Secrets from tomato man with 6,000 plants
Two of his employees are busy harvesting ripe fruits and putting them in crates, before ferrying them out of the greenhouse for grading.
“I planted 70 acres of wheat and made some little profit and I was encouraged to increase the acreage to 150 acres only to burnt my fingers. I gave up altogether.”
Before going into tomato farming, Rono visited a number of farmers in Kajiado County to get tips on the agribusiness.
“Most of the greenhouses I saw during the trip were constructed using metal bars, but I chose to use timber and wooden poles in my unit as they are cheap and locally available,” Rono says.
“Extension officers are hard to come by these sides, so I relied on the Internet to get information on construction of greenhouses, planting, diseases and pests.”
It took 21 days before seedlings were ready for transplanting. He planted them at a spacing of 60cm from plant to plant and 50cm from line to line. The crop matured in 60 days.
“The second structure cost me more than the first one as it was slightly larger and the cost of materials and transport had risen. Though I saved money which would have gone to a water pump, the same was gobbled up by construction costs,” Mr Rono said.
As he currently harvests tomatoes in his second greenhouse, in the first they are at the fruiting stage.
Some of the pests he has grappled with include white flies has but he has been able to control them.
He adds farmers who have interest in venturing into greenhouse farming should bear in mind that it is not a part-time job as they should be hands on to ensure the best agricultural practices are applied.