Little grown crops with big returns

Garlic, lettice top the lost pf crops with big returns that don’t need a big piece of land to farm.

I have a quarter acre piece of land that has been underutilised for a while, it is near a constant water source which makes it viable for farming. I have tried cabbages before but I want to do something different. I looking into high-yielding and fast-maturing crops, please advise.

John.

Dear John,

You are lucky you are not limited by rainfall to farm like so many other farmers out there. We will try our best and paint a clear picture of the different kinds of crops you can grow, the duration they take to mature and expected income from each. Our number one tip, however, is to havr your soil tested and also consult an agronomist before venturing into any form of farming.

Garlic

Garlic is a high-value horticultural crop which is part of the onion family. Garlic is loved for its flavour in food and its rich health benefits. It easier to farm and the advantage is that it does well in ideal conditions and when taken good care of. Garlic takes about six months to mature. Our little research shows that a quarter acre piece of land can give you about 2.5 tonnes of garlic. Currently, farm gate pricr is between Sh100 and Sh150/kg. The demand for garlic is generally high from both the local and export market.

Kniowong the best varieties that do well in Kenya is an added advantage. Garlic will do well in areas with an altitude of 500-2,000m above sea level. The best temperature for garlic production is 12-24°C. Very high temperature are not suitable as they interfere wirh garlic development. If grown under irrigation, garlic requires water in the early stages of development. Soils should be fertile, well-drained and light. Heavy soils like clay interfere with bulb development. The soil pH should be between 5.5 and 6.8. Garlic is propagated vegetatively from cloves.

Dania/Coriander

Dania is easy to grow and it’s always in great demand. It contains protein, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. Dania is said to have a host of health benefits making it a staple in many homes. Coriander, locally commonly known as dania, takes four to six weeks to mature, depending on the variety. The long and short varietiesof are the most commonly in Kenya. Coriander is consumed almost in every household due to its aroma and the flavour it addscto food. It is used in stews and salads. It is a relatively easy crop to grow, requieing minimum maintenancr. With good management practices, one cant get 5kgs of coriander per square metre and the farm gate price per kilogramme varies from Sh25 to as high as Sh80.

Mushroom

Mushroom farming is not very old in Kenya but it is not very new. Cultivation used to be a complex affair but thing have been made way simpler for farmers from the numerous research , training, and workshops. There have also been workarounds in the process and introduction ofore tolerant varietiws like Oyster mushrooms.

They 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 to start your crop, you’ll need mushroom seed , or spawn. You can purchase a kilogramme of this from Sh500. This, in turn, will give you a yield of about 10 kilogrammes of mushroom. Sincr the crop doesn’t grow in regular soil, you’ll need substrate, which tends to be treated agricultural waste. You can ise wheat, rice husks, groundnut shells, or bean or coffee waste. If you have 1000 bags in one cropping room, you can get close to two tons of button mushrooms going at an averahe of Sh600/kg. With proper marketing this is one profitable venture and you’ll require less capital.

Lettuce

One of the crops gaining popularity among farmersxis lettuce, aleafy vegetable in Asteraceae family, which matures 45-60 days. It is considered superior because it is considered high in vitamin C and dietary fibre. One head of Lettuce broccoli goes at Sh70 to Sh100. On a good month you can profit from Lettuce farming. There are two major varieties of lettuce that is the heading and non-heading.

The heading variety tends to form a compacted head like cabbages while the non-heading one has loose leaves. The green leaves are the ediblepart of the crop through there is also a purple non-heading lettuce.

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