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FARMKENYA

Home / Crop

High prospects for bullet chillis inspire a farmer

Rangenga working on his farm in Kitengela.

Paul Rangenga, 44, ventured into this farming nine years ago. He started with a capital of Sh85,000 in 2011, after visiting a friend in Kitengela, who was growing the crop.

“I visited my friend in Kitengela and found the crop on his farm. Unfortunately, he had no market and he was planning to cut them down, but I persuaded him not to do so,” says the farmer.

Since he had experience in sales and marketing, he promised to assist him to get market for the produce. He succeeded in securing the market for his friend’s produce through another friend of his, who was exporting bullet chilli overseas.

It is at that time that it dawned on him that there is always a market for bullet chilli. The farmer says that the availability of a ready market for the crop made him venture into bullet chilli farming, and he has no regrets.

According to the farmer-cum-agronomist, the bullet chilli is the best compared to other varieties.

“It is the best compared to others because it has more weight. Also, it not labour intensive, it is easy to manage and harvest,” reveals the farmer, who carries out bullet chilli farming in a two-acre farm in Kitengela, Kajiado County.

Though it is tough for farmers in the area to carry out farming activities due to shortage of rains, this has not deterred him from engaging in the farming of the crop.

The farmer says that water is key in the area, and any wise farmer ought to invest first in getting water, before embarking on any farming activity.

“We have drilled a borehole which enables us to get water to irrigate the crops throughout the year,” says Rangenga, adding that there must be water stored in tanks also, to be used when there is no power.

Bullet chilli takes twelve weeks or three months before a farmer starts harvesting. A farmer should ensure that his farm has the requisite standards required by Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD) and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) to produce quality products for export.

Labour shortage

The only big challenge that the farmer has been experiencing is lack of enough workers, especially during harvesting of the produce.

According to him, a farmer has to be careful about diseases and pests that attack the crop. He says that it is good to prevent them before ravaging the crops since prevention is better than cure.

He reveals that the market for their produce is in England, Germany, Norway, among other overseas countries.

The farmer, who is also an agronomist, advises that bullet chillis ought to be sold when they are still green in colour, and not when they have turned the colour into red.

He says that bullet chilli can be sold per kilo, or using a 4.5 kg box. The 4.5 kg box sells at a price of Sh420.

In one week, the farmer harvests 1.4 tonnes of bullet chilli, and in one season, which is about five months, he gets a total of 28 tonnes, in an acre piece of land. In the two acres that he uses, he gets a total of 56 tonnes. He reveals that he can pocket up to Sh2.8 million in profit.

For those who would like to venture into bullet chilli farming, Rangenga urges them to do so, since there is a ready market for the produce. Nevertheless, they should know that there are some challenges that they have to embrace.

He is optimistic that in future, he will register other farmers who grow bullet chillis and create more employment opportunities.

 


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