How to start a profitable Vegetable Farming business in 2021 and beyond
Local Vegetable Farming business is quite simple to startup and could earn you not less than $50,000 per acre.
Moris and Abigail run Vegetable Farms located in a suburb near Uganda capital Kampala. They are growing high-quality organic vegetables for high-end restaurants in Kampala Suburb.
Abigail is a Computer Engineering graduate and her business partner Moris but they started some idea of vegetable farming, they began this on a small scale just to give them something to do and pass the time.
They did not realize that there was no organic herb farm in the area, certified organic. So they ventured out to a couple of people to see if it would benefit or profit by word of mouth they started getting customers and restaurants calling every day.
They soon realize their vegetable farming business could not do year-round, even in Uganda (The pearl of Africa) if you want to grow year-round, you are going to need a greenhouse. Moris gives some tips on how to build one economically. Commercially bought greenhouses are extremely expensive.
For small scale and medium scale farms you can probably build your own greenhouse using treated wood driven into the ground and fence railing. We did it for a fraction of the cost.
The large greenhouses cost $3,000 – $6,000 dollars, if we had bought it all new wood maybe $1,200 at the most, the only thing we did not skimp on was the plastic. The plastic is a greenhouse grade the stuff you buy at hardware stores will degrade in 1 year and break. This will last 4 to 7 years.
One of the simple trick to startup a profitable vegetable farming business is the ability to actually grow your own worms. All of their cuttings and waste Paper, culled peppers of plants are not for sale instead they’re added in their worm bins.
The worms will break down all this material. It takes about 3 weeks to go from what’s first applied, to useable worm castings. Worm castings are one of the best innovative ways to add Organic matter to the mix.
Once you combine it, it becomes a great medium for raised beds or even to apply to a growing medium. You use a shaker made out of wood and screen wire to separate the worms from the castings. Once shaken, all the castings drop to the bottom and then you have a product to use in the nursery.
The worm castings are combined with peat moss with the peat moss and the castings together to create the growing medium which is then taken and put it in the cups with small holes drilled in the bottom for drainage and will fill hundreds of these up and put the seeds in it.
This takes about 2 weeks and to get plants out. Two of the main products that can be used as organic growers especially for bugs and fungus, fungicide are neem oil it’s used by most organic growers neem oil comes from the neem tree it’s applied using water as its carrier.
The great thing about it is once it is coated on a plant it produces a covering that is bad tasting to most insects. It is a fungicide to prevent tamping off or any other fungus disease on the plant.
Our strategy has been engagements with farmers in different areas and finding out what they are selling what they are not selling, we would also go to chefs that are in those areas look at food co-ops, look at what their need is. Look at what they have too much of and what they are really in need of and that way maybe you can have a niche in the market that nobody else has.
Moris and Abigial now earns 80% of their revenues from the vegetable farming business alone. they focus on some unique vegetables and flowers to supplement her income.
The bitter melon has been a really good niche market it sells main to the Asian community in Uganda. There are lots of different names for it it’s a very bitter, beautiful fruit and it is in the gourd family. It is so easy to grow, you just got to knock the stink bugs off occasionally.
Abigail also gives some advice on how to self-pollenate your vegetables that grow in a greenhouse. Take the electric tooth brush, put it on the stem, vibrate the little flowers to get the pollen to knock back in there tomatoes are self pollinating, they do not need a flower of another tomato so you can just do it yourself when the bees are less active when you are growing in a high tunnel, to get them to create a tomato.
She shares some advice about using high beds and grows bags to make your life easier and save some money. ‘I made these beds because I am getting older and I don’t feel like bending down in the dirt’.
So I can be at this height to harvest and the plant also I can fit more in the bed then I can in rows in the garden because I don’t have to have walking rows in my raised beds Plus I have better drainage, better control, and better control of the insects. and it is just 100% easier for me than being in the ground.
It is much more profitable to start your plants out from seeds. Abigail explains how she has been able to earn a living from vegetable farming. She start out with seeds in plug trays, and then from the plug trays then move them up to a 4-inch pot once they are rooted in a 4-inch pot, we take them out into the garden bed and plant them out for the season and grow them out that way.
She shares one last piece of advice for those intending to start a vegetable farming business, one way to make good money by keeping it simple. Well cut flowers are very profitable and so easy to grow there are so many beautiful zinnia seeds that are geared for farmer market farmer people growing Sunflowers, zinnias, beautiful cut flowers, long-lasting They sell out first thing at the market, if you start at 8 am, by 10:00 you will be sold out.