I saw capsicums growing on a friend’s farm. After further consultation, I decided to grow them myself, and this is what I learned.
Capsicums are also known as pili pili hoho. They come in green, yellow, and red colours and be found in all mama mboga kibandas. All households in Kenya use capsicums as food ingredients or salad toppings. They have numerous health benefits and when cooked with meat they taste amazing.
The thing is, farming has let down so many people. Myself included. So have I decided to only write about crops that have worked for me. In this obvious case, I am giving the Capsicum crop my time. It has never disappointed me. I hope our friendship continues.
Capsicum Storage Ability
What I like about capsicums is their ability to endure storage after harvesting. This is a major problem when it comes to growing vegetables as a business. Other vegetables such as managu or sukuma wiki, require you to sell within a day or experience rejection from buyers.
When you experience sale delays with your crop, all you have to do is find a cool shed, place it inside and chill like a boss. I once had transport hiccups and ended up storing my capsicums for 3 days. When I took them to the market they were still okay and I fetched good money from them.
Capsicums can be grown in greenhouses or outdoors in Kenya, depending on the variety. If you have a small piece of land- smaller than an eighth of an acre then you should put up a greenhouse.
The red and yellow capsicum varieties are the most profitable. The green capsicum variety is more common and fetches a slightly lower price than the colourful ones.
How much you can earn from Capsicum Farming
If you have a small piece of land… let’s say, 1/4 acre then you can easily get Ksh 4,000 – Ksh 12,000 per week from capsicums. The prices per kg vary every year between Ksh 20 per kg – Ksh 60 per kg. 1/4 acre will give you 200 Kilos per week.
Your first harvest will be lower during the first month of harvesting. The capsicum yield increases as you continue harvesting. Harvesting steadies after the fourth month.
From my analysis: Dig a borehole, install an irrigation system on your farm and start transplanting capsicum seedlings as early as January if you want to get the higher price of Ksh 60 per kilo. You will start harvesting 2 months later when everyone else has run out of water. The high price will last till July-August then it will go down because guys who grew capsicums during the rainy season will start harvesting. Demand supply manenos.
The following income can be realized if you follow all the steps required in capsicum farming, such as:
- Testing your soil before planting.
- Digging or drilling a borehole to secure water.
- Installation of a drip irrigation system. I love drip irrigation because it saves water, which is normally scarce during the dry season. Sprinklers waste a lot of water. They work best for guys near rivers and dams.
- Grow capsicums on raised beds to help in drainage and root formation. Raised beds have loose soils which help the capsicum roots to navigate and tap nutrients easily.
- Apply manure and foliar routinely to help your plants grow vigorously.
- Pests and diseases will try and bring you down so find the best ways how to keep your farm healthy. Use organic ways if possible to fight off pests. Remember, only grow what you can eat. Do not put other people’s lives in danger in your pursuit of making a profit.
Capsicum farming is just one of the many crops that can be grown in Kenya. It’s reliable and easy to grow. It has a good storage quality that can give you time as you look for the market. It has a high demand and will fetch you good money. The local market loves green medium-sized capsicums. If you have coloured capsicums your income will be even better.