Greenhouse Farming In Kenya

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 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

When venturing in greenhouse farming in Kenya, a farmer must understand the following.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Our greenhouse cost and sizes in Kenya are directly related because the greenhouse price per unit area decreases with an increase in the size of the greenhouse.

5 Key Factors That Determine Our Greenhouses Prices In Kenya

  1. on the unit size. The larger it is, the costlier it becomes for the reason that it take in more material and labour. The choice a greenhouse of size is determined by; land area, water availability, and a grower’s budget
  2. design. A tunnel type greenhouse is less costly than a vented type. This is because the latter has a larger roof surface area. Tunnel type greenhouses are for cooler highland locations, while the vented types are for warmer mid to low altitude areas
  3. greenhouse construction frame material of the unit. Grekkon Limited as a top greenhouse construction company in Kenya, has an option of a low cost greenhouse constructed from timber. This is referred to as a wooden greenhouse, or the option of the more pricey metallic greenhouse. Both serve the same purposes
  4. frame treatment undertaken. Timber for greenhouse construction in Kenya is either treated with light organic solvent preservative (LOSP), or with used motor oil. These treatments protect the timber from termite attack. LOSP treatment is costlier, and preserves the wood longer. Motor oil has to be re-applied every so often and should not be in contact with the crop. Steel is either galvanised with zinc, or an aluminum paint coat is applied on the surface. In this too, the former treatment is costlier, and remains for long
  5. greenhouse crop type. our greenhouse construction cost in Kenya for each of these types is determined by the crop type. For instance, an indeterminate crop that requires an internal crop support system will have a more costly greenhouse than a short strawberry crop. The greenhouse installation cost of a plant propagation unit with misters and foggers is higher than a herbs and spices unit without such

 

A galvanised metallic greenhouse vegetable production unit

Greenhouse construction in Kenya

These are the materials that determine our  greenhouse installation prices in Kenya

I. UV treated greenhouse polythene with anti drip properties

This is the key material that protects the crop from the elements of weather; sun, wind and rain. It creates the ‘greenhouse effect’, and minimises disease and pest incidences on the crop. It is either clear or yellow in color. Clear greenhouse polythene for fruiting crops, or in ornamentals, bi or multi colors. This is because it allows in more light which these need for photosynthesis, the process that makes food for the plants. Yellow is for vegetative crops, and mono color ornamentals. In mono color ornamentals, it intensifies the color

II. Galvanised steel bars

They provide structural support to the greenhouse, and also to the crop as ‘crop support structures’ for tall indeterminate crops such as; tomato, peppers, and cucumbers

III. UV treated high density insect nets;

These keep away insect pests. They are for self pollinating (do not require external pollinators such as insects and birds) greenhouse crops

IV. Bird nets

These are only used in greenhouse crops that require insect pollination from bees, butterflies, hornets and many other pollinating insects. They allow in the insects, but keep away bird pests. An example of such a crop is strawberry

V. Profiles

They are screwed onto the galvanised steel bars so that the greenhouse cover is tucked in them

VI. Wiggle wires

Once the greenhouse cover is tucked in the profile, wiggle wires keep it in place so that it is not removed by wind or other physical force. Wiggle wires have a plastic covering to prevent damage to the greenhouse paper the are in direct contact with  

Greenhouse cost and sizes

Wiggle wires hold in place a clear greenhouse polythene sheet tucked in a profile

 

VII. Screws

The join the profiles to the galvanised steel structure

VIII. Concrete

This is what supports the galvanised steel structures on the ground and keeps them upright    

 

Humidification through misters in a seedlings propagation greenhouse

 

Successful greenhouse farmers in Kenya grow both none food and food crops in our metallic greenhouses. Common greenhouse food crops are; tomato, peppers, strawberries, and cucumber.  Galvanised steel bars, insect netting, screws, and profiles are our greenhouse construction materials. With labor addition, all now constitute your final greenhouse cost. Every Grekkon Limited greenhouse has a drip irrigation system for crop production, or a misting/ fogging system for seedlings propagation. Seedling propagation greenhouses are nehanced with tables and planting trays. Sprinkler irrigation systems are not installed in greenhouses  

 

Greenhouse Farming In Kenya

FAQs

1.What is greenhouse farming?

It is the growing of crops under a shelter covered by a transparent glass or translucent UV-treated polythene. This environment protects the crop from the vulgarities of weather, pests and diseases. It eases crop husbandry.

2. What is the most profitable crop to grow in a greenhouse?

Roses for export are the most lucrative crop to grow in a greenhouse in Kenya

3. How profitable is greenhouse farming in Kenya?

Greenhouse farming consists of self-pollinating crops such as greenhouse indeterminate tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, and also insect-pollinated crops like strawberries. These are high-value crops that require intense attention and protection from pestilences such as; hail, drought, pest, disease, storms, and cold. They are moderately profitable. We design none food metallic greenhouses for flowers such as; roses, carnations, and chrysanthemums, and herbs such as geraniums, mint, basil, rosemary, and lemongrass. These crops are highly profitable and are grown by successful greenhouse farmers in Kenya.

4. How do you build a greenhouse?

Greenhouse farming in cool highland zones will have a tunnel-type greenhouse constructed because it conserves heat, while those in the warm lowlands will have a vented type greenhouse that allows better cooling. The difference between the two greenhouse types is that the vented type has a roof top ventilation. This is created by overlapping one side of the roof above the other (see the wooden greenhouse image below) Our sizes range are small, medium and large

 

A 30M x 8M tunnel type greenhouse by Grekkon Limited in Rimuruti area, Laikipia county. Notice the front sanitary pouch, and side roll up

Greenhouse cost and sizes

The interior of the tunnel type greenhouse

5. How much does a greenhouse cost?

How much does it cost to set up a greenhouse in Kenya?

Below are our greenhouse cost and sizes for galvanized metallic greenhouse tunnel-type structures with a drip irrigation kit, side roll-ups, and an entry pouch. We offer a crop support structure, a 1,000L tank, PPE kits, fertilizer, and seeds package at an extra cost. Consideration is made for a grower’s greenhouse budget. These prices include all greenhouse materials in Kenya

A. Small

Dimensions in meters Tomato Crop Population Price in KES
15 x 8 600 KES 195,000
24 x 8 800 KES 275,000
30 x 8 1,200 KES 365,000
40 x 8 1,500 KES 530,000
48 x 8 1,600 KES 600,000
 

B. Medium

Dimensions in meters Tomato Crop Population Price in KES
24 x 16 1,500 – 1,600 KES 540,000
30 x 16 2,400 KES 660,000
40 x 16 3,000 KES 990,000

C. Large From 800M square. Kes 900 per meter square. We customise our price according to size, and your greenhouse budget

Greenhouse farming in Kenya is based on 5 main categories. In temperate climates, greenhouses produce food in the winter. They have a heating system to do this. Greenhouses in tropical climates such as Kenya have no heating, and produce all year round. They have a UV treated polythene cover, not glass or fiber glass. In the ventilated sections, they have white colored low or high density insect nets. The choice of white is because it reflects much light which deters insect entry. It also reflects off heat

Types of greenhouses in Kenya; categorization

1. Construction material

1.1. Galvanised steel greenhouses

The steel bars used in greenhouse construction in Kenya are of various sizes depending on their position in the structure. Thicker and stronger steel bars are on the edges as anchors. The lighter steel gauge is on the roof, and also acts as the internal crop support system. The choice of thickness of the steel bars adopted depends on the greenhouse location. In windy locations, the steel bars are deliberately stronger than in calm areas. Food grade aluminum or zinc is what Grekkon Limited uses to galvanise these steel frames to keep them from rust. All vertically placed steel bars that are in contact with the ground have a concrete base. This strengthens the structure, and holds it in place during strong wind, or a storm.

1.2. Wooden greenhouses

Treated timber greenhouses are cheaper than galvanized steel greenhouses. They have a shorter lifespan, because wood degrades faster than galvanized steel. Growers are not to treat the timber with used motor oil. This is because it will contaminate food crops.  

Greenhouse prices and cost in Kenya

A wooden greenhouse

2. By activity

2.1. Crop production

Galvanised steel or wooden greenhouses are for food crop production, and ornamentals. These structures have planting beds to ensure proper drainage, and irrigation is by drip systems.

2.2. Seedling production

The have 1meter high tables for seedling trays placement. On the roof, is a system of misters or foggers to humidify. This is necessary because high humidity id necessary for root propagation, and seedling development. They are for propagation of; vegetable, herb, fruit, cereal, spice, forestry, and ornamental crops.

2.3. Fish rearing

Fingering production, and fish rearing in greenhouses is a growing practice amongst Kenyan farmers. This commercial venture is due to the growing demand for fish and fish products locally, and internationally. They are shorter in height than crop production greenhouses, and are warmer.  

3. The design adopted

3.1 Vented type greenhouses

They have an opening on the roof, and are taller in height. This opening, and additional height allows for more airflow in the structure, creating a higher cooling effect. These are for very hot- where average daily temperatures are beyond 30 degrees Celsius. This is for the mid to low altitude locations  

A vented roof type greenhouse

3.2. Tunnel type greenhouses

Their roof is continuous, and have only the side ventilation. They are also shorter in height.  Constructed in the highlands, or cool locations. Daily average temperatures here do not exceed 30 degrees Celsius  

Greenhouse company in Kenya: Grekkon Limited

A tunnel type greenhouse

4. Crop type

4.1. With a crop support system. This consists of a metallic crop support structure made of vertical metal bars in the greenhouse. These metal bars are arranged in rows with a spacing of 3M between one row to the other. Steel wires running vertically, and horizontally between these metal bars train the crop and keep it in position. This crop support structure is for tall indeterminate crops such as tomato, cucumber, and capsicums 4.2. Without a crop support system. This is for short crops that do not need training. They are; strawberry, leafy vegetables, most ornamentals, herbs and spices

5. Unit positioning

5.1. Stand alone greenhouses do not exceed 8M in width 5.2. Greenhouses from 16M in width are designed as co-joined unit

Co-joined greenhouse units

Other Considerations

  1. 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.
  2. Availability of irrigation water. A grower must have sufficient irrigation water to grow the crop to maturity
  3. 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
  4. 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
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Established in 2017, Grekkon Limited is a Kenyan agribusiness company. It specialises in the provision of; - Irrigation systems - Greenhouse construction - Dam liners installation - Water pumps - Solar dryers construction - Agriculture nets - Borehole drilling The company has operations offices in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Nyeri, Meru, and Nyahururu

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