Mastering market glut to succeed in cabbage farming

Mastering market glut to succeed in cabbage farming

By Steven Mulanda

Cabbage farming is a venture that many people engage in, because they are easy to grow and also they are good alternative for crop rotation. But before getting into this farming, market glut should be mastered well to avoid inquiring loss.

Market glut, usually occurs due to planting the same crop and harvesting at the same time. Currently in Nyandarua County and other areas producing cabbages, there is overproduction of the crop, with no market to sell and many farmers have resorted to feeding their cattle with the produce while lot others are going to waste. The price of cabbages has plummeted to very low levels denting the hope of those farmers who already have the crop for sale. This has been occasioned by good climate experienced; with the country receiving relatively good rainfall and invasion of more people into farming during the Covid -19 pandemic to raise some cash for sustenance.

Peter Karugu Njoroge a cabbage farmer in Kipipiri Nyandarua County seems to have mastered the market very well. Before planting his cabbages, he does a feasibility study of the market not to fall prey to market uncertainties. His land is appealing to the eyes with luscious 50,000 heads of cabbage growing; two months shy away from reaching the market. His crop is well tended, with 5 farmhands weeding to keep away weeds that can act as alternate host to pests and diseases. He has planted Taurus Fi, Tycoon Fi and Gloria Fi cabbage varieties. When planting these varieties, a friend of his told him the advantages of the varieties and their compatibility with his growing zone. He reveals that he buys his own seeds which he propagates for his own planting.

Before embarking into farming, Peter had literally laid his hands on almost everything to uplift his life severely burning his fingers but not deterred to lose hope. From touting in Nairobi, to construction, transport and logistics, being employed in the civil service and being laid off, real estate adventures of selling properties and many other more. It is while in real estate where he got capital and bought a 5-acre piece of land in his rural home a lorry for ferrying produce.

“This is called ‘Ukulima Biashara’ we don’t just farm; we farm to make money. I am hoping in the next few days, there will be less cabbages produced, and I will be supplying the market. I say so because the festive season is fast approaching and mark you schools are to be re-opened in January going by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s word; they will also need food. For my case if push comes to shove and the prices will be say Ksh 20 per head of cabbage, but the prices will be slightly higher than this I know for a fact. Calculate with the number of heads I have in the farm, isn’t it some good money worthy having?” he joyfully asked.

His inspiration to farming is drawn from the immediate Equity Bank Chairman, Mr. Peter Munga whom one day he watched on television. He was highlighting to the media his journey in poultry farming and how rewarding it is. Munga was encouraging more young people to embrace farming as an agribusiness venture to economically uplift themselves.

This motivated him to buy land and when the time came for him to pursue farming as a career, he was in a challenge, the land he had bought was not close to a reliable source of water and this was the beginning of another nightmare. With the vagaries of climate change, he could not rely on rain-fed water for cultivation. “I had to begin searching for another piece of land to lease but was doing it cautiously; one that is close to a river as well near a passable road. You can find a good land but transporting the produce to the market is a challenge because of the sorry state of the roads. Luckily I found one, near a reliable source of water, and close to a passable road,” he explained.

“Farming needs all attention just like that is required in the office; you need to be involved. Long gone are the days you could make a phone call to inquire from your farmhands which activity needs to be done and at what time? Anyone wishing to delve into farming and has this archaic mentality then I am sorry you won’t succeed,” he said. “Forming farmers groups in your area of cultivation is one thing that farmers need to consider as this helps to share ideas and explore more market and various marketing techniques, “he advised.
To overcome market glut; farmers need to study the market trends and be able to know when it’s the right time to supply and also explore on more markets which they can supply their produce.

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