Even as changes in weather continue to take its toll on smallholder farmers, technologies like greenhouses still remain beyond their reach due to prohibitive costs.
But that is fast changing with an emerging set of agropreneurs and companies coming up with low cost greenhouse innovations that also last longer.
An average eight by 30 meters greenhouse cost above Sh200,000 but local makers are managing to make the same sized greenhouse at even Sh50,000 a phenomenon that has become popular with the local farmers. What the local innovators have managed to do is source for local materials which are cheap and readily available.
Harun Green Acres a firm in Thilka that specializes in making of greenhouses, irrigation systems, farm management and marketing is among companies that have embraced manufacture of greenhouses using local products. Although the company makes the conventional greenhouses, depending on a customer’s preference, they have been forced to innovate following an outcry from the customers who argue that the conventional greenhouses are out of reach for most of them. “We have made over 140 greenhouses across the country, but the greenhouses made of wood panels are becoming particularly famous with most of the farmers especially smallholder who cannot keep up with spiraling charges on conventional greenhouses,” said Harun Munuve the Chief Operating Officer at the company.
Wood has particularly become a favourite in making the greenhouse stands since it is readily available. Farmers either outsource the wood or get the wood themselves then have experts install the wood for them. According to Harun, wood is relatively is a best bet locally but he cautions farmers about taking care of it to ensure it lasts longer. “So wood is susceptible to problems like being attacked by ants, we therefore advice the farmers to be monitoring the wood and disinfecting once in a while,” he said.