From the look on her face you can tell with no doubt that Jane Wangechi a doctor by profession. The 27 years old’s life has indeed turned around. This is one of the many successful comprehensive farming stories/interview purposely for people who are interested in greenhouse farming.
Q: How did you come up with the idea of greenhouse farming?
JW: I am a graduate from Nairobi university a doctor by profession, since childhood i loved farming, when we visited our grand parents i could go to their garden and started weeding. When i joined Nairobi university, i saved some money for keeping cows for milk at our family garden though it i never got the profits that i was expecting. In 2013 i did my own research about the much said greenhouse farming and decided to venture into green house farming.
Q: Tell us the costs you incurred if you don’t mind.
JW: I spent around Ksh 600,000 i had in my savings to engage a professional to construct four greenhouses in our family far, all of them were 8m by 30m. One greenhouse was costing Ksh150,000 which included everything from drip pipes, installations etc. but had to purchase the seeds and labor for planting.
Q: Tell us about the big break
JW: The returns were just amazing, i was just shocked. For the 4 greenhouses i harvested my first bunch of tomatoes within 78 days. I harvested a total of 9300kgs and sold each kg at Ksh108, that’s translates on average 2,325 kgs per green house, In total Ksh1,004,000. I thank God i was lucky there was no many pests to interfere with my tomatoes generally it was a good period for me.The reason why i attained this figure i think its because there was insufficient tomatoes in the market.
Q: How much do you make now considering the first months you made such huge margins
JW. In good months i make Ksh 1.2M, but due to pests and maybe market saturation, prices fluctuate sometimes though not all the times i make an average of Ksh950,000, and am not complaining.
Q: After getting this break through what was your next move?
JW: I had to quit my job to concentrate on my farming business. I love what i do.
Q: How many employees do you have ?
JW: I Have 3 permanent employees that are involved in the day to day running of the farm and when the job increases i usually hire casuals.
Q: Which type of tomatoes do you plant in your greenhouse.
JW: I usually plant two types Anna F1 and Tylka F1
Q: Greenhouse farmers usually combine different horticulture’s in their greenhouses, do you also do that?
JW: I have heard of those ideas am yet to try them, for now am satisfied in tomatoes farming.
Q: Being barely 30 and having all this money what challenges do you face?
JW: I have never been carried away by money, lets just say it depends with one principals, and this whats have made me overcome so many challenges.
Q: Many people may think its because you had a large capital to start with that’s why you have made it this far.
JW: That’s where they get it all wrong, its not about money its about passion, its about determination, its about making it happen and with all this, money will prevail itself in one way or another. One can start with one greenhouse and keep on growing, its not a must they start with four greenhouses.
Q: With so much stock do you manage to dispose all of it? and whom do you sell it to
JW: I have a network of customers from Nairobi, Mombasa and Nakuru who comes to get the tomatoes from my greenhouse, retailers and my neighbors as well. Luckily i manage to sell all my tomatoes.
Q: What advise can you offer to a farmer who is aspiring to be successful like you are in greenhouse farming?
JW: First of all many people visit me and ask me for advises, to someone out there who want to make it in greenhouse farming i can tell them the same way i usually tell the others its about determination, it doesn’t how much you have to start with, start small with one greenhouse and the rest will set itself in motion.