“Is green maize farming profitable?”
If you’ve ever asked yourself this question you’ve come to the right place.
I will tell you why it makes green maize farming more profit and growing than dry maize.
What is Green Maize Farming? You May ask.
This question is important to answer as…
Not everyone is aware of green maize farming in Kenya.
That’s why we have to start this topic from the very beginning.
This type of maize farming is a little different compared to ordinary maize farming.
“How?” You may ask.
The farmer harvests and sells the maize while it is at the mature green stage instead of the dry stage that’s used for grinding flour.
Why Green Maize Farming Makes Financial Sense.
Green maize is highly popular in Kenya.
Thousands of people cook it together with beans to produce a popular meal known as githeri. Others roast it then eat it “mahindi choma.”
The popularity of Githeri and roast maize make green maize have a high market demand throughout the year.
In fact, marketing experts estimate that Nairobians consume 100+tons of green maize every week. This huge green maize demand creates massive opportunity for green maize farmers!
So if you are divided between growing green maize or not… don’t wait anymore.
You spend 50 % less Growing Green Maize Rather Than Dry Maize
Under ordinary maize growing, a farmer has to
- Plant the seed,
- Top dress
- Fertilize the maize and do pest control,
- Harvest the maize,
- Dry it until it reaches the right moisture content,
- Store it in gunny bags as he or she waits for customers.
All these maize production steps need time and money.
However, when it comes to green maize farming you eliminate the last 3 steps, which happen to be the most time consuming, tiresome and expensive.
Eliminating those last 3 steps makes a farmer cut his maize farming costs by up to 50% while increasing his profit.
Green maize as a huge market value than dry maize.
Let me explain:
One green maize cob sells for KES 5-10 at the farm.
That price is very good considering an acre of maize can produce 45,000-100,000 cobs of maize.
So when you multiply the number of cobs times the price per cob, suddenly green maize farming becomes a very attractive investment.
On the other hand, a bag of dry maize is priced at 2,500-2,800 shillings. Assuming that a farmer gets 30 bags per acre, this translates to gross sales of between KES 75,000 to 84,000.
Year Round Demand for Green Maize in Kenya Makes it a Sustainable Business.
Let’s not be blind to the truth.
There’s usually a slump in the price of green maize during maize harvest season.
However, this slump doesn’t last for long.
In fact, green maize prices are stable for 8 out of 12 months, a fact which makes green maize farming a very lucrative venture.
So don’t waste time in farm production that doesn’t pay.
What You Need to Start Green Maize Farming in Kenya
Here is what you require as a green maize farmer:
- Land to hire or lease if you don’t own any
- Till the Land, first harrow, and second harrow
- Hire a planting machine
- Weeding by laborers or control through herbicides.
- Spraying by tractor for pests and diseases
- Harvesting by hand or machine
- Transporting the maize from the farm to the market
- Have a storage facility
A table showing the cost of some farm operations and their costs as at the time of writing this post.
They are subject to change because of inflation:
Cost in Kenya shillings per acre
Weeding by tractor spraying (this is what you will pay the owner of the tractor)
3,000(does not include the cost of herbicides and water)
Spraying pests and disease using a tractor
3,000(does not include the cost of pesticide/fungicide and water)
Harvesting by hand
Transporting produce to the market
Total cost of input per acre
69,500 (approximate cost)
Acreage Required to Break-Even in Green Maize Farming
The ideal acreage if you intend to go commercial is 5 plus acres. To break even, you must have a minimum of 3 acres.
Commercial maize farming gets juicier as the cost of inputs comes down considerably with increased acreage.
If you are planting 100 acres and over, the best option is to buy a second hand tractor valued at 800,000-1,000,000 shillings.
What to Consider When Leasing Land for Green Maize Farming
Lease the land for a reasonable period for example 3-4 years.
This will allow you to recoup your investments when the crop fails or the weather is not acting as expected.
You need to lease land in a secure area without many environmental challenges and communication that may pose high management and labor costs.
Avoid leasing land near wildlife sanctuaries, game parks and transit corridors as most of your production will be lost to them.
Securing one parcel of land that is over 30 acres is difficult and you are prone to fraudsters.
You need to conduct due diligence to and it’s important that you consult a lawyer to advice you on the terms of the lease.
Supervison of Farm Operations
You need to employ a trustworthy person to supervise the farm operations if you are operating from far.
The employee should be one who understands when and how to plough, harrow, and conduct any other essential operations, without these, you are liable to huge losses.
Strategies for Reducing Loss
A farmer engaging in this type of farming can get losses in the following manner;
When the maize of the entire farm matures at the same time, say 100 acres- this will lead to surplus production.
This affects supply and demand leading to low prices being offered for the produce.
This can be solved by planting different portions of the farm with early maturing, middle maturing and late maturing varieties.
Another reason that may lead to losses is when the crop in a single field does not have uniform growth or maturity. The solution for this is to buy certified seed from a credible dealer.
Green Maize farming is a viable agricultural activity.
I highly recommend that you go for it. What are your thoughts on this?
Share them in the comment section below.
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