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Profitable vegetables to grow during the dry season

Maximizing Returns: A Guide to Growing Profitable Vegetables in Kenya

Venturing into growing profitable vegetables can be a low-capital investment and relatively simple undertaking for farmers in many parts of the world, including Kenya. However, the success of the venture relies on various factors, such as market demand and optimal production techniques. In this article, we will explore the profitability of growing capsicums, cabbages, onions, and Sukuma Wiki (kale/collard) in Kenya, particularly during the dry season. By highlighting the benefits of each crop and how to maximize their potential, farmers can make informed decisions and achieve high returns.

These four vegetables are important business ventures for farmers in Kenya to invest during the dry season because they give high returns with less supervision over a very diminutive period of time. The nutrition components yield from each also aids in marketing of these products. The piece of land required to grow the vegetables is relatively small, making it easier for a farmer at any level to undertake. Farmers should invest in the above vegetables because they are sure of a constant market for their produce and there is less competition during the dry because many farmers tend to engage in annual crops like maize that grow over a long period, and they will be concentrating on harvest season. All you need is a constant waters supply to ensure your crops don’t dry up from the harsh weather conditions. Growing these vegetables during the dry season will fetch a higher price in the market because of demand therefore farmers will enjoy high gains.

Watermelons

Watermelon basking in the sun.

Watermelon is a crop that is best grown in Kenya during October so that farmers can harvest when the dry season is at its worst. Watermelon likes to be harvested when there is no rain, and the prices are usually great during this time. Additionally, harvesting watermelons during the dry season makes them sweeter due to the concentration of sugars, which customers love.

Due to the warm and dry conditions during the dry season, the concentration of sugars in watermelon increases, resulting in a sweeter and more flavorful fruit. This makes watermelon more attractive to customers and can result in higher prices and profits for farmers. It is essential to pay close attention to irrigation and soil moisture levels during the growing season to ensure that the watermelon plants receive enough water, despite the dry conditions.

Overall, the dry season is the perfect time to grow watermelon in Kenya as it thrives in warm, dry conditions and can be harvested at its sweetest. This high-value crop can bring in significant profits for farmers during this time, making it an attractive option for those looking to invest in agriculture.

Capsicums

Capsicum, also known as bell peppers, is a profitable crop that can be grown throughout the year in Kenya. However, it is particularly profitable during the dry season when there is less competition from other farmers. Capsicum requires minimal water compared to other crops, making it a great option for dry season farming when water is scarce.

Capsicum farming has the potential to generate a significant income for farmers. During the dry season, capsicum can fetch up to Ksh 50 per kilogram, which is a relatively high price compared to other crops. The total amount of capsicum that can be harvested per acre in a season is about 20,000 kilograms, depending on the farming techniques used.

Capsicum is a versatile crop that can be grown in both open fields and greenhouses. Greenhouse farming is particularly suited for capsicum farming, as it provides a controlled environment that protects the crop from extreme weather conditions and pests. This can result in higher yields and quality produce, which can fetch even higher prices in the market.

Overall, capsicum farming during the dry season in Kenya is a profitable venture that can provide a significant source of income for farmers. With its minimal water requirements, high market demand, and potential for high yields, capsicum farming can be a lucrative business opportunity for those looking to invest in agriculture.

Cabbages

Photo of Cabbages growing

Cabbage is a hardy crop that can withstand dry conditions, making it a popular vegetable to grow during the dry season in Kenya. Cabbage farming is relatively easy and can be done both in open fields and greenhouses. The crop has a relatively short maturity period of between 60-90 days and can be harvested in two to three cycles in a year.

Cabbage is a popular vegetable in Kenya, consumed in a variety of dishes and is in high demand in both local and international markets. When grown using organic methods, cabbage can fetch a higher price due to its perceived higher quality and health benefits.

Cabbages can give you a possible 11,000 and 15,000 heads per acre. You can sell each head at an estimate price of 30 Ksh per Head. The price should be higher, but this is the broker price that you might get if they came to buy the whole lot. Some of the cabbage varieties in Kenya are Gloria F1, Riana F1, Serena F1, Pruktor F1, Queen F1.

Also Read  Beginner Farmer: Growing Grapes in Kenya

In addition to the high market demand and potential for significant profits, cabbage farming also has a positive impact on the environment. Cabbage is a low-input crop that requires minimal pesticide and fertilizer use, making it an eco-friendly crop that can help reduce the environmental impact of farming.

Overall, cabbage farming is a profitable venture that can provide a significant source of income for farmers during the dry season in Kenya. With its hardiness, high market demand, and potential for high yields, cabbage farming can be a lucrative business opportunity for those looking to invest in agriculture.

Onions

onions-graduate-farmer
Onions on display.

Onions are an important vegetable crop that is widely used in various cuisines globally. They have been known to form a foundational part in various soups, salads, and casseroles. Onions are part of the alliums family and come in various types that include green onions, dry bulb onions, and white onions. In Kenya, onion farming is a feasible venture that farmers can undertake as it takes about 4 months for onions to mature.

Aside from their culinary uses, onions also offer numerous health benefits. They contain vitamin C, which helps improve the body’s immunity, and chromium, which assists in the regulation of blood sugar. For many years, onions have also been used for their healing properties, as they contain compounds that reduce inflammation and can help fight infections.

With proper management, onions can produce around 20,000 Kgs of bulbs per acre. This yield can vary depending on various factors, including soil fertility, irrigation, pest and disease management, and the variety of onions grown. In Kenya, some of the popular onion varieties include Red Pinoy F1, Jambar F1, Red passion F1, and Red Comet F1.

In just three months, an acre of hybrid bulb onions can give you an income of Ksh 350,000 if you sell your onions at Ksh 25 per kg.

Onion farming can be a profitable venture for farmers in Kenya, especially given the high demand for onions in local markets and their use in various food products. However, it is important for farmers to carefully consider the costs of production, market prices, and potential challenges before investing in onion farming. With the right planning and management practices, onion farming can be a rewarding and profitable venture for farmers in Kenya.

Sukuma Wiki (Kale or Collard)

A farmer harvesting Sukuma Wiki in Eldoret

Sukuma wiki, also known as kale, is a popular and nutritious vegetable that belongs to the cruciferous cabbage family. It is a hardy crop that can thrive in hot and wet climates, making it a suitable crop to grow in Kenya. Sukuma wiki takes between 6 and 8 weeks to mature before the first harvest, which makes it a relatively fast-growing crop.

Sukuma wiki is a highly nutritious vegetable, containing vitamins A, C, K, and B6, as well as minerals like calcium and potassium. Additionally, sukuma wiki has been shown to have various health benefits, including helping to lower cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease, and improving digestion.

Sukuma wiki is a staple vegetable in many households in Kenya. It is a popular ingredient in traditional dishes such as mukimo and githeri, and it can also be used in salads, smoothies, and other recipes.

When it comes to yield, farmers can expect to get up to 16 – 20 tonnes of sukuma wiki per acre, depending on factors such as soil fertility, irrigation, and pest and disease management. Sukuma wiki is usually harvested on a weekly basis. The best time to grow or rather to transplant sukuma wiki in Kenya is in early days of February. You will then be able to harvest after a month’s time when the dry spell has affected many farmers in Kenya. Your product will be on demand with buyers who will give you good prices. Remember you can only achieve this fete when you have an irrigation system installed on your farm.

With the high demand for sukuma wiki in local markets and its numerous health benefits, sukuma wiki farming can be a profitable venture for farmers in Kenya.

However, it is important for farmers to take into consideration the costs of production, market prices, and potential challenges before investing in sukuma wiki farming. With proper planning, management, and marketing strategies, sukuma wiki farming can be a rewarding and profitable venture for farmers in Kenya.

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20 Comments

  1. Hello,

    And what do you make of the white onion variety? When is it best to begin planting onions in Kenya for dry spell?

  2. Dear Sheryl Kosgey, thank you for your excellent article on “Profitable vegetables to grow during the dry season” By the way, I wish you could add some pictures in this article but the pictures were awesome. Keep the great writing skill up. Thanks again for giving me a good resource. Waiting for your reply!

  3. Hi Sheryl! I was wondering, it appears that sukuma wiki is actually collard. When you said Sukuma Wiki (kale), are you referring to collard or kale? Thank you!

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