Farmers must adjust to and get ready for the challenges that come with changing weather conditions as climatic patterns continue to change. El Nino is one such phenomena that has a big impact on agricultural productivity. Extreme weather conditions like flooding, droughts, and severe rainfall are brought on by El Nino. Farmers must be well-prepared for the impending El Nino rains to ensure minimal interruption to crops and livestock. The detailed instructions in this article will assist farmers in preparing for any upcoming challenges.

Always Stay Informed

Keeping up with weather and climate projections is one of the most important aspects in being ready for El Nino rains. The timing and severity of El Nino episodes can be better understood by keeping an eye on reliable meteorological data. For the purpose of making educated decisions regarding planting, harvesting, and other agricultural activities, farmers should closely monitor El Nino-related updates.

Create a Stable Drainage System

El Nino rains frequently produce torrential downpours, raising the possibility of flooding and farm waterlogging. Farmers should spend money on an effective drainage system that effectively diverts surplus water away from crops in order to reduce this risk. Ditch, channel, and drainage pipe maintenance can greatly lessen the effects of flooding on crops and soil quality.

Crop Timing and Selection

Farmers should carefully select their crops depending on their resistance to heavy rain and standing water. Some crops are more flood-resistant than others. Additionally, altering planting times might be extremely important in preventing potential rain damage. To ensure crops are established before the expected heavy rains, early planting may be advised.

Proper Soil Management

Healthy soil is more capable of overcoming the difficulties brought on by El Nino rains. By using cover crops, a good crop rotation, and less tillage, farmers can improve soil quality. Strong rainfall can promote erosion, although well-structured soil can better absorb extra moisture.

Safeguard Your livestock

El Nino rains can put livestock’s health at risk since more infections are spread by mud and standing water. Animals should have access to a dry shelter and clean water, according to farmers. Disease outbreaks during wet seasons can be prevented by routine health examination and vaccines.

Emergency Preparedness

An emergency plan is essential when dealing with erratic weather patterns. In the case of extreme weather, farmers should be ready to move quickly to protect their crops, livestock, and equipment. This could entail moving livestock to higher land, reaping crops before they are ready, or securing tools and supplies.

Despite the difficulties that El Nino rains might cause, proper planning can lessen their negative effects on agricultural activities. Farmers may better prepare for the impending El Nino rains by being knowledgeable, improving drainage systems, choosing appropriate crops, controlling soil health, and safeguarding livestock. To ensure a stable and fruitful agricultural future as climatic patterns continue to change, it will be more crucial than ever to adapt and apply these techniques.

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The food and agribusiness industry is quite large and wields so many business opportunities. In Africa, for instance, it is postulated that in the next 10 years that industry is going to become worth as much as US$1 trillion. So there is no question about how this is a hit industry for aspiring entrepreneurs. On the farming side though there are some challenges emanating from climate change. Most areas are becoming increasingly hot and rainfall is now extremely erratic. This calls upon farmers to start considering farming methods that allow them to create and regulate their own growing environments. One way to do that is through vertical farming but we will not be focusing on that today. Rather we shall be discussing about greenhouse farming as a panacea to climate change. Vegetable farming (a component of horticulture) is a very strategic farming specialization these days too. So taking the two i.e. greenhouse farming and vegetable farming and combining them makes for a very profitable business venture. In this article we delve into how you can start such a business.

For an in-depth analysis of the vegetable production, we encourage you to subscribe for our well -researched and comprehensive vegetable production guide books by visiting Farmers Portal.

Vegetable Production Guide Book

Key Requirements & Components

First and foremost it is essential to understand how a greenhouse functions. We shall just briefly explain that in layman terms for easy understanding. Greenhouses are meant to induce a certain microclimate in the enclosed growing area of the greenhouse. How does that happen? A greenhouse confines the air inside it thus barring it from interacting with the external environment. This achieved by the greenhouse cover which is move given to letting sunlight through as opposed to letting out what is emitted by the internal environment. This suggests that the most optimum microclimates for greenhouses are achieved during cold weather or seasons. Conversely, when it is hot measures must be put in place to regulate the microclimate since temperatures can become too high inside. All this means you must know and understand the thermal requirements of the various vegetables so that you know how to create the optimum environment for them.

In the light of the above you must understand that regulating the microclimate can be costly due to the specialized equipment or systems needed. As a rule of thumb there are guidelines to aid you in knowing how to handle your microclimate. Supposing your location is inland it is recommended that optimum microclimate temperature falls between 12 and 17 degrees Celsius. For those in locations in coast lands then temperatures must range from 12 to 22 degrees Celsius. So what does this mean? If you are in any of those locations and your microclimate temperatures do not fall in those ranges then you must regulate it. You would have to use cooling or heating systems and in some cases ventilation systems.

Greenhouses can be plastic or glass-based though the plastic option tends to be cheaper. There is also now a steady increased use of net screens instead of glass or plastic. In fact, when net screens are used some term them screenhouses.

It is important to note that the climate of your earmarked location plays a determinant role in how you will build the greenhouse(s). When choosing a location for the greenhouse ensure that it is well exposed to natural light meaning that there should be no shadows casting themselves on it. It is especially advised that if your location is characterized by a harsh natural climate then greenhouse farming might not be ideal. It would not be ideal from a cost perspective because you would have to install expensive equipment and systems to create the right microclimate. The availability of a reliable water source is mandatory since irrigation is crucial here. Proximity to key services such as road networks, coms infrastructure, electricity and so on – this must be in order.

Some of the common vegetable crops for greenhouse farming are tomatoes, watermelons, cucumbers, and green beans, onions amongst others. The reason why these are commonly grown is because their thermal requirements are intermediate thus making them most suited to most environments.

Make sure you have a comprehensive greenhouse farming business plan

The failure to plan is the beginning of business failure. The greenhouse farming business plan must be clear and succinct enough to give your potential partners, clients and investors an overview of what your objectives are. At the same time, it must be detailed enough to explain the operations of the business that you propose. At the very minimum you need to have the following included in your greenhouse farming business plan:

  1. The mission, vision and operational strategy
  2. Market Analysis And Customer Segmentation
  3. A business case showing that the business is financial viable and sustainable
  4. A marketing and customer care plan
  5. An organizational chart and human resource policy
  6. A three-year expansion outlook
  7. A risk and rewards Analysis

If you need greenhouse construction assistance, you can ask for  quotation today through this link  Get a quote

Greenhouse Construction

Human Capital

Scale of production and the amount of crop care required have a bearing on how many workers are required. The level of automation is also a key determinant in this regard. So your human resources needs shall vary because of these and other related factors.

Financial Capital

The financial capital element is not black and white due to the many factors at play. Generally, every entrepreneur always wants to keep costs at bay to maximize on profits. However, in greenhouse farming low costs tends to also mean low yields. Here is the thing; there are two main approaches to microclimate regulation i.e. passive or active. Passive regulation of the microclimate entails low costs because there is no sophisticated equipment or systems installed. Whereas the active approach involves such installations thus pushing costs up. If you are to grow your vegetables throughout the whole year then active microclimate regulation is the way to go. It also involves high and consistent yields and crop quality. So you really have to muse over these dynamics and choose which path you want to take. Still you can always start small and scale up steadily over time.


The vegetable market is inexhaustibly large and ever-growing. Especially if you conduct your greenhouse vegetable farming well you will realize high quality vegetables that will fetch high value and will be much sought-after. The types of clients are plenty spanning from individuals to commercial outlets such supermarkets, restaurants and the like.

This is a very technical and lengthy subject matter so you are encouraged to research more. You can also learn quite a lot from established players in this field. All the same we are confident this article will help you in big way as you endeavor to start your own greenhouse vegetable farming business.

For an in-depth digital guide books, we encourage you to subscribe for our well -researched and comprehensive crop and livestock production guide books by visiting Farmers Portal.

Digital Farm & Agriculture Guide Books
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Dairy farming is a lucrative business, providing income for many farmers, but there are some essential things you need to do before you venture into the dairy milk production business. You have to decide on the size of your dairy farming project (how many dairy cattle will you keep?); location of the milk dairy farming business, and your target market. These choices will be affected by the amount of capital you have, and the size of your target market. If you do not have a lot of capital, you can always start small and grow your milk dairy farming project overtime. You also need to carry out market research (Who are you going to sell the milk to? At what price?) and write a dairy farming business plan before you start the dairy farm project.

Comprehensive Version, Short Funding/Bank Loan Version & Automated Financial Statements

For an in-depth analysis of the dairy farming business, we encourage you to purchase our well-researched and comprehensive dairy farming business plan. We introduced the business plans after discovering that many were venturing into the dairy cattle production business without enough knowledge and understanding of how to run the dairy milk production business, how to keep the dairy cows, lack of understanding of the financial side of the business, lack of understanding of : the industry, the risks involved , costs and profitability of the business; which often leads to disastrous losses.

The Kenya Farmers dairy business plan will make it easier for you to launch and run your dairy cattle farming business successfully, fully knowing what you are going into, and what’s needed to succeed in the business. It will be easier to plan and budget as you will be aware of all the costs involved in setting up and running the milk cows farming business.

Uses Of The Dairy Farming Business Plan

The milk cows farm business plan can be used for many purposes including:

  • Raising capital from investors/friends/relatives
  • Applying for a bank loan
  • Start-up guide to launch your milk cows farming business
  • As a dairy farming business proposal
  • Assessing profitability of the dairy milk production business
  • Finding a business partner
  • Assessing the initial start-up costs so that you know how much to save
  • Manual for current business owners to help in business and strategy formulation

Contents Of The Dairy Business Plan

The dairy farming business plan include, but not limited to:

  • Marketing Strategy
  • Financial Statements (monthly cash flow projections, income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, break even analysis, payback period analysis, start-up costs, financial graphs, revenue and expenses, Bank Loan Amortization)
  • Risk Analysis
  • Industry Analysis
  • Market Analysis
  • SWOT & PEST Analysis
  • Operational Requirements (Including technical aspects of how to keep the dairy cattle, feed requirements etc)
  • Operational Strategy
  • Why some people in dairy farming business fail, so that you can avoid their mistakes
  • Ways to raise capital to start your dairy milk farm business

For an in-depth analysis of the dairy farming business, we encourage you to purchase our well -researched and comprehensive dairy farming business plan by visiting Farmers Portal.

Dairy Farming Business Plan Guide Book
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Passion fruit cultivation in can face various pest challenges that can impact the plants’ growth and productivity. Here are some common passion fruit pests in Kenya and potential remedies;


Symptoms – Distorted growth, curled leaves, and sticky residue on leaves.
Remedy – Use insecticidal soap or neem oil. Introduce natural predators like ladybugs or lacewings. Prune affected plant parts if infestation is severe.


Symptoms – Yellowing leaves, sticky residue, and a decline in plant health.
Remedy – Use insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticultural oils. Introduce natural predators like parasitic wasps or predatory beetles.


Symptoms – White, waxy clusters on stems and leaves, leading to stunted growth.
Remedy – Remove mealybugs manually if feasible. Use neem oil or insecticidal soap. Prune and dispose of severely infested plant parts.

Fruit Flies

Symptoms – Maggots in fruit, leading to fruit rot.
Remedy – Set up traps with attractants like vinegar or fruit juice. Regularly collect and destroy infested fruits. Harvest ripe fruits promptly to minimize attraction.


Symptoms – Stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and root damage.
Remedy – Use resistant cultivars if available. Rotate crops and implement good soil management practices. Apply organic soil amendments like compost or well-rotted manure.

Spider Mites

Symptoms – Fine webbing on leaves, yellowing, and stippled appearance.
Remedy – Regularly spray the undersides of leaves with water to reduce mite populations. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil. Increase humidity around the plants.


Symptoms – Young plants cut off at the base.
Remedy – Protect seedlings with collars made from cardboard or plastic. Apply biological control agents like parasitic nematodes.


Symptoms – Silvering or bronzing of leaves, distorted growth.
Remedy – Use yellow sticky traps to monitor and trap thrips. Apply neem oil or insecticidal soap.

Leaf Miners

Symptoms – White tunnels or trails on leaves.
Remedy – Remove and destroy infested leaves. Use yellow sticky traps to monitor adult leaf miners.

It’s important to note that integrated pest management (IPM) is a holistic approach that combines multiple strategies to manage pests effectively while minimizing environmental impact.

For well researched and approved Agricultural content on passion fruit production techniques, visit Farmers Portal.

Farmers Portal
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The choice of mango fruit seedling varieties is a pivotal decision that shapes the future orchard’s success. Each variety brings its unique flavor, appearance, and adaptability to specific conditions. This selection process requires careful consideration to ensure optimal yield and quality.

Start by understanding your local climate and soil conditions. Different mango varieties thrive in various environments, such as arid or tropical regions. Matching the variety to your location’s characteristics increases the chances of success.

Consider the intended purpose of the fruit. Are you seeking a sweeter variety for fresh consumption or a firmer type for processing? Knowing your market’s preferences guides your choice.

Resistance to pests and diseases is another crucial factor. Some mango varieties exhibit natural resistance, reducing the need for intensive chemical treatments.

Timing matters as well. Varieties have different flowering and fruiting seasons, affecting your orchard’s yield calendar. Selecting a mix of early, mid, and late-season varieties can ensure a steady supply.

Seek advice from local agricultural experts, nurseries, or farmers who have experience with mango cultivation. Their insights can prove invaluable in making an informed decision.

In conclusion, selecting mango fruit seedling varieties involves aligning climatic suitability, market demand, disease resistance, and timing. This meticulous process sets the stage for a diverse and thriving mango orchard, promising a bounty of flavors and experiences.

For well researched and approved Agricultural content on mango production techniques, visit Farmers Portal.

Farmers Portal
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The advantages of tissue culture banana farming in Kenya include:
  1. Increased yield: Tissue culture bananas are high-yielding, which means farmers can get more bananas per acre of land.
  2. Disease resistance: Tissue culture bananas are resistant to many of the diseases that commonly affect traditional banana crops in Kenya, such as banana bacterial wilt and Fusarium wilt.
  3. Uniformity: Tissue culture bananas are genetically identical, which means they have a uniform appearance and maturity rate. This makes harvesting and processing easier and more efficient.
  4. Early maturation: Tissue culture bananas mature earlier than traditional banana crops, which means farmers can harvest their crops and sell them earlier in the market.
  5. Higher quality: Tissue culture bananas have a better taste and texture than traditional bananas, which means they are more attractive to consumers.

For well researched and approved  content on banana production techniques, visit Farmers Portal.

Farmers Portal
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Learn about greenhouse farming business in Kenya and get started today.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

Greenhouse farming business has become a great income generator in Kenya, attracting many farmers who are looking to maximize their returns and produce crops throughout the year. This is largely due to the numerous advantages that greenhouse farming offers, such as the ability to control the growing environment and protect crops from pests and harsh weather conditions.

For well researched and approved Agricultural content on crop and livestock production techniques, visit Farmers Portal.

Farmers Portal

However, before starting a greenhouse farming business in Kenya, it is important to understand the necessary steps to ensure success. Planning, research, and execution are crucial aspects of starting a greenhouse farming business, and this manual aims to guide you through each of these steps.

II. Conduct Market Research On Greenhouse Farming Business

The first step to starting a successful greenhouse farming business in Kenya is to conduct market research. This involves identifying the demand for various crops, the market prices, and the competition in the industry. Understanding the market will help you determine the best crops to grow and the most profitable markets to sell to.

III. Determine the Type of Greenhouse

There are two main types of greenhouses used in Kenya. Wooden greenhouses are popular among small-scale farmers in Kenya because they are relatively affordable compared to metallic greenhouses. These greenhouses are made from normal untreated timber, such as bluegums, which makes them inexpensive. They can last from 6 to 7 years, which is a decent lifespan for a greenhouse. Additionally, wooden greenhouses are easy to set up, making them appealing to farmers who want to start growing crops quickly.

Wooden Greenhouse in Kenya

Metallic greenhouses, on the other hand, are more expensive compared to wooden greenhouses. They are often purchased by farmers with a bit of financial muscle. However, the higher cost is justified by their durability. Metallic greenhouses can last up to 20 years, which is much longer than wooden greenhouses. They are also more robust and offer better protection against harsh weather conditions, such as strong winds and heavy rainfall.

Metallic Greenhouse in Kenya

When choosing between a metallic and a wooden greenhouse, farmers need to consider several factors, such as the location, budget, and crop type. For instance, if a farmer is operating in an area with strong winds or heavy rainfall, a metallic greenhouse may be the best choice. However, if the farmer is operating on a tight budget, a wooden greenhouse may be the better option.

In conclusion, the choice of a greenhouse will depend on various factors, including the budget, location, and crop type. While wooden greenhouses are cheaper and easier to set up, metallic greenhouses are more durable and offer better protection against harsh weather conditions. Farmers should consider these factors before making a decision on which type of greenhouse to invest in.

IV. Select a Location For Your Greenhouse Farming Business

The success of a greenhouse also depends on its location. The location should be carefully chosen to ensure that it receives adequate sunlight and water. The greenhouse should be placed in an area that receives at least six hours of sunlight every day. This is because plants need sunlight for photosynthesis, which is essential for their growth and development. In addition to sunlight, the greenhouse should also have access to a reliable water source. This can be achieved through the installation of a drip irrigation system or a water storage tank.

Another critical factor to consider when selecting a greenhouse location is its proximity to the market. The greenhouse should be located in an area with easy access to markets, such as supermarkets or farmers’ markets. This will ensure that the crops are sold quickly and at a reasonable price. The location should also be easily accessible for transportation of the crops. This means that the greenhouse should be located near a road or any other means of transport, such as a railway station or an airport. This will make it easier for the farmer to transport the crops to the market.

Additionally, the location should be free from pests and diseases that could affect the plants. The greenhouse should be placed in an area that is not prone to pest and disease infestations. This can be achieved by conducting regular pest and disease monitoring and implementing appropriate pest and disease control measures.

In conclusion, the location of a greenhouse is crucial to its success. The location should be carefully chosen to ensure that it receives adequate sunlight, water, and easy access to markets. It should also be easily accessible for transportation of the crops and free from pests and diseases that could affect the plants. By considering these factors, farmers can select the best location for their greenhouse and ensure a successful harvest.


V. Set Up the Greenhouse

Once the type and location of the greenhouse have been selected, the next crucial step is setting it up. Setting up a greenhouse involves several steps, including preparing the land, installing the greenhouse structure, and installing the necessary equipment.

The first step in setting up a greenhouse is to prepare the land. The land should be cleared of any debris or vegetation, leveled, and prepared for planting. It is also essential to ensure that the soil is fertile and suitable for the specific crops to be grown in the greenhouse. This can be achieved through soil testing and amending the soil with the necessary nutrients.

The next step is to install the greenhouse structure. This involves erecting the frame, laying the foundation, and installing the greenhouse cover. The frame should be made of sturdy materials, such as steel or aluminum, to withstand harsh weather conditions. The foundation should also be strong and able to support the weight of the greenhouse structure.

After installing the greenhouse structure, the next step is to install the necessary equipment, such as irrigation systems, ventilation, and heating systems. Irrigation systems are essential for providing water to the plants, while ventilation and heating systems help regulate the temperature and humidity levels inside the greenhouse.

It is crucial to ensure that the greenhouse is properly constructed to provide a conducive environment for the crops. This includes ensuring that the greenhouse cover is tight and secure, that the ventilation systems are working correctly, and that the irrigation systems are delivering water efficiently to the plants.

In conclusion, setting up a greenhouse involves several crucial steps, including preparing the land, installing the greenhouse structure, and installing the necessary equipment. It is important to ensure that the greenhouse is properly constructed to provide a conducive environment for the crops to thrive. By following these steps, farmers can set up a successful greenhouse and produce high-quality crops.

VI. Choose the Right Crops to Grow

The choice of crops to grow in a greenhouse is a crucial factor that determines the success of the venture. Several factors should be considered when selecting crops to grow, including market demand, climate, location, and profitability.

In Kenya, some popular crops for greenhouse farming include tomatoes, bell peppers (green and colored), cucumbers, lettuce, and herbs. These crops are well-suited for greenhouse farming because they require a controlled environment, are high-value crops, and have a significant demand in the local market.

Tomatoes are one of the most popular crops grown in greenhouses in Kenya. They are high-yielding, have a short growth cycle, and have a high demand in the local market. Bell peppers, both green and colored, are also popular crops for greenhouse farming in Kenya. They are high-value crops and are in high demand in the local market, especially among high-end supermarkets and hotels.

Cucumbers are another popular crop for greenhouse farming in Kenya. They are high-yielding and have a significant demand in the local market. Additionally, they can be grown year-round, which makes them an attractive option for farmers.

Apart from vegetables and herbs, roses are also grown in greenhouses in Kenya for export. Kenya is a leading exporter of roses globally, and greenhouse farming has played a significant role in the growth of the rose industry in the country. Roses grown in greenhouses are of high quality and have a longer vase life, which makes them more attractive to international buyers.

In conclusion, the choice of crops to grow in a greenhouse depends on several factors, such as market demand, climate, location, and profitability. Tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, herbs, and roses are some of the popular crops grown in greenhouses in Kenya. By choosing suitable crops and adopting best practices in greenhouse farming, farmers can maximize their yields and profitability.

VII. Employ Skilled Labor For Greenhouse Management

The success of a greenhouse farming operation is highly dependent on the skills and experience of the labor force. The tasks involved in managing and maintaining a greenhouse require a high level of technical knowledge and expertise, and mistakes or oversights can lead to significant losses in crop yield and quality.

For instance, watering crops in a greenhouse requires careful monitoring of moisture levels and ensuring that the plants receive the appropriate amount of water at the right times. Over or under watering can lead to stunted growth or root rot, which can significantly reduce crop yield.

Pruning is another critical task that requires skilled labor. Proper pruning techniques help to ensure that plants grow and produce in an optimal way, by removing dead or damaged parts, shaping the plant and directing its growth. A skilled pruner will be able to identify and remove diseased or damaged parts of a plant, reducing the spread of pests or diseases.

Pest control is also a major concern in greenhouse farming. Pests can quickly spread and destroy crops if not properly managed. Skilled laborers can identify and address pest issues before they become significant problems. This can involve the use of both chemical and non-chemical pest control methods, depending on the specific pest and the crops being grown.

In addition to technical knowledge and expertise, experience working in a greenhouse is also essential. Greenhouses have their unique environment and conditions, and it takes time for workers to get accustomed to working within this environment. Experienced laborers can anticipate and quickly respond to issues that may arise, reducing the risk of crop loss and maximizing yield.

In conclusion, hiring skilled and experienced labor is crucial for the success of a greenhouse farming operation. It’s essential to seek out skilled agronomists who have not only the necessary qualifications but also practical experience working in a greenhouse environment. This will ensure that you have a highly effective and efficient labor force that can help to maximize crop yield and quality.

VIII. Implement a Marketing Strategy For Produce

Marketing is an essential aspect of greenhouse farming that can significantly impact the success of the business. After growing the crops, it’s crucial to sell them to generate revenue and profits. A solid marketing strategy is necessary to reach potential customers and increase sales.

One option is to sell the crops to local markets, where there is a high demand for fresh produce. This approach can be effective for small-scale greenhouse farmers who can quickly deliver their produce to nearby markets. By selling directly to consumers, farmers can also establish personal connections with their customers, which can help to build brand loyalty.

Another option is to sell to supermarkets and grocery stores, which require a steady supply of high-quality produce. To sell to these establishments, farmers need to ensure that their products meet the required standards in terms of quality, packaging, and labeling. This can include obtaining certifications such as GlobalGAP, which demonstrate compliance with internationally recognized standards for food safety and quality.

Exporting to other countries is also an option for greenhouse farmers who are interested in tapping into international markets. Kenya is known for exporting high-quality flowers, vegetables, and fruits to markets in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. To export crops, farmers need to comply with the regulations and requirements of the target market, including packaging and labeling requirements, phytosanitary regulations, and other import requirements.

Building a strong brand and reputation is also crucial for the success of a greenhouse farming operation. This can be achieved by consistently delivering high-quality produce, offering excellent customer service, and effectively promoting the business through advertising and social media. A strong brand and reputation can help to attract loyal customers, increase sales, and position the business for long-term success.

In conclusion, developing a solid marketing strategy is crucial for the success of a greenhouse farming operation. This involves identifying potential markets, complying with regulations, building a strong brand and reputation, and delivering high-quality produce to customers. By effectively marketing their products, greenhouse farmers can maximize their profits, grow their businesses, and contribute to the development of the agriculture sector in Kenya.

IX. Conclusion

Starting a successful greenhouse farming business in Kenya requires careful planning, research, and execution. By following the steps outlined in this manual, you can increase your chances of success in the industry. Remember to conduct market research, choose the right type of greenhouse, select a suitable location, choose the right crops, employ skilled labor, and implement a marketing strategy. With hard work and dedication, your greenhouse farming business can be a profitable venture in Kenya.

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Plant stress is a state where the plant is growing under non-ideal growth conditions that increase the demand made upon it. The effects of stress can lead to deficiencies in growth conditions, crop yields, permanent damage or death if the stress exceeds the plant tolerance limits. Plant stress can come in different forms and durations. Some plant stressors are naturally occurring; like drought and wind while others may be as a result of over irrigation or root disturbances.

Plant stress measurement is the quantification of environmental effects on the plant health. When plants are subjected to less than ideal growing conditions, they are considered to be under stress. Stress factors can affect growth, survival and crop yields. Plant stress research looks at the response of plants to limitations and excesses of the main abiotic factors such as light, water, temperature and nutrients and of other stress factors that are important in particular situations e.g. pests, pathogens or pollutants.

Categories of plant stress factors

  1. Abiotic factors and
  2. Biotic factors.

Biotic stresses

They include:

  1. Pathogens which cause diseases such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, and nematodes. Pathogens can affect translocation of water and nutrients through the vascular system of the host plant. This can affect aerial parts of the plant or account for poor uptake of nutrients and water due to diseased roots. Consequentially sluggish translocation through the vascular system will in itself lead to wilting and chlorosis, and possibly necrosis, ‘upstream’ of the disease location. Most, if not all, infectious diseases increase respiration, this being a general reaction of the plant to most types of stress. Insects which feed on plants may cause problems by damaging plant tissues which are essential for plant growth. Most of them feed on the photosynthetic food substrate of the plant by sucking the cell sap causing plant stress.
  2. Weeds that compete and interfere with plant production by competing with the nutrient uptake and water. This eventually leads to nutrient deficiency in plants.

Abiotic stresses

They are the negative impact of non-living factors on crops and animals; they are environmental rather than biological. The non-living variable must influence the environment beyond its normal range of variation to adversely affect the population performance or individual physiology of any plant in a significant way.

They include:

  1. Water stress:  A plant requires a certain amount of water for optimal growth; too much water can cause plant cells to swell and burst, whereas too little water can lead to desiccation.
  2. Drought, Sunlight or Wind Damage: Besides the direct effects of drought, a plant under stress becomes more susceptible to insect and disease problems that can attack a weakened plant. The time required for drought injury to occur depends on the water-holding capacity of the soil, environmental conditions, stage of plant growth, and plant species.
  3. Soil Compaction:  Due to the increase in bulk density, the porosity of soil decreases. Large pores called macro pores which are essential for water and air movement in the soil, are primarily affected by soil compaction. Research has suggested that most plant roots need more than 10 percent air-filled porosity to thrive for water and mineral absorption. Failure to do so makes them stunted.
  4. Nutrient deficiencies and excesses: Nutrient deficiencies cause symptoms such as leaf yellowing or browning, sometimes in distinctive patterns. This may be accompanied by stunted growth and poor flowering or fruiting. Excess nutrients may become toxic for the plant. These conditions may lead to plant death if not corrected in time.

Tomato Magnesium Deficiency

  1. Salinity and Heavy Metals: Salts in the soil water may inhibit plant growth for two reasons. Firstly, the presence of salt in the soil solution reduces the ability of the plant to take up water, and this in turn leads to a reduction in the growth rate.
  2. Improper Soil pH: Soil pH affects the availability of plant nutrients. Nutrients are most available to plants in the optimum 5.5 to 7.0 range.
  3. Temperature Stresses: Too high or too low temperatures can negatively impact a plants growth and lifespan. Cold weather may affect the amount and rate of uptake of water and nutrients and hot weather can affect the permeability of plant membranes.

A host of abiotic and biotic stressors can work for causing a perfect storm of catastrophic losses. Abiotic stress is the most harmful factor concerning the growth and productivity of crops worldwide. Research has also shown that abiotic stressors are at their most harmful when they occur together, in combinations.

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Step 1: Connect Tubing to Water Source

Use an outdoor faucet or water valve to connect the water source to the main water line tubing. Connect the two with a backflow preventer valve to stop contaminated water from leaking back into the initial water source.

Note: In nearly all cases, an anti-siphon valve (a combination valve and backflow preventer) is recommended for most home irrigation systems. However, there are strict local codes to follow when using these valves. Check your local code for installation guidelines before you begin.

Step 2: Distribute Tubing Line and Connect Emitters

Once the water source is connected to the main water distribution line, it is time to lay the tubing in accordance with your garden layout.

Roll the tubing out around the garden beds, laying the line flush but not too taut. Once the tubing is in place, use a punch tool to make a hole in the tubing line wherever an emitter goes. In most cases, position your emitters so they are close to the root zone of each plant. To punch the holes, use boiling water or a hair dryer to heat the tube, which makes it more pliable.

Once you have the tubing laid out and your emitter holes punched, secure the tubing into the ground with tubing stakes (which should be the same size or just slightly larger than the tubing circumference).

Step 3: Test the System

Before you turn on the system and bask in the glory of all your hard work, you may want to make some adjustments. Before closing the tubing with clamps, leave all of the tube ends open to test the system. Turn on the water and allow it to run freely for a few minutes to flush out any dirt or debris. Once you see the system runs properly, close the tubing with an end cap.

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If you are ready to get started in poultry farming in Kenya, these are the basic requirements you need to set up your farm.

LAND: The no 1 thing you need to get right in poultry farming in Kenya is land. A plot of land of 120 x 60 square meters is okay for setting up a medium scale poultry farm in Kenya, at least for a start. Once you have land that is big enough for your farm set up, almost half of your needs have been taken care of. Land is the hardest and the most expensive part of poultry business in Kenya.

Look for land in a rural area or in farms. There you will get lands cheaper, stays out of trouble and do your production there, while your products will be transported to the urban area for sale. It will be good if you can get your own poultry farm land and build a permanent farm rather than to rent. When you rent, the owner might decide to send you packing and relocating always comes with huge cost.

CHICKEN CAGE: This is the second most important part of your chicken farming in Kenya set up and it is not as expensive as buying or acquiring land. There are so many ways you can build the birds’ house but make sure that the sizes of the building is spacious enough for the chicken to run around. The house should be constructed in a way that you will be able to control the ventilation and air movement.

When planning out your chicken house, always remember that space is very important. Don’t compromise on this to avoid frequent loss of your birds through suffocation and contamination.

Day Old Chicks: This is where the chicken farming in Kenya business starts. Buy chicks from chicken hatchery that mainly deals with the supplying of different species of day-old chickens. It’s better to buy from the hatchery, Chicken hatcheries usually produce good quality of day old chicks through the use of incubators. Raising hens from baby chicks requires you to check on them often during the first few weeks (Seven to nine weeks). It’s really fun to watch them turn from downy, fluffy little balls into feathered-out, gawky adolescent pullets.

In chicken farming in Kenya, a chick does not have the ability to maintain its own body temperature without an external source of heat. Below are the outlines of taking care of chicks after you have gotten your chick, once those baby balls of fluff arrive home, you’ll want to have everything ready for them to settle into their brooder and stay warm and happy.

Plan to check on them at least five times a day during the first couple of weeks of life, and less after that. You’ll need to monitor their temperature, keep them safe from pets, predators and over handling by children, keep their feed and water clean.
Make sure your baby chicks have everything they’ll need on the first day home. As they get older, you will use different feeders, but for the first week or two, plastic chick feeders like the ones you see above will make life a lot easier for you.
Light must be available at all time in your chicken farming in Kenya set up to keep the chickens warm, especially during the rainy season. Look for reliable source of power to supply your hen’s house with heat and light.
Chicks love to stomp in their feed, tip it over, and generally make a mess. They’re also not terribly smart and can eat quite a lot of shavings or bedding while they pick spilled feed off the floor. These feeders are perfect. They’re at the right height when placed on the brooder floor.

Caring for Your Growing Chickens

After the baby chick stage passes, you’ll have young pullets and cockerels and, once they turn one year old, hens and roosters. Some basic daily chores in this stage of poultry farming in Kenya involves keeping their food and water fresh and collecting eggs is the basis of ongoing chicken care, but you’ll want to make sure they’re protected from predators and stay healthy as well.

NOTE: Most layers in chicken farming in Kenya will start laying eggs the moment they are 18 weeks old but some wait till they are about 22 weeks old. Whichever way, layers in poultry farming in Kenya is considered the most lucrative of all poultry farming in Kenya ventures because two things are achieved from layers, they lay eggs which fetch good money in the market, and are equally sold for the meat.

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