According to the internet business directory, an agribusiness is a business that earns most or all of its revenues from agriculture. An agribusiness tends to be a large-scale business operation and may include farming, processing and manufacturing and/or the packaging and distribution of agricultural products. You can set up your agribusiness in a small way and scale up gradually. Starting small enables you to learn the details and avoid costly errors.
Kenya’s economy is essentially still agri-based and looking around almost every single home in rural Kenya and many urban homes, there is some sort of agriculture going on. Food is and will always be in demand all over the world. Agribusiness is therefore one of the biggest business ideas in Kenya at the moment. You can never go wrong if you get into agriculture with the aim of selling your products.
Agribusiness is very wide and involves very many activities. You can select any of the sections below and concentrate on it. This business requires enough space, but the space will also depend on which section you choose to concentrate on. On average even 1/8 acre or 1/4 acre can be maximized to give good returns.
If you don’t own any land, leasing is still an option. Many have done this and are doing this already. The cost will depend on location and size of the land.
Dairy and Meat
This involves keeping cows, goats, sheep etc for milk and meat. If you visit areas such as ukambani, you can buy goats, cows and sheep at lower prices, keep them for some months and sell them off for meat. On very bad days such as during drought, goats ( kids) can sell as low as Ksh3,000 in the interior areas. In other areas such as Kiambu or Nairobi, cows and goats will go for much higher prices
Good and productive dairy cows can be very expensive. Top grades can cost as much as Ksh100,000 and above. Some of these cows can produce as much as 30 litres a day.
Feed and house these animals as recommended in order to reap maximum benefits. Ensure you keep updated with information on livestock diseases and vaccinate as required. Plenty of clean water is important for your livestock, as well as animal feed. If you have a large piece of land, goats can be left to roam around and feed on shrubs while cows can graze around the land. If land space is limited, you can still zero graze by providing the animal feed to the animals within your compound. If space allows, plant nappier grass and supplement with vitamins and salts from agrovets.
Milk from the cows can be sold at the farm or supplied on order. Your milk production will depend on the type of cows you have and how you feed and house them. Visit neighbours, hotels, institutions such as schools, colleges and hospitals to market your milk. Depending on the area where you are located and those you sell to, you can set your fresh milk price at between Ksh30 – Ksh45 per litre.
The milk can also be used to make yoghurt by adding food colours and flavours. They are mixed, heated and then cooled. This can add extra income to your kitty. For details of how this can be done, check with dairy experts or visit other successful dairy farmers.
A good idea is to visit some successful dairy farmers around you and learn all the tricks in dairy farming before you start.
This involves the raising of chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese for meat or eggs. Poultry farming requires a lot of work, attention to details and commitment to realise good returns. The most common bird rared for meat and eggs in Kenya is the chicken.
Some chickens can gain weight of up to 3Kg – 4kg when mature and can go for as much as Ksh400 – Ksh450 while some breeds can fetch as much as Ksh800 – ksh900. Come Christmas time, you can get as much as Ksh1,000 per bird.
Kenchic, Muguku, KARI and others sell chicken of various types that you can start with. Visit them to find out more. They also provide some insights into poultry farming. Just like cows, chicken need special attention when it comes to vaccination, feeding and housing. If you take these for granted, all your birds could be wiped out. Your birds will also need clean water in plenty.
You can hatch eggs and sell young chicks to other farmers at various prices ranging from Ksh100 – Ksh150 while some eggs can go for Ksh20 each.
Visit neighbours, schools, hotels and restaurants around you to market your agribusiness. Eggs and chicken meat are in demand everywhere, what will matter is how you price the products. Research on market prices around your farm and set your prices correctly.
Planting crops is another idea that can fetch good money. Unlike dairy and poultry, planting crops will require much bigger land. You have options of irrigating, if you are in a dry area, or waiting for rain if you are in an area that receives enough and reliable rain all year round.
Onions, maize, beans, different types of vegetables and other cereals are in demand everywhere. Choose one or two crops that will do well in the area where you are located and concentrate on it.
It is very important to learn more about prices, market availability and the variety or type of crop to plant. You should research on these factors before you embark on planting, otherwise you may end up planting crops that do not have ready markets.
If you choose to irrigate, you can use drip irrigation or if you have enough water, you can use a sprinkler or just hose pipes. If you depend on rain, timing your planting with the seasons is very important. This means you should study the weather patterns in the area before planting. Don’t plant when you are supposed to be harvesting.
Agriculture as a business needs various skills to be fully successful. In some occasions, you may need to pay for some of these skills, and learn some, if not all. Prices of agricultural produce keep fluctuation meaning that as an agribusiness person, you have a duty to keep up to date with the prices of various commodities.
To further improve your agribusiness venture, consider using modern methods such as use of milking machines, using hatcheries, fertilizer, greenhouses, mechanization etc. to boost your returns.
Posted on Business Kenya