Many people see arid and semi-arid areas as cursed, unproductive and useless places. They usually don’t see any potential there, especially businesswise. Contrary to that, arid and semi-arid areas have massive potential which is yet to be unlocked because many people don’t want to even try their luck in such a harsh environment.
Institutions of higher learning in Kenya have been challenged to develop innovative technologies to help exploit the massive potential of drylands in Kenya.
We have listed some of the most profitable businesses you can start in semi-arid areas below.
1. Water Selling/Vending Business
This is the most profitable one. You can drill a borehole if you have the money and supply fresh water or buy water from a distribution point and then vend it with a car, motorbike, animal or handcart. Water business is very profitable in semi-arid and arid areas since the commodity is in high demand but it is low in circulation.
A 20 litre jerrycan of fresh water goes for 50/- or more in many semi-arid areas, so you can do the math and estimate the return per day if the buying price is 5/-.
2. Goat Keeping
Goats are easy to rear in semi-arid areas. They only require a herdsman and the rest will just work out. Goats majorly eat on shrubs which are in abundance in semi-arid areas hence they don’t need much of the greenness. Goats upon maturity can be sold to homes and butcheries.
Hay farming has not been embraced by many Kenyans but a very profitable business in Kenya, with good returns yet it does not need a lot of resources. Hay farming does not need a lot of rainfall or irrigation; it only needs little water to sustain it. This is good news especially to those who live in the semi-arid and wonder what they can do with their land.
The most planted grass for hay is Boma Rhodes which matures very fast and is a favorite for many livestock keepers, especially the dairy cows farmers.
4. Green House Farming
Greenhouses don’t need a specific environment to thrive. They make their own environment and favorable conditions for the plants inside to grow. Water supply to the greenhouses is majorly through drip which consumes a very small amount of water hence very effective. Greenhouses products remit good returns upon being sold of more than 100,000/- per harvest from a big greenhouse.
5. Poultry Farming
Poultry farming does well in semi-arid areas too. Commercial poultry farming doesn’t require the farmer to depend on the weather to rear his/her poultry because they feed on marsh which is bought at animal feeds stores and water of course. Hens upon attaining like 3 months can be sold to hotels, restaurants, and homes.