A section of Daniel Njuguna’s celery greenhouse at Ihendu in Naivasha. The crops are ready for harverst. Photo courtesy.
A farmer in Naivasha, Nakuru County who started growing tomatoes eight years ago using a donkey and a cart to fetch water to irrigate his locally made tomato greenhouse is now earning about Sh360,000 per season from celery, cucumber, tomato and kales farming thanks to his long time resilience
Daniel Maina Njuguna, in 2010 constructed a greenhouse measuring 30 metres by eight metres using cheap, local materials such as timber and poles within his residential area in Kayole Estate in Naivasha Town.
After planting some tomatoes, Njuguna faced sever water shortage which was threatening the health and yield of his crops. “I therefore decided to buy a donkey at Sh5,000 and a cart at Sh10,000 to fetch water from other peoples’ boreholes to water my crops,” he said.
To him, this was a way of reducing his expenditure as buying 2000 litres of water he needed daily from other vendors could cost him Sh150 per day as compared to Sh60 he used fetching alone.
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His whole investment capital totaled to Sh150,000.
He could therefore harvest 150 kg of tomatoes per week from the greenhouse and sell at an average of Sh50 per kilo to a supermarket chain in Naivasha Town. After two years Njuguna was able to save some money, constructed two more greenhouses in a half an acre farm he acquired at Ihendu near Kinundu.
He sold his donkey and the cart and decided to dig a well in the farm at a cost of Sh30,000, bought a 4,600 litres water tank at Sh30,000, installed irrigation water pipes at Sh10,000 and acquire electricity which he would use to pump water from the well for irrigation and into the tank for storage.
“I always ensure that the tank is full to its capacity every day to ensure I have water to irrigate my crops even when power goes off for some time,” said Njuguna.
He has since build another greenhouse totaling the number of his greenhouses to four where he grows celery, cucumbers, tomatoes and kales.
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Njuguna who admits he has no problem finding market for his produce harvest a tonne of celery, 200kg of cucumber and about two tonnes of tomatoes per season. He sells a kilo of tomatoes and cucumbers at Sh50 and kilo of celery at between Sh40-50.
“Given I stay in an urban set up I do not find it difficult to sell my produce. Using my motorbike, I supply the produce to small traders, supermarkets and malls in the town which thereafter sell to them consumers.”
For farmers who want to start off in farming, Njuguna says starting small and increasing investment step by step is very important. “I have not reached the level I want to be but for keen farmers, everything must start from somewhere and for starters it is good to begin with something one can manage.”