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If you do it right, you can reap big from strawberry farming

ENTERPRISE
By Jennifer Anyango | July 24th 2021

Belindah Jelagat harvests strawberries from her greenhouse at Marura area in Uasin Gishu County.[Kevin Tunoi,Standard]

If you get it right, farming strawberries can earn you good money in less than a year as it has a huge income potential in Kenya.

Strawberries can grow in almost every part of Kenya provided there is constant water supply and stable temperature in the range of 10 to 30 degrees celsius.

Jane Ndunge from Machakos County grows strawberries on an eighth of an acre. She started after attending a training at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) on how to grow the crop and earn money from it.

“From the training, I learnt the benefits that come with growing the fruit and I decided to venture into it,” says Ndunge.

She says the crop takes about three months to mature depending on the temperature of the place. It takes less than three months to mature in warmer areas as compared to colder places.

She explains how she does it.

Once the land is ready with adequate water supply, one should buy the seedlings from a trusted agent. Ndunge advises that the best variety is Chandelier Strawberry which is suited for the Kenyan environment.

“You will require about 3,000 seedlings for an eighth of an acre. Given that each seedling costs Sh10, then your minimum investment in seeds alone will be about Sh30,000,” says Ndunge. You may also need fertiliser.

Planting

Plant your strawberry seedlings leaving a distance of 30cm in between rows. Also, leave at least 50cm space between any two sections of the farm.

The Market

Because the fruits are highly perishable, start looking for market early enough to avoid incurring losses, says Ndunge.

Harvesting

It takes at least 70 days for the crop to mature and start producing the first fruits. An eighth of an acre can produce between 30kg and 50kg of strawberries per week and each kilo goes for about Sh200 at the current market price.

“If all goes well and assuming one harvests up to 50 kg, a farmer can make up to Sh40,000 a week,” she says.

Ndunge harvests and packs them in punnets. She harvests up to 100 punnets a day and she harvests twice a week. She sells a punnet of strawberry fruits at Sh100 farm gate price and Sh120 a punnet in the market.

“I harvest sometimes 50, 80 or even 100 punnets a day. I deal with orders but sometimes I get online customers or I take them to markets around Machakos and Nairobi. I also sell during farmers’ open days, agricultural shows and exhibitions,” says Ndunge.

She says a farmer can increase productivity by investing in aquaponics, which is basically a cooperation between plants and fish for maximum yields. 

To make more cash, instead of selling raw fruits, one can make juice and jam. Remember to get certification from relevant bodies like Kenya Bureau of Standards.

 

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