Moses Gitau is a basil farmer from Nakuru County currently running six greenhouses under basil production.
He ventured into basil farming in 2020, and he says out of it, he has bought properties, built a home and educated his children.
Basil herb has a sweet and a slightly spicy flavor widely used in a variety of dishes including salads and soups.
Here is Gitau’s story as told by WoK.
In an interview with Imagine Business, Gitau stated that he ventured into basil farming in 2020, adding that he knew about it through research.
He said that he visited different farms where he learn about different crops but settled on basil as it did not require a lot of labour.
“I had interacted with different farmers having visited their farms and I felt that basil is the most preferred for me,” he said.
Gitau mentioned that he has six greenhouses under basil production, adding that constructing one greenhouse cost him Ksh 200,000.
“If you look at my greenhouses, I have used different materials to try to save on cost. You must be creative because one roll of paper material used on greenhouses costs up to Ksh 30,000,” he explained.
Gitau harvests basil from a particular greenhouse at least once every week, getting between 200 and 250 kgs. He sells a kilo of basil between Ksh 600 and Ksh 650.
He also explained why it is advisable to grow basil in greenhouses.
“Growing basil in a greenhouse is beneficial because it’s easy to control and regulate the surrounding conditions
“There are pests and harsh climatic conditions outside. No pests can enter here and even if they do, we have pesticides to deal with that,” Gitau said.
He also mentioned that pests that attack basil leaves are common to those that attack other crops such as tomatoes, beans and kales.
Gitau said getting market for his produce was not easy but over the years, he has learnt ways of exploiting the market.
“Getting the market was not easy. As much as I sell my produce, there are ways that I use because I don’t have the capacity to get an international export license
“I majorly use brokers. I grade my produce and and take them to a broker who exports on my behalf as long as we agree on the amount,” he said.
Through profits from basil farming, Gitau says he has educated his children, bought plots of land and built a house.
“The assets I buy out of my profits is for security in case something happens to my greenhouses. I can pick myself up again,” he said.