With agribusiness becoming one of the major investment opportunities for Kenyans, the demand for greenhouses has risen significantly with many people looking to start greenhouse farming in kenya. .More and more people are investing into this business with the hope of making good returns from it. However there are thing that one should consider when choosing a greenhouse supplier.
Since the investment is made with the intentions of making profits, then one should determine the return on investment anticipated and use it to choose a supplier to start greenhouse farming in kenya. Different suppliers offer different greenhouse packages. Some offer structure alone as a product while others offer the structure, water tank, drip lines and seeds all in one package. As a farmer/investor, you should be able to see how purchasing the complete package rather than individual components reduces costs and time of project implementation. In the costs breakdown, be keen on the ‘hidden costs’. These are costs that are not listed but you end up paying for as they are vital in the implementation of the project. For example, installation costs. Most suppliers do not quote installation fees and farmers end up spending more than they had planned for. In case of new/inexperienced farmers, consider technical support and other services before settling on a supplier.
Another solution would be getting the structure from one supplier who you consider to be affordable and getting the other material from other suppliers. This in some cases reduces the cost of the greenhouse significantly and at times ends up costing more than the complete package option.
Customer support in this case refers to the technical help from the supplier. Most suppliers charge for technical support while other offer it for free for a period of time. This is very important for new farmers who would need advice in planting, pruning and other important activities where they lack expertise. Some farmers regularly consult the greenhouse suppliers but this ends up costing more. As a farmer, you also don’t get value for your money since the suppliers are in the business of constructing and selling the greenhouses and not training.
A cost effective way to handle this situation would be to undertake a training course yourself the train your employees. This would ensure continuity as you will not be dependent on one employee. On the bright side, skills needed are not very technical and any-one can be qualified.
The structure details in particular side-height is of great importance. For greenhouses with very low sides. This limits the farmer in that crops such as tomatoes that climb high will not have enough room to grow upwards. There will also not be enough room for working. So ensure you have a look at an already installed demo before buying.
Factors such as proximity to water source and soil quality should be considered. Since most greenhouse units come with water tanks of sizes 500ltrs-1500ltrs, farmers should consider ways of pumping water to the tanks. In the events a farmer sets up a greenhouse far from rivers or other water sources, a mobile tank can be used to transport water from the source to the greenhouse site. This will however incure fuel costs which may reduce the profits made from greenhouse farming in kenya.
Soil quality can be improves by using manure or fertilizer before and during planting. Soil testing is recommended so that you can know what your soil lacks and work towards restoring it. Soil tests can be carried out at KARI at a cost of around ksh 500.
.Farming afrika has established a relationship with a start-up greenhouse construction company who construct and sell affordable greenhouse packages for between ksh 150,000- ksh 185,000 for a complete 8*15 steel greenhouse. The unit is complete with a 500ltrs water tank and seeds. Greenhouses of larger sizes are also available. Call — or email