Cabbages are very popular in Kenyan homes. We love them because when you buy one, it will last for a long time thus cost effective. This fact alone makes it a very profitable crop because many people love it and that equates to demand.
Cabbages also known as Brassica Oleraceae 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 started 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 4 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 11,000 and 15,000 heads.
According to Don’t Lose the Plot (DLTP) a television program produced by The Mediae Company whose other productions include Shamba Shape Up , Cabbage farming can give you an income (net profit) of of Ksh 210,863 per acre (This after deducting your expenses). The total cash spent is estimated at Ksh 79,137 (From nursery all the way to harvesting minus irrigation equipment).
If you get 14,500 heads x Ksh 20 per head = Ksh 290,000 (Gross Profit).
Ksh 290,000- Ksh 79,137 = Ksh 210,863 (Net Profit).
The expense cost includes farm equipment, chemicals, seeds and labour. The expense estimation above however does not include an irrigation system. 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.
Some of the important factors to put in mind before getting into onion farming are;
- Soil health.
- Type of fertilizer to use.
- Crop variety to grow in your region and soil adaptability.
- Transportation to the market.
- Crop yields.
- Irrigation (Water needs).
- Market or Pricing. (This a real pain sometimes especially when you are forced to sell your produce at a throw away price or if the market is flooded!)
- Planting timing.
Target market: Local market, Learning Institutions (Boarding Schools), Hospitals, Government Institutions, Ngo’s, Export market and Urban Areas.
To get a free quick guide on how to grow cabbages check it out here
Are you a cabbage farmer? How accurate are these figures? What were your experiences? Please comment below 🙂