Basil Market Development for Poor Farmers
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Enrique Bolaņos Flores
Posted on: March 13, 2007

I am working for a non profit organization "Nuevas Esperanzas" (, and right now one of projects we want to develop with poor farmers is to seed basil.

The person who is formulating the project said it is a great opportunity for those people, because they will sell basils at a good price, but I have doubts, just because the investment we need is very big, and part of this money will be invested for our poor people.

The project include to build a freeze room, warehouse, irrigation system, seed approximately 6 acres per year of basil, 6 acres of passion fruit, 6 acres of eggplant and 6 acres of a beans.

I want to know about the market, the brokers, etc.

In 1985 I developed the business plan used by Rising Sun Herb Farm, who took their cottage industry into Neiman Marcus. At the end of six years, their farm grossed more than $6,000 off of 4 acres of fresh Basil. They grew it to make a Frozen Pesto, suggested in the Cottage Industry chapter from my book "The Potential Of Herbs As A Cash Crop." After 20 years, the book is still considered a classic.

I have a PowerPoint presentation, showing all phases of that business development. They had processing and manufacturing, with a large walk-in freezer. They later sold that business for an excess of $20,000,000. Of course, it is all about marketing, and having that part of the business plan together.

Perhaps the best way to do this is to gather all of your potential employees, and have them take an 8-hour workshop on how to do this business. Having the visuals to show them where they want the business to eventually go and look like is critical for it to become literal. I could even suggest other crops for Nicaragua.

You might want to review some of my specific writings on Basil, available as Technical Crop Reports from

Farming is a way of life, and can offer far more than simple profit margins. The equipment you suggest is critical for this project to work. It should always be remembered that this equipment can also be used for other similar and related projects.

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