Faced with reduced acreage for farming due to population growth and unpredictable weather conditions, many Kenyans are turning to greenhouse farming technology as a way to increase food production and supplement their income.
“Many Kenyans are adopting greenhouse farming because it requires very little capital to set up and farmers are able to produce more on a small farm,” said Moses Khaemba of Hortipro Limited, a Nairobi-based firm that constructs low-cost greenhouses.
In addition to being relatively inexpensive and easy to install, greenhouses also have lower maintenance costs, use water more efficiently and can be shifted between plots, he said, adding that farmers can see profits from the first harvest.
“Greenhouse farming has many advantages,” Khaemba told Sabahi. “These include higher and more consistent production per acre, which translates into more profits, protection from weather issues like frost and wind, limited exposure to damaging pests, natural sunlight and ventilation, longer growing seasons, and more economical water usage, especially in dry areas.”
Amos Karanja has set aside a portion of his quarter-acre plot in Kitengela, Kajiado County, for growing greenhouse tomatoes. “Although I have a day job, I ventured into this type of farming as a way of earning additional income to support my family,” he told Sabahi.
Dan Wanjohi of Daner Greenhouse Limited in Ongata Rongai, a residential area in Rift Valley Province, said virtually any vegetable can be grown in greenhouses, including cucumbers, onions and cabbage. “Most farmers in Kenya prefer to grow tomatoes because it is a high-yield plant and one that gets returns in three months after planting,” he told Sabahi.