Today friends we will be going through the steps of capsicum farming commonly referred to as pili pili hoho in the East African region. This plant originated from the continent of South America in the early 1900s to the lovely shores of East African.
You can do capsicum farming in both small and large scale farming depending on your needs as a farmer and your financial capability.
Capsicum does well on farms ranging from 0.2-0.4 hectares for small scale and between 2-20 hectares in large scale farming.
The fruit is used as a spice in the cooking of several dishes and in the manufacturing industry to process food products.
Eating capsicum has various benefits to the body such as providing minerals (iron) and vitamins (C and A). It has and provides vitamin c to the body up to 3 times the required levels and with more concentration than citrus fruits like oranges.
The organic farming method is not only good for your health but also adds flavor and aroma to food.
Due to its nutrient value the fruit is used in food processing industries as a raw material in the manufacture of different spices and food additives and also in the cosmetics industries in the manufacture of lipsticks.
You have to ensure the land is well prepared for it to have the right nutrients required for the plant to mature well as desired and for the roots to easily go through the soil.
I would advise you to add trenches and ridges on the farm as this will make watering the plants and control of diseases and insects a little easier.
The ridges can be small or large depending on your needs as a farmer. Large ridges should accommodate up to two lines while the smaller ones a single line.
Capsicum like other vegetables are attacked by insects and diseases. As a novice farmer don’t ignore that by use of greenhouse farming you are immune to the challenges of farming or reduced by a significant factor.
You need to dry the seeds and store them for a period of between 6-8 weeks if you have prepared the seeds yourself and not bought from seed manufacturers.
Remember to transplant the seedlings from the nursery to the farm when they get to the height of about 6-10cm this ensure the seedlings can adapt easily in the new farm environment.
Your first harvest is in 2-3 months after the transplanting has been done. You can tell if your fruits have matured by the turning of their color to red or yellow while in the farm for the colored variety.
The value of the capsicum increase with increase in intensity of the color. The color changes after a period of 100 days.
One capsicum plant can produce between 30-80 fruits. Harvesting is up to 3.5 tons per acre .After harvesting ensure you irrigate the farm, spray pesticides and add fertilizers.
After harvesting you can apply fertilizers to boost the next round of harvesting.
Ensure you mix your hydroponics mix properly and the preparation steps followed strictly.
Mix all the inputs in your drip irrigation system so the plant gets all the desired nutrients at the right doses and time.
This is a short duration plant and takes 3 months to mature and can be harvested for up to 8 months depending on how well it is taken care of.
Capsicum unlike the other type of pepper that can be dried and stored or sold either when fresh or dry is sold when fresh. The capsicum does well under greenhouse farming set up so as to boost productivity.
I recommend the use of hybrid seeds since they are high yielding. A single plant has the ability to produce between 9-11 kilograms of fruit and one or two mature fruits can weigh as much as a kilogram.
During the harvesting and sales period red capsicum has more market value than the yellow one since it is of a higher demand.
Remember to check both the local and international markets before picking on a variety that you would like to farm, either green, yellow or red varieties.
The red variety stays longer after harvesting before going bad as compared to the green and yellow varieties. The others stay for a period of 7 days while the red variety stays for up to 3 days longer (10 days)
It is also one of the few plants that have lycopene that reduces the risk of an attack by prostate cancer and cervical cancer.
It also has traces of vitamin A that helps in clear vision during low light and also good for children in the development of their eyesight and muscles.
Advantages of greenhouse farming
Small area produces more
Easier crop management
Control of diseases
Longer harvesting period
A farm of 8 x16 produces an average of 340 plants and open filed production of 3-5 kilograms.
Luck of ready market if your production is not planned
On transport spoilage
Production of 1 acre produces 10-20 tons in a period of 3-4 months. The estimated profit is 160,000 shillings. The production costs can differ depending g on the region.
Preparation 10,000 kshs
Having an agribusiness problem? Do you know of a successful agribusiness venture story that you want to share I would like to hear from you? Send me the TIPS at firstname.lastname@example.org
Like and follow MkulimaTODAY on facebook | twitter | pinterest | instagram share this article and leave a comment.