Greenhouses have more advantages than disadvantages. One advantage is having a higher yield compared to the open field crops.
For instance, from one of her greenhouses that measures 30m x 9m, Margaret Grace Katono, 24, the proprietor of Tele Agriculture Farm at Magere, Kasangati in Wakiso district harvests 200kg of sweet pepper weekly.
One can harvest for a year as the plant grows taller and keeps fruiting. It is not labor-intensive as it takes only one person to manage a greenhouse.
There are minimal occurrences of pests and diseases, which minimises the need for the use of chemicals on crops. Fertiliser usage is also less.
“The main fear about greenhouses is the initial investment in purchasing it. Greenhouses are quite expensive to set up, but it only takes a year for one to break-even,” Katono explains.
To minimise costs, Katono’s greenhouses were locally made using eucalyptus poles, an opt net, nails and UV plastic for roofing.
She says her greenhouse that measures 30m x 9m cost about sh10m to set up and it accommodates 1,200 plants. A modern greenhouse costs about sh12m on the open market.
“Many people do not know that greenhouses can be made using local materials. It is cheap to make and works well, just like the modern metallic ones,” she adds.
Katono says she did not wait to have the sh10m at a go.
“I bought the opt net because this size will take around 300sqm; each metre cost sh6,000; then UV plastic, the standard length is 11.2m x 31m — each square meter cost sh6,000.
“I started with sh1m on family land. I started with 6m width x 5m length, used a UV plastic that cost me shs300,000 and used the torn nets. At the time, we were phasing out a passion fruit garden so, I used the only poles from the passion fruits. It took 75 poles,” she says.
This was her first locally-made greenhouse. It was not standard because it did not have a door, but it was fit for the purpose.
In the first six months, she earned sh2m. She invested half of this in cultivating soya beans and the other half in passion fruits.