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    Spinach Nathan Mala Nyambari Kimabu County By Laban Robert edited2

    Nathan Mala tends to his spinaches at his farm at Nyambari, Kimbu County in 2016. He makes more money by sellign the spinach in bundles to groceries. Photo by Laban Robert.

    In avoiding market middlemen, who eat into the profits, one Kiambu County spinach farmer is making more money from searching and delivering the vegetable on his own to the Nairobi City market.
    Nathan Mala makes about Sh500 more from a sack of 50kg after delivering the spinach to specific Nairobi city groceries.
    Middlemen go round farms in his locality of Nyambari, which is along the Nairobi Nakuru Highway collecting vegetables for sale to Nairobi, Mombasa and other major towns.
    A sack of spinach weighing 50kg is bought at between Sh1,300 and Sh1,500, depending on the supply that day.
    But for Mala, the spinach is bound into bundles, earning at least Sh2,000.
    “Breaking it down into bundles enables me to sell it to various customers according to their desires. From one sack, I get 200 bundles, which fetch Sh100 each. Even after spending about Sh100 on each sack in transportation, I have a bigger margin of profits than those who sell to brokers,” he said.
    From the more than 500 spinach plants, the farmers harvests at least three sacks after 10 days despite the dry spell that has spanning for more than three months.

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    The farm is connected to the Kiambu County water, which he uses for irrigation.
    The ne acre piece of land is majorly covered by the spinach, a few sticks of kales-also known as sukuma wiki-, as well as an 8m by 30m green house.
    The greenhouse currently hosts tomatoes.

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    Capsicum is one of the most favaorite ingredients in urban cooking, but many farmers prefer green and red types to yellow variety because of the ready market in the most middle class households.

    This has gradually created short supply in demand of the yellow variety, more-so, in the up market consumers, who are parting with more cash in the supply depressed situation.

    Wycliffe Obwoge, an agronomist with a Nairobi-based international agribusiness company, says the few growers of the yellow variety are making more than four times what the rest common variety farmers.

    With one green or red capsicum fetching between Sh5 and Sh10, yellow type sells at between Sh20 and Sh50 per peace, depending on the supply.

    “More big hotels and supermarkets are looking for yellow capsicum for their specialized clientele. The farmers I visit tell me they are unable to meet orders. As more farmers grow the red and green varieties, which are common, a gap is created allowing for increased price for the few growers,” Mr Obwoge says.

    With most of the greenhouse farmers he visits being within or bordering Nairobi County, the agronomist says, access to good markets is not much of a challenge.

    Harvesting starts from 60 days to 90 days. One plant can yield up to 35 standard fruits when the farm is under good management.

    From one harvest, a farmer can realise up to 200 kilos once from a 15m by 8m greenhouse. When the price is at its lowest, one can earn Sh24,000 with one kilo selling at Sh120. 

    Yellow capsicum is rich in vitamin A, C and E.

    The Amiran Kenya agronomist says the company is gradually witnessing increased demand for yellow capsicum seeds as more farmers eye this vegetable ingredient.


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