At David Karira Ndiritu’s family land in Thaithi village, about a kilometre from Karatina (Kenya), the sight of bananas, coffee plants and Pomegranates greets the visitor.
Next to Ndiritu’s coffee plantation is a 50-by-28 greenhouse where he grows capsicum. Ndiritu embarked on the capsicum journey in 2011. “Back then, only a few farmers in Nyeri County grew the crop,” Ndiritu says.
Growing capsicum was lucrative, as a kilogramme could sell for as much as Sh250 [2.50 USD]. He could harvest up to 360 kilogrammes a week.
Most of his customers were from Nyeri and Karatina markets. Ndiritu was also contracted by Zucchini Greengrocers Ltd, a company based in Nairobi.
He chose to grow his capsicum in a greenhouse “because controlling pests and diseases in the open is difficult”.
Ndiritu, who is also a teacher at Kiarithaini Primary School in Mathira, says he began the venture with Sh250,000 [2,500 USD].
“I saved for two years and used the money to build the greenhouse, buy seeds, manure, pesticides, hire labour and meet other related costs,” Ndiritu explains.