Greenhouse farming in Kenya is done for the production of vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals (rose flowers mostly). Production of these crops is for both domestic consumption- vegetables, and for export- all. Smaller growers produce for the local market, while large greenhouse producers grow for the export market, mainly Europe.
Greenhouse Farming In Kenya With Grekkon Limited
Grekkon Limited designs, and constructs greenhouses for all farmers according to size. Before engaging in greenhouse farming, a farmer must understand the following.
- Crop type. Most, if not all food crop and ornamental seeds or seedlings for greenhouse production are hybrids. There are open field hybrid crop varieties, and greenhouse hybrid crops. The farmer must understand the crop variety he or she intends to grow. This is to ensure it grows under the right conditions. For instance, open field tomato hybrid varieties are determinate types, while the greenhouse tomato varieties are the indeterminate varieties.
- While most greenhouse crops such as tomato, peppers, capsicums, cucumbers are self-pollinating, others such as strawberries are not. Distinguishing between self- pollinating, and cross- pollinating crops is key for a grower. This is because it determines the type of netting used on the greenhouse. For the self- pollinating crops, a net that keeps off every insect is . This is for pest and disease management. Strawberry and other cross- pollinated crops will require a net that allows in insects. In this regard, a grower will to use a bird net on the greenhouse. Bird nets allow in insects, but keep at bay bird pests on crops.
- Land size. This will determine;
– the size of the greenhouse. Farmers with larger acreage will design larger structures, and those with limited space will do smaller ones.
– necessity of a greenhouse. A grower with a large open field can opt for open field crops. While a small holder farmer with a plot of land will do a greenhouse to optimize on the limited space.
- This will determine the greenhouse type structure, if it is a vented or tunnel type greenhouse. The former is suitable for greenhouse farming in Kenya in all locations. But particularly the mid to low altitudes where it’s hot. They provide better ventilation because they are higher, and have an open vent on the roof. A grower in the cooler highlands will construct the tunnel type greenhouse.
- Availability of irrigation water. A grower must have sufficient irrigation water to grow the crop to maturity
- Human resource. Training of greenhouse workers to observe high levels of hygiene is necessary. This is because disease and pests spread much more easily in this
- Budget. This will determine;
- the greenhouse sizes. A smaller budget means smaller units, and vice versa
- the greenhouse types. The tunnel type is cheaper to build than the vented type