today is essentially entrepreneurship and this means that you’ll be putting extra hours to make this work. I’ve never seen anyone starting a sustainable and profitable farm business without the time investment. Also, there’s the chance of failure, almost at every step of the way. You can invest all that time and money, try and fail miserably because you made a fatal mistake.

In other words, it’s exactly like starting a business. Exactly. Can you succeed as a farmer entrepreneur? Sure, there are many people doing it, some of them crushing it and that’s why many people are attracted to making a living from the farm, because it can be done. But you can also waste all that time for nothing and lose everything you invested in.

Process for Starting A Successful Farm Business

 Know Yourself and Identify Your Strengths, Passions And Interests

Most people are not evenly gifted, even as farmers within producing plants or animals, that’s why you tend to see farms that gravitate towards plants and farms that gravitate towards animals. And that’s why generally you don’t see expertness on both of those things even among the farmers.

Think about this for a second, what kind of person are you; are you an animal, plant, technical or people person? Not everything will come naturally to you, and not all elements of permaculture will interest you to the same extent, nor will you have the same levels of skills and strengths in all areas of your new professional life.

You might be a people person, with teaching and education as your thing, or you might be a technical person who just loves earthworks and can’t stop talking about machinery – you get the picture, right? Whatever it’s, discover your natural inclinations and your unique skill-set.

Select Your “Industry” Based on Your Strengths And Passions

Now, based on your initial assessment, decide what would be the best path for you. Not everything in farming has the same appeal to everyone, and not everything comes down to being simply a farmer, you have many options from which to choose.

To sum up, in essence you can choose to be a farmer (the most obvious option), a secondary producer of value-added products , do marketing and distribution (basically selling the fresh produce or value added products), provide services related to your farm or farming (ecotourism, basic healthcare…), develop a nursery, i.e. plant propagation and animal breeding (everyone needs plants), teaching and education on the site (and online as well), or consulting – designing and implementing designs.

As this suggests, there are many ways to win at this permaculture game and, once you now know what interests you, comes naturally to you, and what your strengths are, you’ve definitely minimized the chances of doing something that, ultimately, won’t work out for you.

Research Your Local Market and Identify What People Want

When you’re starting a farm business, ideally you want to find something that is at the intersection of your passion/strengths and what people want to buy. Once you’ve determined the first part of that equation, your next step should be to research your local market to learn more about your potential customers and their needs/desires.

I’m going to simplify the process here and say that the market research in this stage boils down to analyzing what type of people live in your local area (demographics – young students, retirees, or…), what the culture of the area is like (what do people value – local artisan products, nutritious food or perhaps they couldn’t care less), what is their purchasing power (is the local economy booming and people have the extra income to spend on quality produce, products and services?) and their purchasing habits.

This research doesn’t have to be complex or extensive, in the beginning just develop the habit of putting your market research hat on when you visit different places (especially your competitors) and looking at who are the customers, what’s the demand like for certain products, what sells well and why, how are they marketing and selling their produce/product/service.

For example, if you want to start a nursery, make sure you visit one and see what people are buying. If a certain type of tree is selling like crazy, then this is a good indicator that there is a demand for more than what’s being produced. You could be potentially filling that hole, (see what I did there?), so dig deeper.

Read: I Have Been a Good Farmer Why Aren’t I Successful Yet?

Produce A Minimum Viable Product and Learn About Business

Once your research has shown that there is a need for a certain produce, product or service, it’s now time to test the waters and produce something of your own.

At this stage, I suggest you hang on to your old job and start something small on the side. I really don’t recommend simply handing in your notice and figuring it out later; you wouldn’t want to jump off a cliff without a parachute and then try to figure out how to make one on the way down. Instead, use your secure job and security to learn new skills and start to develop something on the side.

You don’t have to worry about all the details of running a successful business just yet, diving in too deep when starting out can result in analysis paralysis and, as a budding entrepreneur, momentum is important. So, start small and as a sideline – this can be one nursery bed, one garden bed, one room to rent, one value-added product…

The point is that all these small activities will require some prior learning and, most importantly, are scaleable, think about them as small modules or small business units.

Read: I don’t have capital to start my agribusiness venture how do I start from scratch?

Develop Deep Domain Expertise and Scale Up

Okay, so let’s recap what you’ve done thus far: you’ve found your permaculture career path based on your passions, interests and strengths, you’ve done the market research that’s helped you pinpoint exactly what people want and like to buy (a produce, product or a service) and you’ve successfully created your first MVP, which proved that people will want to buy from you.

You haven’t invested that much time and/or money, yet in the process you’ve learned about business and what it means to be entrepreneurial.

As you can see, you don’t have to wait for that perfect, day when you’ll suddenly have more space, land and time to start that big business that will replace your day job and you’ll live happily ever after. You want to test the waters first and take a few calculated risks. Being risk-averse is a good thing, especially if you’re the breadwinner in your family.

Now you can start to take that one small test module that has produced your MVP and scale it up. For our nursery example, this could be to two, four, six or eight buckets, a further nursery bed, or to a more professional setup. You’re not attempting anything new, rather you’re simply doing more of the same, just on a bigger scale.

As you scale up and produce more products or provide more services they become better with every new iteration as you start to learn more about the entire business cycle.

Because you now know that you’re onto something, you have extra confidence to put in the time and effort to develop the necessary expertise in your domain.

Stack Other Enterprises and Develop Multiple Income Streams

Once you’ve mastered that first initial business unit or enterprise and it generates some continuous profit, you can start thinking about all the other business opportunities on your farm. First, you need to focus on just that one aspect and getting it off the ground, but once you have it running efficiently, you can use the profits to expand your field of operations and stack other enterprises.

If you’ve have had a close look at the sources of incomes of successful permaculture farms, you can clearly see that every single one of them has multiple income streams. That’s because it’s hard to make a living by doing one thing; the reality is that in today’s world no one venture alone can keep the farm afloat.

You should always ensure multiple income streams. In this way you become more resilient and, if one falls apart, each business unit will prop up the others (some years one unit will carry the others, while at other times, other units will be successful). Eventually, all of these will help keep you securely anchored to the land, close to your family and the abundance you’ve created.

Look for other business opportunities on your farm and use existing profits to start developing and stacking other enterprises.

Whatever Your Dream Is, Get Started Now

Starting a successful permaculture farm business is not easy, and realistically there is a high chance you’ll fail, but here’s the deal… If you really want to come closer to living off the land, you must be willing to actively get yourself in the game, making mistakes, learning from them and then moving on, wiser and stronger.

Whatever your dream is – get started now. Don’t wait for that perfect, never to be seen, moment when you’ll have more land, the optimal financial situation, more experience. As we’ve learned, you can start small, on the side, with just one small module and, if it works, then scale up. You can start your journey as a hobby, but to be able to make a living from something, it has to be more than just that. You can start out that way, but ultimately you’ve got to turn it into something more.

Read: How youth you can succeed in farming

As with everything you try for the first time, at first it’s going to be a bad version of what you want to be. Accept this, because, in the beginning, the right mentality and momentum are more important than perfection. That imperfect and modest version of what you is still better than where you’re currently at if your life feels drab, soulless and unfulfilling.

Posted on 1 Comment

I Have Been a Good Farmer Why Aren’t I Successful Yet?

Farming in Kenya is not as easy as people think. If you listen to the media today, you will hear of many successful stories, well don’t be confused if you are an aspiring farmer and think that you can generate fat incomes overnight. Many farmers have lost hope and gave up on farming because of such stories.

We all at one time reached that point where it seems like going forward is impossible. When you’re already overwhelmed, it’s easy to talk yourself into giving up on farming. However, giving up too soon could cause you to miss out on success. Hang in there you never know how soon you might start seeing progress and profits. Give it a little more time. Below are a few reasons that might help you keep on farming.

Read: What Is the Difference Between Agriculture And Agribusiness?

Farming Takes Time

If you hear successful stories on media, chances are that farmers in Kenya have done it before and it’s not their first agribusiness venture. Most successful farmers in Kenya whom I know are people who have tried, failed, tried, failed, and tried again and eventually succeeded. They didn’t call each iteration a failure. They called it a way to improve, because each test, each trial, gave them new information which influenced and improved the next model. Not getting it right the first time, or the 100th time, is not a sign that you should quit. It’s simply a way for you to keep learning how to do it better next time.

There is nothing like Instant success

We’ve all heard stories of the overnight rise to richness. But the truth is that what looks like an instant or overnight success is always preceded by years of struggle and work. There’s a long, hard road to success, but when success hits we only focus on the last mile or so. It looks so easy, and makes for such a great story, that we ignore the miles and miles of obscurity, difficulty, and perseverance required to get to that hill top of glory. Those stories make us feel that if we haven’t achieved a high level of success in a matter of days or months, we must be doing something wrong. And we are: we’re listening to make-believe stories as if they were guidelines to how life works.

The most valuable things Takes Time

People and especially Kenyans like easy, comfortable, familiar things. That’s because we tend to be lazy, and we don’t want to put forth the effort required to do difficult things. Because we shirk from the effort, we go to great lengths to convince ourselves that we don’t need that goal… whatever it is. We pretend that we’re satisfied with the easy things, but we know the truth. The best things, the things that matter most, are the most difficult.

Read: I don’t have capital to start my agribusiness venture how do I start from scratch?

Try the right thing

If you’re trying and failing, perhaps you just haven’t tried the right thing, crop or activity yet. Don’t judge yourself and quit on life and on your goals because you’ve failed in one area, or even several. Every time you try and fail, you learn something about yourself, about life, and you gain experience that can help you to do better next time. So press on. Try something different, and don’t let past failure keep you from future success.

Persistence matters more
If you feel like you aren’t good enough, or talented enough, remember this: there are plenty of supremely talented people out there working at dead-end jobs, not using their talents. Talent is great, but without tenacity, talent won’t get you very far.

I know, I know: the overnight success stories. Right. But there’s a backstory to those, remember? And the backstory is the tenacity that kept that talented person pushing forward, long before success “hit.” Success doesn’t hit, or happen. Success is something you reach by hard work and determination. So hang in there, and stay tenacious.

Your past does not determine your future

For you to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. Many great successes were once known as big, sad, sorry failures. Every amazing entrepreneur was once a shaky little start-up. Every great farm was once a small plot. And 99.9 percent of the time, their first attempts were not their best. But they didn’t quit. They pushed through one bad draft after another, one business flop after another, until they learned enough and tried enough that they succeeded. Each failure teaches you. Each attempt can give you valuable insight into how to do better next time.

No one is doomed to repeat what didn’t work in the past. It’s a gift in disguise; a gift to look back and learn the mistakes from your past. You never know, the past might be the thing that will guarantee you your future.

Success is coming, just hang in there! Don’t Quit Farming!

 

Posted on 4 Comments

What Is the Difference Between Agriculture And Agribusiness?

Agriculture involves the cultivation of crops and the raising of livestock for food, the most basic of human needs. The first ecologists, farmers, understood the interaction of soil, water, grasses and trees; they understood the need to work with nature to produce sufficiency or abundance, and to try to avert scarcity in times of drought or pestilence. Agriculture dictated the survival and development of societies, and security in food allowed the growth of modern industrial states.

In today’s interdependent and technological world of global markets and distribution systems, agriculture has become an essential element of national and international economies. Food is a commodity for trade, and food security is a matter of global concern. The future security of the world’s food supply has focused international discussion on one over-arching question: Can agricultural systems meet the demands of a rising world population and expanded expectations on the one hand, and deal with the deterioration of land and soil resources on the other?

Read: How youth you can succeed in farming

Many scientists today believe that modern agricultural practices, which have increased efficiency and production to an extent unknown in history, now appear to be exhausting the agricultural ecosystem. A movement towards more sustainable agricultural practices has begun. On the other hand, agribusinesses point to new science and technology based on genetic engineering and other methods that may revolutionize the food industry.

Kenya, rich in resources, has always been a major exporter of food. Kenyans, like other societies, have seen farmlands and farm communities as part of their environmental heritage, national identity and culture. But in today’s world of supermarkets, fast foods and freezer containers, where food is available to all who can afford it, many urbanized Kenyans have lost the connection between the food they eat and the land that produces it, not recognizing the profound changes that agribusiness has brought to farming communities, the farming way of life and the environment.

In recent years, concerns about pesticide use, biotechnology and other issues have focused public attention on the quality and safety of food and industrial farming techniques, and spurred interest in alternatives. Resolving issues regarding the sustainability of Kenyan agriculture will involve a new recognition of the integrity of nature and ecosystems and the wisdom of farming methods in harmony with the local environment, while at the same time utilizing the best national and international science and technology to maintain food security levels and meet the challenge of rising populations and deteriorating land and soil resources.

Read: Should I quit my job and start farming?

Players of Agribusiness in Kenya

From Sugarcane farming in the western region to tea farming in the Western Kenya region, livestock keeping in northern Kenya, maize farming in the north rift and fishing in the Indian Ocean, smallholder producers face more or less the same hurdles to wealth creation. The good news is that opportunities exist to make farming, including the small-scale types, a profitable venture for anyone. One of the ways of bringing shine to the much-neglected sector is by adopting sustainable agribusiness.

Agribusiness is a broad area and covers the entire spectrum of food production with multiple players along the value chain. It includes farming, the supply of various inputs, distribution, processing, wholesale and retail sales, research and development, marketing and financing as well as the end product: the food on the plate of the consumer.

The key players in the value chain include the farmers, co-operatives, regulators, government agencies, research institutions, companies, business associations, financial institutions, multilateral bodies, civil society, and the academia.

Sustainable agriculture is not singularly fixated on the profit motive. It considers the socio-economic, environmental and cultural impacts of various activities along the value chain. It supports the local economy through knowledge transfer, job creation, supporting local enterprises and ensuring food safety and security.

The academia can play a crucial role in promoting sustainable agribusiness through carrying out research on new ways of doing agriculture such as better and eco-friendly ways of increasing the soil fertility, increasing animal produce, among other things.

There are various businesses that do a lot with regard to promoting sustainable and inclusive agriculture. There is also a need for improvement in infrastructure, climate change mitigation and adaptation, research and extension, value addition and skills upgrading.

As long as funding remains limited or is diverted by officials, farming will remain unattractive and farmers will continue to suffer in spite of their toil. Lack of trust across the value chain is another issue with many farmers perceiving middlemen as exploiters. The other key aspect is the imbalance of trade between Kenya and its trading partners. Take for instance, coffee and tea which are grossly under-priced with farmers barely meeting the cost of their investment.

Yet the same commodities fetch better prices once they leave the farmers’ hands. The widespread failure to add value to farmers’ produce denies producers the opportunity to earn the true value of their produce. It also denies local entrepreneurs and budding industrialists the opportunity to grow new lines of business and create jobs for many jobless Kenyans. Value addition requires policy intervention through a favorable tax regime, lower cost of power, improved infrastructure and government commitment to find markets outside its borders.

Read: I don’t have capital to start my agribusiness venture how do I start from scratch?

Kenyan farmers and especially the youths are urged to indulge in farming and more specifically agribusiness. Do it for fun and money!

Posted on 2 Comments

I don’t have capital to start my agribusiness venture how do I start from scratch?

Starting an Agribusiness in Kenya with no capital is one of the most difficult and frustrating thing. The Kenyan government on paper has placed many avenues that are meant to help the youth in farming but they rarely work. In most cases you will apply only to realize much of your time has been wasted but nothing of value has come out of it. This normally leaves most of the youth frustrated and hopeless with nowhere to turn to for funding. So what can one do in order to start agribusiness without capital or with little capital?

  1. Start Small

We always urge people to start small. By so doing you will be able to use the little resources you have to start small and grow naturally. After a while, you will look back and thank God and time for what you will have become. In addition, you will have build-up enough experience that will help you to even come up with custom made solutions to help you with farm problems.

  1. Grow what you know

We advise you not to venture into farming practices that you are not well familiar with. Always ensure you have done your research well and you have all the knowledge and skills at your disposal. This will enhance your chances of success in the agribusiness you want to venture into. In addition, it will reduce the outside help that may have increased the expenses into the agribusiness. In most cases, having the knowledge and experience in a certain farming venture is all it needs to succeed.

  1. Market your Agribusiness

Spread the word to your family, friends, colleagues and anybody you know about your new agribusiness. Send e-mails, call and make your new business known in all your social media platforms. Your family and friends are the first priorities and they might help you spread the word. This method of marketing can help you to introduce your agribusiness to a much greater audience. When it comes to harvesting, your contacts will have the information of what is coming their way. This means that when a friend or a contact hears anybody asking for a product that you produce, they will just give your contacts.

  1. Avoid too much expenses

When you start your farm in Kenya, you are going to have plenty of expenses, and there are some that just can’t be avoided. What you can avoid though is overspending. For example if you want to plant Cabbages and you do not have money to buy the expensive hybrid seeds, why don’t you instead buy the normal seeds and save the money. By doing this you will have enabled yourself to spread out your money and buy other farm implements that will be required during the growing period e.g. insecticides, fungicides and D.A.P. Being frugal in the beginning can be the difference between success and a failed agribusiness.

  1. Work Hard

 Hard work is an absolute necessity, but when you are starting an agribusiness venture in Kenya with little to no capital then you must be prepared to dedicate everything you have into making the farming business a success. This might mean planting and taking care of the crops yourself, handling marketing, dealing with billing and accounting, and every other working part of your business. You will wear many hats and it will require the majority of your time and energy if you are to make it.

Agribusiness is not hard neither is it simple. It requires patience and dedication. Stay focused, try and do agribusiness that doesn’t require much money but keep your eyes on the ball.

Posted on 5 Comments

Should I quit my job and start farming?

In Kenya, farming is gaining momentum, and changing from a way of living to farming as a form of business. By now I am sure you have heard of success stories of people who either never looked for a formal job but started farming immediately or those who quit their day job and started farming as a carrier.  Thse stories have become so inspiring in today’s life and we all ask ourselves if we could do the same and become “them”.  Maybe is that salry or freedom that is making you think of quiting, well its not that easy, think, you could quit and never find such a job anywhere else and still fail in farming. However, you decide, be yourself, have that courage and take the risk.

Read: How youth you can succeed in farming

Take The First Step

If you have saved enough money and you know what you want to venture in, then why not take the risk? In farming you are your own boss and to tell you the truth the returns are good if you do the right thing. Imagine, the population is increasing day by day, that means people have to eat. It therefore means you only have to do a good research of what the market requires, your passion, land size, your areas’ climatic conditions and the capital you require. Once you have all this in place, my friend don’t hesitate, get your hands dirty and smile all the way to the bank.

On the other hand, if you haven’t done good research and don’t have enough money, please take time.  Farming is not a joke and you might lose a fortune if you are not ready both financially and mentally. There are so many uncertainties that happen in farming and therefore you must be prepared.

Read: Pest and diseases affecting tomato farming and their control

Hire A Farm Manager

We also encourage those people with good paying jobs and can balance between farming and working to do so. Not everyone is supposed to quit his/her job to succeed in farming. You can hire a farm manager to manage things at your farm. You can be visiting your farm regularly to check on the progress of your farm. Here there is a challenge of mismanagement by your manager but you can attend training, workshops and pass the same knowledge to your farm manager.

Bold enough, take the risk, its worth!!

Posted on 2 Comments

How youth you can succeed in farming

Farming is fun, you become your own boss and there is no limit to growth. Here are a few rules that will guide you to becoming a successful farmer in Kenya.

Allow Yourself the Opportunity to Fail

Kenyan culture seems obsessed with failure, simultaneously terrified and captivated with the concept. I know people who spend their days avoiding the humiliation of failure at all costs. Some of these people fear failure so much, they never try to accomplish anything. The thought of failure paralyzes them.

If failure is a major concern to you, here’s a spoiler: in farming, chances of failing are 100%. In fact, failure on a farm is every bit as reliable as death, taxes.

But here’s what no one ever told you. It’s okay to fail. Moreover, in farming, it’s important to fail. While painful at first, failure can be an enormously useful tool. It helps us learn our personal limits of time and energy. It’s an instrumental time saver in the long run, letting us know what works well, and what’s a complete boondoggle. Failure provides us perspective for future enterprises, making us intellectually stronger, more emotionally resilient.

So, thumb your nose at that sagging bookshelf loaded with self-help books telling you you’re not a failure. Yes, you are! Get out there and fail! But while you’re failing, fail well. Fail gracefully and thoughtfully. It’s the only sure way to recognize success when it finally arrives.

Read: Advantages and disadvantages of Mixed farming in Kenya

Before you start Farming Identify Your Market

So you want to raise cattle, grow watermelons, or start a fruit business. But how are you going to find customers? Do they live in your neighborhood, or five hundred Kilometres away? How much of your stuff will they buy?

Before you plant that first seed, take the time (lots and lots of time) to figure out where you’re going to sell your products, who is going to buy them, and how you’re going to do it. Once you’ve done this, create a backup plan. Then, come up with another backup plan. Chances are you’re going to need them.

Small and niche producers spend an enormous amount of effort finding their customers. This is every bit as important as growing the food to begin with, because without appropriate sales channels, fresh produce will quickly languish. When all those watermelons ripen at the exact same moment, you’ll need a place to sell them—and fast. Have a solid marketing plan prepared well in advance.

Match the Land to Its Suited Use

We can try to force our human dreams onto the land, or we can work with what nature gives us. In most parts of Kenya crops do well, try doing what your land can accommodate, be it fish farming, crop farming or cattle.

In the recent days, hass avocado farming has taken Kenya by storm, but the question is, can it do well in your area. Do not force farming things that will not do well.

Read: Pest and diseases affecting tomato farming and their control

Grow Your Passion

Everyone knows that farming is hard work. So do yourself a favor: grow something that you love. Like Hass Avocados? Then grow hass avocados. If you grow what you’re passionate about, it will help mitigate those difficult days when the sledding gets rough and things don’t go your way. It may seem like common sense, but we often find our decisions driven more by finances, tradition, or inertia than by something we truly love. Go out on a limb, and grow apples if you want. Consider it your first reward. There will be more.

Read: As A Farmer You Can Control Pests Through Shade Nets

Set Reasonable Goals

Most farmers and especially youth in Kenya want to be millionaires in one day. In farming, the expenses sometimes are high and although the returns are high, patience is paramount as most funds will go back to the farm.

Set goals that are tough but reasonable, like ‘By the end of second year, I want to have 300 hass avocado trees’. Keep checking and work towards your goal always.

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Advantages and disadvantages of Mixed farming in Kenya

Mixed farming is when a farmer decides to combine two or more agricultural activities on the same farm. A typical case of mixed farming is the combination of crop cultivation with dairy farming or in more general terms, crop cultivation with livestock farming. Mixed farming may be treated as a special case of diversified farming. This particular combination of enterprises, support each other and add to the farmer’s profitability.

Read: As A Farmer You Can Control Pests Through Shade Nets

Advantages of Mixed farming:

  • It enhances the productivity of the farm land
  • It increases the per capita profitability
  • Both farmings compliment each other.
  • Farmers can keep their fields under continuous production.
  • It enhances the productivity of the farmer also.
  • Reduce dependency on external inputs and costs. In the example of mixed cropping of animal husbandry and crop farming the crops and animals components can complement and support each other. For example, the crop farming gives feed to the animals, and in turn, the animals can supply fertilizers to the crop. So this reduces the need and cost of fertilization and animal feed. The animals (such as cattle and sheep) can also perform weeding which reduces the need for herbicides. CIPAV system from Columbia, for example, incorporates fuel generation where crop wastes are fed into a biodigester which then generates fuel for use in the farm (for running farm machinery and equipment). This reduces external fuel dependency.
  • A simpler mixed farming system is aquaponics where the fish wastes are useful as fertilizers for the vegetables (like lettuce) and the lettuce, in turn, clean the water for the fish. Another similar setup and benefit is rice-fish farming in northeast Thailand and China where fish (like tilapia and carp) are bred in the rice field waters.
  • Because the mixed farming system recycles much of its wastes, this reduce external inputs (like fertilizers and pesticides). This in turn reduce greenhouse gases emissions, whether directly or indirectly because less fossil fuels are required in the production and distribution of fertilizers and pesticides due to lower demand.
  • It stabilizes the income of the farmer because the farmer is not depending solely on one activity. Should one activity fail (due to low price or pests or diseases), the farmer can still get income from the other activities.
  • Increased biodiversity means less risks of pests and diseases outbreak in the farm. Outbreak usually occurs in monoculture where there is uniformity of species especially over a large area.

Read: The Most Cost-Effective Greenhouse Which Every Farmer Can Construct

Disadvantages of mixed farming:

  • Because a mixed farming system consists of multiple activities running simultaneously, this makes the control, monitoring, and maintenance of the farm more difficult than a monoculture where only a single activity is run.
  • Some times one activity may hinder the other activity.
  • For the same reason above, the farmer needs to be knowledgeable (or an expert) in more than one area as compared to a monoculture farmer. A mixed farming farmer is running several activities at once, there may be management problem.

Read: Pest and diseases affecting tomato farming and their control

Be the best in what you want to be in farming. Always subscribe to our channels and we will educate you on matters of farming.

Posted on 2 Comments

As A Farmer You Can Control Pests Through Shade Nets

Just like human beings control spread of Malaria through usage of nets, the same protection mechanism applies to plants, which, like human beings are not only exposed to diseases transmitted by insects, but also to direct damages as many pests feed on them. Farmers know the seriousness of this which can lead to total losses.

What is Shade Net?

A shade Net is a family of clear netting products developed for use in horticulture (vegetables, fruit and ornamentals). Shade Net was developed to control pests with the aim to significantly reduce quantities of pesticides. Shade Net products provide farmers with affordable alternatives to generally expensive conventional protected cultivation in greenhouses or tunnels.

Shade nets is a framed structure that partially control atmosphere and environments by reducing light intensity and effective heat during day time to crop grown under it. Hence round the year seasonal and off-season cultivation is possible.

Shade net is a crucial equipment for farming out here who want to venture into tin cultivation of flower plants, foliage plants, medicinal and aromatic plant, vegetables and spices as well as raising nurseries of fruits and vegetables. Shade nets also protect against pest attack and natural weather disturbances such as wind, rain, hail, frost, snow, bird and insect.

Read: What you require while establishing successful pig farming

Shade Nets are a cost-effective and safe way to protect crops from caterpillars and leaf miners in particular as well as birds and heavy rain. Shade Net act as physical barriers that deny pests (Lepidoptera and leaf miners) access to the crop, delay other pest infestation (white flies, aphids) and offer protection against cold, wind, hailstones and heavy rains. Shade Net is not only recommended for cabbage and French beans. Shade Nets are also having a good effect on tomato crops and on the production of vegetable/fruit seedlings in the nursery.

Read: Best Practices And What To Consider Before Farming Tomatoes

Shade nets help in creating favorable micro environment for production of vermin compost which plays a major role in improving growth and yield of different field crops, vegetables and fruit crops.