I have never been a fan of horticultural crops that make you wait for 3 months to harvest. Horticulture is profitable but it is also equally risky, and if you are not carefully planned out, you can end you losing a lot of money than you bargained for. I have been broken (Emotionally) quite a number of times waiting to make a profit-killing by growing 3-month crops like onions and cabbages.
3 month crops are not bad at all. They are great. You just have to understand how they work and what works for you. I realized this the hard way. It’s interesting how every farmer out there has a story to tell about failed agribusiness ventures which hit them the most. They have that crop that has messed them and will not even give a second look at their seeds being sold when they visit the Agro-vet. They will avoid making eye contact with these seeds at all costs lest they are reminded how they lost their investment. The crop which frustrated me the most is a tricky vegetable called the onion.
Don’t get me wrong, onion farming is great. I have friends who have grown it without any problems and made huge profits from it. I have never heard any complaints from them. They always seem to be successful every time they grow it but this has never been the case to me. I have never managed to hack their success strategy. It has always been elusive and I have never got even a handful of onions plants to form bulbs. I know what you are thinking. The problem must have been the soil or planting method. Man, I tested the soil, even brought in an onion expert but they did not bulb. I tried this twice. That means I lost money twice! I decided to slow down a bit to re-assess myself. You see, farmers have to assess themselves frequently. If you do not do this, you will go mad. I decided to back off from onion farming and focus on what worked for me. Sukuma Wiki.
Sukuma Wiki is a green leafy vegetable that is loved by Kenyans. It is easily accessible and affordable. Sukuma Wiki is a Swahili word which means “Push the Week”. It is affordable for everyone and can be served on a daily basis in many Kenyan homes. We used to eat Sukuma Wiki nearly every day in high school which made me hate it for a while but we were soon reunited in friendship in my adult life after I saw its true potential. Who knew.
Sukuma Wiki (also known as collard greens) is a member of the cabbage family. It has large, dark-coloured, edible leaves that will fit very well on your plate with a piece of ugali😀. Okay, jokes aside. Sukuma Wiki can be available year-round if grown under irrigation. Some people claim that it is tastier during the cold season (Rainy season) which makes their leaves more nutritious. Here is the good part. Sukuma Wiki leaves can be harvested daily or weekly, depending on the the crop population that you have. They can even be harvested before the leaves reach their maximum size.
This quality means that you can harvest Sukuma Wiki daily or weekly (Weekly…get it? Sukuma Wiki… Weekly?😂). Alright, I know you feel the weight of the statement.
Harvesting daily /weekly gives you the ability to earn money in stages as you can plant different farm sections to keep the supply going. I personally prefer harvesting and selling Sukuma Wiki daily in small quantities of 2-5 bags. Doing this will always ensure you sell the harvest led bags at good prices. You will be able to dispose the harvest easily and start the whole process all over again the next day. This trick works all the time. Don’t harvest big and take all your 20 bags to the market (1 acre can give around 20 bags if harvested weekly). When brokers see you doing this, they will frustrate you by joining forces and dropping the prices. If one bag went for Ksh 1,000 then for you it will go for Ksh 300- Ksh 500. Ha! Sucks right? 😠I know! This happened to me once. I learnt my lesson.
Here’s the math:
If you harvest at-least 4 bags daily and sell at Ksh 500 per bag, you will get Ksh 2,000 per day. Don’t target the local market only, reach out to mama mbogas near you and supply a small stream of vegetables to them. Be timley. Don’t make them wait. Do this and you will streamline your client base with a smart selling strategy. The farm will start paying you a steady stream of cash which you can use as salary or for expansion. It’s your choice. I can’t do labour costs and other mathematics for you because everyones situation is different but I believe you see the bigger picture here.
If you have grown Sukuma Wiki before please share with us your experiences in the comments below👇.