Narok Youthful Tycoon Makes Over KES 3 Million From Tomato Farming in Home-made Wooden Greenhouses

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Tomato greenhouse in Kibera Slums, Nairobi, Kenya Stock Photo - Alamy

In Kenya, horticulture profits increased largely due to the increased demand for Kenyan produce on the global market.

How the youthful greenhouse farmer made millions by cutting establishment expenses

According to statistics, a square meter of tomato harvest might cost around KES 9,000. This means that a single harvest from a typical greenhouse may bring in over KES 1.2 million.

A youthful tomato farmer in Narok County earns almost three million shillings in a season using his homemade wooden greenhouses, decreasing his production costs by KES110,000.

Geoffrey Rono's four 16 x 40-meter greenhouses are composed of wood and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). He spent a total of KES250, 000 on a greenhouse instead of the KES360,000 he would have spent on a metallic greenhouse of the same size.

“I learnt this technique from a friend in my neighbourhood while I was selling fodder crops five years ago. The friend was practising tomato farming is simply wooden constructed greenhouses,” said Rono.

Lucrative tomato farming, what it entails – Hortfresh Journal

“I then embarked to construct my own and when complete I bought Anne F1 tomato variety seeds from Amiran Kenya Company at Sh11 per seed using up to Sh11, 000 to buy 1000 seeds for a start.”

Before planting he conducted a soil test to determine his soil condition at Sh2500 saving him some money as the test established the soil could be productive by applying manure rather than synthetic fertilizers.

"I've been utilizing manure in my tomato growing since I started following the advice I obtained from soil testing specialists, and it's saved me between KES1,500 and KES1,800 every planting season, which I could have spent on a 50kg bag of fertilizer," he added.

He is now collecting tomatoes from two of his greenhouses, with the remainder scheduled for later.

Returns on Investment

Rono, who offers a crate of tomatoes for KES2500, makes over KES500 from just one tomato plant, and with his large greenhouses, each of which can hold over 1500 seedlings, he can earn KES750, 000 from one greenhouse, equating to KES3 million from 4 greenhouses every year.

"I pick between one and six fruits every cluster of my tomato trousers each year, giving me roughly 800 tomatoes per plant," Rono explained.

He delivers his tomatoes directly to traders who visit his farm or occasionally supplies dealers in Narok Town to avoid dishonest brokers.

What is the best way to start a greenhouse business?

Tomatoes for sale – August Harvest – Farmers Market Kenya

First, choose the crops that you wish to plant.

Secondly, learn what produce is popular in your region by conducting market research.

Thirdly, check out industry publications like Greenhouse Grower, Greenhouse Manager, and GrowerTalks for the most up-to-date information.

Finally, examine your competition to see if there are any market gaps that your company can fill.

From the foregoing, a 240 sqm greenhouse may provide a gross profit of KES 900,000 in a 55-week season. You will deduct KES 31,000 in total expenditures from the estimated sales income of KES 960, 000, as shown.

Subtract KES 105, 000 from additional expenditures such as insurance, field trips, transportation, and contingency losses to arrive at your net earnings. As a result, you'll get roughly KES 855,000. When compared to open field farming, greenhouse farming yields higher earnings.

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