Since ancient times, Organic Farming has been a common practice in Kenya and if you are unfamiliar with the method, it entails gardening techniques and agricultural farming methods which aim at cultivating and raising crops using safe methods that maintain the good health and life of the soil by the use of organic wastes such as farm, animal, and crop wastes alongside other biological materials and bio-fertilizers.
Typically, organic farming inputs release vital nutrients that catalyze the sustainable production of crops in both pollution-free and eco-friendly environments as follows;
- Animal manure
- Crop residues
- Organic waste from the farm
- Plant protection and nutrient mobilization via mechanical and biological methods
- Biological activity
- Biological cycle of the soil Rock
In scientific terms, organic farming practices can be described as systematic farming that relies on animal manure, crop residues, organic waste from the farm as opposed to the application of synthetic farm inputs such as feed additives, pesticides, GMO’s, fertilizers, and hormones for farming practices as follows;
Opportunities in the organic farming business
In Kenya, there are plenty of opportunities in the agriculture industry that will help you reap profits from the organic agriculture market, and if you have an interest in the field, here are some useful ideas to consider when getting involved with this growing niche industry.
- Organic Produce Farm- This is considered one of the most popular ways of branching into the agricultural business by growing organic produce. Exclusive of the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers used by conventional farms, this is similar to regular produce farming.
- Organic Dairy and livestock Farm – You can take this route by starting a dairy farm by using natural processes and organic feed for your livestock.
- Organic Fish Farming- This business venture involves farming fish by use of holistic methods for rearing marine species in line with organic principles for organic seafood production.
Not forgetting socio-demographic factors such as income, employment, education, household size, and age to some extent influence organic consumption in Kenya. While shopping, consumers put into consideration perceived benefits of organic products like health and nutrition which heightens their purchasing power for organic products.
It is thus advised that as a farmer, reinforce consumer awareness through providing information on organic food products as it remains crucial to expanding your business and information further amplifies a consumer’s organic knowledge, translating to higher sales. As a commercial organic producer, information on consumer trends will help you develop strategies to match your production rate and consumption preferences.
The profitability of organic farming in Kenya
If the right market can be accessed and consumer awareness of organic produce is echoed across digital platforms and traditional advertisement, then organic farming in Kenya is a profitable venture. Profit increases in mostly three ways;
Organic produce has a very high export potential thanks to the higher price points of organic produce than those obtained from conventional farming methods. Additionally, competition has somewhat been minimized compared to conventional foodstuff in both domestic and external markets.
The cost of production is usually drastically reduced by the use of the crop, animal residue, and organic waste as bio-fertilizer.
Organic produce value and demand at present are higher compared to conventionally developed farm produces thanks to premium price points.
How Organic Farming has been affected by COVID-19
Despite the level of uncertainty and economic crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, many organic farms and enterprises registered turbulent moments with consumers finally leaning towards utilizing vitamin-rich, immune-boosting organic produce to improve the health of their bodies.
With consumers also having total control over their purchasing power in lockdown and curfews, organic farmers observed a nationwide demand for organic food, and farmers have since resorted to diversify their business to better cater to the local direct markets as well as planning the food systems for the future.