Herbs for Export: Expanding Kenya's Horticultural Industry with Synnefa's Smart Greenhouses


Kenya's horticultural exports are rapidly growing, driven by increasing global demand for high-quality, sustainably grown herbs. Synnefa is at the forefront of this industry transformation, providing smart greenhouses, precision farming sensors, and farm management software to empower Kenyan farmers to grow and export high-value crops to European markets. Our "Herbs for Export" initiative is designed to equip farmers with the infrastructure, technology, and knowledge needed to succeed in this lucrative sector.

Ideal Herbs for Export and Their Growing Conditions

At Synnefa, we have identified several herbs with high export potential for Kenyan farmers. These herbs can be grown as greenhouse or outdoor crops, depending on their specific requirements.

Greenhouse Crops:

  1. Basil Leaves
  2. Chives

Outdoor Crops:

  1. Mint Leaves
  2. Rosemary Leaves
  3. Coriander
  4. Sage
  5. Thyme
  6. Parsley
  7. Tarragon
  8. Oregano
One of our export farms growing Global G.A.P Certified Sage under drip irrigation and Basil in Greenhouses
How Synnefa Supports Farmers in Exporting Herbs

Synnefa is dedicated to helping Kenyan farmers excel in the herbs for export market by providing comprehensive support throughout the farming process. Our services include:

  1. Smart Greenhouses: We design and install state-of-the-art greenhouses with precision farming sensors to optimize growing conditions and maximize yield.
  2. Precision Farming Technology: Our cutting-edge sensors and farm management software help you monitor and control factors such as temperature, humidity, and nutrient levels, ensuring the highest crop quality.
  3. GlobalGAP Certification Assistance: We work closely with GlobalGAP Certified Auditors to ensure our greenhouses meet international standards for producing healthy, export-ready herbs.
  4. Export Preparation Guidance: Synnefa's team of experts will guide you through the requirements and processes for exporting herbs, including obtaining necessary certifications and licenses, as well as establishing market supply agreements with buyers.
Crop Export Requirements and How We Can Help

To successfully export herbs, Kenyan farmers must meet certain criteria. Synnefa and our partners will help you navigate these requirements and set up the necessary infrastructure:

  1. Greenhouses and Irrigation Systems: We provide greenhouse construction and outdoor irrigation systems tailored to your farm's specific needs.
  2. Water Storage: Our team can assist you in setting up water tanks with a minimum capacity of 10,000 liters for your farm.
  3. Sorting and Packing Facilities: We collaborate with partners who can help you establish a sorting and packing house to prepare your produce for export.
  4. Cold Storage: We can connect you with suppliers who provide cold rooms for produce refrigeration before departure to the airport.
  5. Fertilizer and Chemical Storage: Our partners can help you set up secure storage facilities for fertilizers and chemicals.
  6. Sanitary Facilities: We'll guide you in establishing washrooms for both male and female workers.
  7. Office and Storage Space: Our team can help you create a small office and storage area for your farm.
  8. Certifications and Licenses: We'll support you in obtaining GlobalGAP Certification and HCD Export Licenses.
  9. Market Supply Agreements: Synnefa will assist you in securing signed market supply frameworks with your buyers.
Global G.A.P Certified Oregano and Thyme Herbs under Precision farming drip kits
Why Farmers Should Invest in Herbs for Export: Costs and Return on Investment

Choosing to invest in herbs for export can be a profitable decision for Kenyan farmers. In this section, we'll break down the initial capital expenditures (CAPEX) required to start the farming production process and the potential return on investment (ROI) that can be achieved.

CAPEX Costs:
  1. 10 Smart Greenhouses with Precision Farming Sensors (8M x 30M): KES.8,914,000
  2. Outdoor Drip Irrigation (1 Acre): KES.230,500
  3. Cold Room Reefer: KES.2,135,000
  4. Grading and Packing Rooms, Fertilizer and Chemical Stores, Toilets and Bathrooms, and Farm Office: KES.967,000
  5. GlobalGAP Certification and Export License Registration: 750,000
Total CAPEX: 12,996,500 KES

Ongoing Construction of Wooden Smart Greenhouses in Laikipia for Herbs for Export.
Potential Returns:

Based on our experience with numerous export-oriented farms, farmers typically sell their produce at KES 300-600 per kilo of basil. Assuming an average production of 75 kg per week from a single 8M x 30M metallic smart greenhouse and a conservative purchase price of KES 390 per kilo of basil, your monthly income from operating 10 greenhouse units would be approximately KES 1,326,000.

Please note that these figures are rough estimates, and individual results may vary. To obtain a more detailed cash flow analysis tailored to your specific farm setup, we recommend speaking with a Synnefa consultant. We'll arrange a meeting to discuss your farm's unique requirements and provide a more accurate cash flow projection.

By investing in Synnefa's smart greenhouses and precision farming technology, Kenyan farmers can capitalize on the growing demand for high-quality herbs in European markets. The potential for significant returns on investment, coupled with our comprehensive support services, makes this opportunity an attractive choice for farmers looking to expand their business and increase their profits.

Breaking Even: Understanding the Timeframe for Recovering Your Investment

Investing in herbs for export requires a significant initial outlay, but the potential returns make it a worthwhile endeavor. To provide a clearer picture of when you can expect to break even on your investment, let's consider the CAPEX costs and annual operational expenditures (OPEX).

CAPEX Costs: KES.12,996,500
OPEX: 8,340,000 KES (includes farm inputs, seedlings, salaries and wages, packaging materials, and logistical costs from the farm to JKIA for export)
Assuming a conservative monthly income of KES 1,326,000 from operating 10 greenhouse units, as mentioned earlier, your annual revenue would be approximately KES 15,912,000.
Break-Even Analysis:To calculate the break-even point, we'll compare your total investment (CAPEX + OPEX) to your annual revenue.
Total Investment (CAPEX + first-year OPEX): 12,996,500 + 8,340,000 = KES. 21,336,500 KES
Annual Revenue: 15,912,000 KES

Considering these figures, you can expect to break even in approximately 1.34 years (21,336,500 ÷ 15,912,000). This timeframe may vary depending on factors such as market conditions, crop yields, and the efficiency of your farm operations.

Transparent Pricing:

At Synnefa, we believe in transparent pricing to empower farmers to make well-informed decisions. We guarantee that there are no hidden costs in our pricing structure. Our goal is to help you succeed in the herbs for export market by providing accurate financial information and comprehensive support throughout the entire process.

Keep in mind that the break-even point is an estimate, and individual results may vary. We'll work closely with you to develop a customized financial projection and provide ongoing guidance to help you achieve your business goals.

To obtain a more detailed analysis tailored to your specific farm setup, we recommend speaking with a Synnefa consultant.