Capsicum farming in Kenya is a significant economic activity that brings in large revenues for the country.
The majority of farmers plant Capsicum on small plots of land, with the average farm size being 1-2 hectares. With increased demand for this crop, more and more people are turning to this crop as a way to earn an honest living and provide food security for their families.
There are many types of capsicum and every type has a specific use. The most popular in Kenya is the cayenne pepper which is used to spice up dishes like fish, curries or potatoes. Other varieties include bell peppers (used for salads), paprika (used as seasoning) and habanero chili peppers (spicy).
How to farm capsicum in Kenya
You can grow this crop in an open farming or in a greenhouse.
The greenhouse is the most preferred option as farmers get better yields because they are grown in a controlled environment.If you do not have the finances to set up a greenhouse you can opt for open ground farming.
Below is the process of farming capsicum in a shamba and its ideal growth conditions;
Growth conditions for Capsicum farming
They need a warm and humid environment.For optimal growth, the temperature should be between 18-30 degrees.
It is important to maintain a PH level of 6 as this will ensure that it has optimum conditions for growing in Kenya.
If you have acidic soil levels then it is necessary to add lime
It is important to water them periodically because if they are left dry for longer periods then it might affect their growth rate.
Process of Planting capsicums
- Begin by raising a seed nursery.
- Make a seedbed whose width is 1m wide and whose length is commensurate to the amount of seeds you want to sow.
- Sow the seeds thinly and cover lightly with soil and mulch.
- When the plants have germinated ,pluck out some so as to produce firm seedlings.
- Cover the seed bed with a shade to avoid direct sunlight.
- Water them early in the morning or late in the evening.
- Reduce the rate of irrigation a week before transplanting to harden the plants.
- Make raised beds in the shamba and water them for ease of planting.
- Mix the soil with manure and DAP to improve the soil fertility.
- Transplant the seedlings to the shamba after 6 -7 weeks of planting.This is best done early in the morning or late in the evening.
- Capsicum plants should be planted about 20cms apart from each other in rows which are 40cm away from each other; this will ensure that they have enough space to breathe and also grow well.
- Ensure you weed regularly to prevent crops from competing for nutrients.
- Ensure you water them regularly to prevent flowers from aborting and wilting
- After 2 to 3 weeks of transplanting apply CAN at a rate of 50 kg per acre.
- When the crop starts flowering and fruiting apply NPK at a rate of 50 kg per acre.
A capsicum takes 2 and half months to 3 months to mature.You can know if its ready ,if its firm ,has a thick wall and is bright green in color.
Harvesting them is a painstaking process because they are harvested individually by hand.
Stripping off the stem of each fruit with your fingers is one way of harvesting them; this should be done using long sleeves to avoid getting stung and ensure that you remove all flowers before harvesting since these will turn into pests on consumption
Profitability of capsicum farming in Kenya
If you are wondering whether capsicum farming in Kenya is profitable or not, lets analyse the cost and the potential profits of the venture to evaluate its profitability.
|Cost of producing Capsicum in an acre|
|DAP fertilizer||25 Kg||2,500|
|CAN fertilizer||50 Kg||4,000|
|Seeds||1 Kg/ acre||4,000|
|Revenue from Capsicum production|
|At a spacing of 75 cm *45 cm you will be able to plant||10,000 plants|
|Each plant produces 10 heads If there is 75 % growth rate||10*10,000 75% *100,000||100,000 fruits 75,000 fruits|
|Current price of each capsicum on wholesale Total Revenue||5.00 75,000* 5||375,000|
|Total Revenue- Total cost||375,000-40,500||334,500|
From the table above you can see that Capsicum farming is quite profitable as you can make a return of investment of Ksh 334,500 for an acre after a period of 3 months.
With the right information, your farming business can be a success.
We hope the above steps will help you get started on this journey and we wish you all of the best in your future endeavors!