MarketPlace, Youth in Agriculture

Most Profitable Agribusiness Ventures For Young Entrepreneurs In 2020


Happy New Year, 2020!

As we make New Year’s resolutions, one of the key list items for most people is related to financial matters.

In a country where half of salaried people earn below KSh. 30,000 a month, coupled with high levels of unemployment, the urge to make an extra coin is imperative.

Venturing into agribusiness is one of the ways in which the youth in Kenya can make money and create jobs.

Success stories of wealthy farmers often dominate the media, but not all the stories involve heavy capital, a huge piece of land and a big workforce.

This article aims to spark the interest of Kenyan youth to change their negative perception of agriculture, and give young entrepreneurs an idea of some of the profitable ventures in the agricultural sector.

Below is a list of the most profitable agribusiness ventures for young entrepreneurs in Kenya, 2020;

1. Mushroom Farming

With the growing demand of organic mushrooms both locally and at the export market, mushroom farming has become one of the most lucrative agribusiness ventures in Kenya. Introduction of more tolerant varieties like Oyster mushrooms has made the venture even easier. They take about 2 months to mature and they have a long shelf life.

Mushrooms do not require a huge piece of land compared to other crops. A quarter acre of land is enough to have an incubation house and a cropping house. You can make use of the vertical space too since mushrooms don’t grow tall. Also, you do not have to invest in a complicated, expensive structure to start your mushroom farm. A simple mabati room fitted with natural materials and polythene bags or gunias would do.

To start, you will need mushroom seeds, or spawns. A kilo of mushroom seeds is sold at about Sh.500. This in turn will give you a yield of about 80 kgs of mushroom. If you planted just 3 kilos of spawns, you could harvest approximately 240 kgs of mushroom. With the current market price of mushroom going at an average of Ksh.600-800 per kg(depending on the packaging and the target market), this could earn you between 144,00 – KSh. 192,000 per harvest.

With a strategic marketing plan, this is a very profitable venture and you’ll require less capital in comparison to others types of farming.

2. Garlic farming

Garlic is a high value horticultural crop. It is part of the onion family and is loved for its flavor in food and health benefits. It does well in its optimum conditions and good care. Garlic takes about 6 months to harvest.

A ¼ acre of land can give you close to 2 tons yield of garlic bulb selling at about Ksh. 150-200 per kilo. There is demand from both local and the export market.

Garlic requires adequate skills, training and good research to be successful. You’ll need to understand the local varieties, get certified seeds, good soil and best environment.

3. Passion fruit farming

Passion is one of the biggest fruit exports by Kenya. The local market demand is also quite high due to increased demand for fresh juice.

It is considered one of the most profitable fruits to grow considering it gives its income within the first year and the trees keep producing fruits for over three years.

The passion plant is a climber, meaning one can use creative ways like vertical trellises to accommodate significant number of posts, hence maximizing on space.

A ¼ acre can grow about 350 passion plants or more. One plant with good care can produce 10–15 kg of fruits in a year. Passion fruits sell for Ksh.40–100 per kg while grade 1 for export can go for around Ksh.70–100 per kg.

4. Greenhouse farming

Greenhouses provide a controlled environment that best suits the growth of crops because moisture content and temperatures can be regulated. Crops are also protected from the outside menace of insects, rodents and other animals. This means greenhouse farmers can farm all year round in and out of season.

Green houses come in different sizes, as small as 12×6 meters. An 8×24 meter greenhouse can fit perfectly on a ¼ acre piece of land, generating between Ksh. 350,000 and Ksh. 550,000 depending on the crop’s market.

The approximate cost of building an 8×24 meter greenhouse is around Ksh.100,000-Ksh.150,000 and the running cost is about Ksh. 50,000. Although the starting capital looks much, consider that yields in a greenhouse are higher compared to open field farming for the same space utilized, and there is the advantage of farming all year round with reduced risks. The investment is totally worth it!

The most popular greenhouse crops are vegetables such as capsicums, courgette, okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, kales, spinach, cabbages, carrots, dhania, lettuce, mboga za kienyeji, among others, and they take around 2-3 months to harvest.

Just to give you a glimpse of how profitable growing such vegetables would be, a broccoli head goes for around Ksh. 100. In a good month, one can make well over 150,000 shillings from a quarter of an acre. Tomato variety can yield well over 3 tons for a ¼ acre. Tomato prices are always fluctuating in Kenya but proper timing can guarantee massive profits. For spinach farming, one can make close to Ksh. 100,000 in profits on a good month.

5. Fish Farming

Kenyans used to depend on lakes and rivers for fish, but not anymore. Commercial fish farming has taken off.

The African cat fish, Nile Perch, Tilapia and the Rainbow Trout are very popular for pond fish farming.

On ¼ acre piece of land, you can fit 100 meter square ponds. The main costs in fish farming are; labor, polythene, feeds and the fingerlings. The ponds can also be made of fibre, concrete and plastic but these will cost more. You need to consider; climate, suitable land, fish species, pond design, feeds and the market. The demand for fish has been going up with more people consuming white meat locally.

Catfish goes for Ksh. 350 to 400 per kilo while tilapia retails at about Ksh. 450 per kilo. With a ¼ acre, you can rear a few thousands of them. The cat fish is fast growing and the jumbo variety can weigh up to 15kgs. Tilapia can be harvested when they weigh from 250g. Modern fish farming techniques can be used to maximize yield. For instance, Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) halves fish maturity period from eight to four months.


Joy Gichangi

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