Strawberries are easier to grow than many other crops. A seedling goes for between sh5,000 and sh6,000. The plants multiply so fast that if one planted a single plant today, it will have developed at least 10 offshoots in three months. It is the offshoots that are turned into seedlings.
Strawberries can be planted directly in the ground, in planting bags, tins or boxes. If they are planted in the ground, the farm must be mulched to prevent the fruits from rotting. Before planting, one should ensure that the soils have enough nitrogen.
One can know this by carrying out a soil test. This costs sh50,000 per sample at Kawanda. If there isn’t enough nitrogen, one then applies NPK, a fertiliser. An acre needs about three 50kg bags. Each bag costs between sh130,000 and sh180,000. But if one is growing strawberries for domestic consumption, say they only have five to10 plants, one does not need NPK, but can use kitchen manure in small portions per plant.
A single plant requires at least 50g of compost manure in the hole. One can harvest 1kg of the fruits from every five plants every season. There are four seasons per year. For those who intend to grow strawberries on an acre or more, the yields are higher. Since an acre takes a minimum of 6,000 plants, if one uses the 2x2ft spacing, the farmer can harvest at least 1,200kg per acre per season. A kilogramme goes for sh30,000. This translates into sh36m per acre! One can earn sh18m from half an acre and sh9m from quarter an acre.
Strawberries have a ready market, with a single pack of six to 10 fruits or a quarter a kilogramme costing sh8,000 in supermarkets. Manufacturers of beverages also buy them. Many of the strawberry farmers say the demand is so high that they never have a surplus.