Strawberry farming is one of the most profitable agribusinesses to do in Kenya. This crop can easily turn you from an employee to a rich employer within one year. The business has placed money in the pockets of many youths who initially thought getting employed was the way to go.
Moreover, Strawberry Farming does well in areas with an altitude of between 1250 and 2200 meters above sea level. Such areas are along the East Rift valley. Farmers along these areas have celebrated the high yields and ready markets for their produce.
The plant needs a well-distributed rainfall of about 1200mm. But also, for a serious farmer located in any part of the country, strawberry farming has been made possible once the farmer follows a number of guidelines
Guidelines for Strawberry Farming
You need to get a piece of land necessary for Strawberry Farming. For startups, a farmer in the rural setting can get an eighth of an acre, while for those in the urban setting, the farmer can get a small portion in the backyard, and establish just a few containers.
The next step is to look for seedlings. In this case, the farmer has to consider Chandelier Strawberries, a variety that does well in Kenya.
An eighth acre will only require 3000 seedlings, for the piece of land to be utilized to full capacity. One seedling costs at least Kshs. 10. With this rate, the farmer can only fully invest Kshs. 30,000 in seedlings alone.
Additional costs are linked to purchasing agro-chemicals, fertilizer, and transportation. The costs herein will add up to between Kshs. 10,000 and KShs. 15,000.
The farmer has to till the piece of land, eliminate the weeds and then work on the soil. After that, manure has to be added and it is recommendable if the farmer use sheep, goat, cow or rabbit manure. The farmer can still add some ash to ensure that the strawberry has rich supply of nutrients.
After that, the farmer should plant the strawberries and in the process leave a gap of about 30cm between each strawberry in a row. Additionally, the farmer should leave a gap of about 50cm between any two land sections.
Time to Maturity
Strawberries only take 70 days to fully mature and produce the very first fruit. The challenging part of the fruits is that they are very perishable. They only remain fresh for a period of between 4 to 5 days once harvested. The farmer is advised to have a ready market so that by the time the fruits are harvested, they are already in the market.
Urban centers have a high demand for strawberries, and the best points for sale is along with green groceries. For a large scale farmer, the marketing to be done should be a high-class marketing style, whereby the farmer has to approach companies like KCC, big hypermarkets, and brookside. The big companies only need a guarantee that you will be a constant supplier of strawberries.
Harvesting the Strawberries
Surprisingly, just an eighth of an acre can produce strawberries of between 30 to 50 kilograms per week. Each kilo of strawberry sells at Kshs.200 at the prevailing economic situation, but it can go to an extent of Kshs. 300. If the piece of land produces 50 kilograms, the farmer can make a figure close to Kshs. 40,000 on a monthly basis.
In order for the farmer to make huge profits, one can choose to diversify the piece of land and invest in aquaponics. This form of diversification will triple the level of production, and the farmer can make a monthly amount close to Kshs.100,000.
With strawberry farming, it is very possible to break even within just six months and make good money for oneself.