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Preparing for Wambugu Farm Agricultural Training Center Event

Wambugu farm situated in Nyeri County will on 27th and 28th July 2018 hold their annual ATC. During the two days, farmer and aspiring farmers are invited to interact with the biggest agriprenuers.

If you are an aspiring farmer, and you have been following us, you will witness that we have been on the forefront in informing farmers on the best farming practices and how to start from scratch.

This is an opportunity for you to see what other right-minded farmers like you are doing.

What You expect to learn

  • Value addition on tree tomato
  • Kales farming
  • Cabbage farming
  • Dairy goat farming
  • Dairy Cows Farming
  • Arrow-root Farming
  • Sweet-Potato farming
  • Vertical Farming, e.t.c

Value Addition on Tree-Tomato

Did you know that tree tomato is used to make jams, juice and other end products? Well you have a chance to come and learn from us.

Oxfarm (oxfarm.co.ke) in collaboration with tamarillo farm mweiga (tamarillo.co.ke) and Mkulima wa Nyeri Farm are inviting you to Wambugu farm ATC to learn more on value addition on tree tomato fruits. This in an annual event that take place in July every year. We will have samples for those who will visit our stand to get a taste on our various products.

Some of our products are;

  • Jam,
  • Juice
  • chili sauce and
  • fresh fruits

Vegetable prices has in the past few years skyrocked. This is so because of the rising population which means demand for food is on the rise. So how can you manage the small land you have to feed you and still have a space to grow vegetables for sale? What about dairy farming, where do you go wrong?

Below are some pictures of what you expect to see and learn about. Set a date and make sure to visit our booth when you are there.

 

 

Kales Farming
Spinach Farming
Spinach Farming
Onion Farming
Sweet Potato Farming
Onion and cabbage farming
Spinach Farming
Green Peas Farming
Tomato Farming
Kales Farming
Spinach Farming
Spinach Farming
Onion Farming
Sweet Potato Farming
Cabbage Farming

 

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Best Fruits/CropsTo Grow in Kenya That Guarantee you money in your Pocket

Fruits farming in Kenya can make you money especially if you have adequate land to do farming and you have a passion of succeeding in whatever you do.

Many entrepreneurs will tell you that starting any kind of business is not an easy task. But doing farming is one of the easiest routes to take in life to succeed. We have studied the trends both locally and internationally and we have gathered that fruits are in high demand. This is so because people are now conscious more than ever in what they eat and how they live. The following fruits and crops can make you rich if you follow everything by the book.

  • Watermelon
  • Hass Avocado
  • Tissue Culture Bananas
  • Tomatoes/Capsicum
  • Onions
  • Macadamia
  • Straw berries

Watermelons/Onions

What surprises me is that anyone planting watermelon and onions makes up to Ksh 3 million in three months from one acre piece of land. The sweet story does not end there. This person receives calls almost every minute from middlemen who want to buy the watermelon or onions at any price-the demand for watermelon/onions is crazy.

Read: Why Kakuzi Ltd is abandoning Pineaple and venturing into hass avocado farming

Straw berry Fruits

The demand for strawberries is bursting at the seams and the supply is low. This is because of the strawberry flavour from yoghurt, ice-creams, and jams and in perfumes. Companies that use these fruits are relying on imports this is sufficient justification why strawberry farming is and will remain lucrative agribusiness in the years to come. Strawberries can grow in almost every part of our country provided there is constant water supply and stable temperature. A one eighth of an acre would be adequate for a beginner but if you are in an urban setting you can invest in a few containers (which you can then put in your backyard) and start farming. It takes about 70 days for the crop to mature and produce the first fruits. But because the fruits are highly perishable (stays fresh for four to five days after harvesting), it is advisable to start looking for market early enough to avoid incurring losses. An eighth piece of land can produce between 30kg and 50kg of strawberries per week and each kilo goes for about Sh200 at the current market price. Now assuming your small farm produces 50Kgs per week then that means you can make Sh40,000 per month using only a small portion of your land. Once you plant them, 70 days down the line you will get your first harvest. This will continue for up to three years with two to three harvesting seasons every year. Like any other business with attractive returns, strawberry farming in Kenya requires capital. Chandler is the most popular variety. Strawberries are runners, so once you plant, you do not need to buy other seedlings as you can propagate them by removing the splits from the parent plant.

Hass Avocados

Avocado Fruits
Hass Avocado

Hass Avocados are another kind of fruits that can easily make you rich. Nowadays farmers in Central Kenya and Upper Eastern are smiling all the way to the bank. Those who used to plant maize/coffee have stopped the silly business and embarked on planting hass avocados.

Read: How to Grow Tomatoes in a Greenhouse in Kenya

Tissue Culture Bananas

Kisiis are also not left behind. You see several tracks overloaded with bananas from Keumbu all the way to Nairobi and Mombasa. This is an opportunity for farmers who come from areas where bananas grow. TC banana and especially the williams variety is a money maker.

 

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How to Grow Tomatoes in a Greenhouse in Kenya

In the modern way of farming through green-houses, tomatoes are the most grown crops. With good temperature management and enough sunshine, greenhouse growers in most areas of the planet will get two tomato crops annually. Indoor conditions do need a lot of careful handling to forestall diseases and to pollinate the flowers successfully. Most families in Kenya today use tomatoes in their daily cooking. As a farmer, this is a great opportunity, and with a greenhouse,you are sure of more.

Read: Why Kakuzi Ltd is abandoning Pineaple and venturing into hass avocado farming

Setting Up

Temperature

Tomatoes grow best at daytime temperatures of 21–27ºC, and nighttime temperatures of 16–18ºC. Make sure you can maintain these temperatures in your greenhouse for the next several months before you plant.

  • Ideally, bring temperatures to the lower end of this range on cold days, and raise them to the upper end (or even slightly higher) during clear, sunny days.
  • You’ll also need to keep humidity below 90% to prevent excessive leaf mold. Ventilate regularly to bring fresh, dry air into the greenhouse, especially on cool, cloudy mornings.

Select certified tomato variety

There are varieties of tomato varieties, so for detailed information it’s best to talk to local extension officers. There are a few guidelines and tips that apply to all regions, however:

  • Tomatoes marketed as greenhouse varieties are more tolerant of greenhouse conditions.
  • The letters VFNT and A after the name mean the variety is resistant to disease.
  • “Indeterminate” tomatoes grow and produce fruit indefinitely, taking advantage of the longer growing season inside a greenhouse. If you’re short on space, plant a “determinate” variety, which stops at a certain height.

Choose a growing medium

Tomatoes can grow in any well-drained soils. . You can use your preferred soil-less mix, or one of these options:

  • Perlite bags or rock wool slabs are the cheapest options in many areas.
  • Some growers prefer a 1:1 mix of manure and top soils
  • Purchase sterile soil mix or make your own. Never use soil or compost from your garden without sterilizing. Choose this option if you do not want to install an irrigation system.

Irrigation system

Most growers install drip tubing to deliver water to each plant. A fertilizer injector attached to the tubing can automate fertilizing as well.

  • Tomatoes are also easy to grow in a hydroponics system.

Planting

Plant each seed in its own

Poke a ¼ inch (6mm) hole into each hole. Drop a single seed into each hole. Cover lightly with the potting mix.

  • Plant about 10 or 15% more seeds than you plan on growing, so you can discard the least healthy seedlings.

Moisten with water or dilute nutrient solution

Use plain water for soil, or seedling nutrient solution for soil-less mixes. Either way, water until the mixture is just damp enough to press into a clump, with only a few drops squeezed out. Water regularly to keep the mix damp.

  • A 5:2:5 nutrient solution that contains calcium and magnesium is ideal. Dilute the solution according to label instructions.
  • Do not bring the seeds into the greenhouse until they’ve sprouted, so you can check for disease and pests. Provide plenty of sunlight and keep the temperature at 24–27ºC during the day.

Adjust pH and calcium levels

Before the final transplant, you may want to check soil pH, which ideally falls between 5.8 and 6.8.If your soil is too acidic, add about 1 tsp (5 mL) hydrated lime for each gallon (3.8 L) of potting mix. Besides raising the pH, this adds calcium that can prevent blossom rot later on.

  • If your pH is fine, mix in gypsum or calcium sulfate instead to add calcium without changing the pH. Alternatively, just choose a fertilizer that contains calcium and apply every week or two.
  • In a hydroponics setup, you can supply calcium by injecting calcium nitrate into the irrigation feed. This requires a second injector, as calcium nitrate cannot be stored with your main fertilizer.

Caring for the Tomatoes

Fertilize regularly

Start fertilizing the day you transplant the tomatoes into their final pot. Use a complete fertilizer high in nitrogen (N) and potassium (K), such as a 15-5-15 or 5-2-5. Dilute and apply the fertilizer according to label instructions.

  • Reduce fertilizer as the final fruits ripen. Do not fertilize in late autumn or winter, unless using artificial grow lights and reliable heaters.

Remove suckers weekly

Once a week, pinch off “suckers,” or side shoots that emerge where a leaf meets the main stem. Leave only the main bud at the top of the steam, plus the highest sucker below it. This trains the plant to grow upward instead of wide.

  • If the top of your plant is damaged, the top sucker can become the new main stem.

Stake the tomato plants

Tie the plants loosely to stakes with twine to keep them upright. Use plastic garden clips where necessary to secure the twine.

  • Commercial operations save on materials by stringing a wire over each row, with a support post every 20 ft (6m). Wrap the twine around each plant and fasten to the overhead wire.

Pollinate the flowers

Unlike many plants, a tomato can pollinate itself — but it needs some help. The pollen in a tomato flower is trapped inside a tube, and must be released through vibration. Since most greenhouses lack bees or high wind, you’ll need to act as the pollinator once flowers are fully open.

Read: Top 10 tastiest and rarest fruits in the world

Prune leaves and fruit

Tomatoes
Tomatoes in a green house

Apart from weekly sucker removal, pruning is not necessary until the plant starts to fruit:

  • Once fruit starts to grow, thin each cluster down to four or five fruits, removing the smallest or most misshapen. Very large fruits or winter conditions may require going down to three per cluster. Varieties with small fruits may not need any thinning.
  • As the fruit matures, snap off older leaves from the lower clusters. This helps improve air circulation.

Harvest as late as possible.

The longer the tomatoes stay on the vine, the fuller and redder they become.

  • Commercial growers typically pick a little early, when the fruit is 60–90% red, to allow for time in shipping.

If you need to know more about drip irrigation kits and how to apply it in your green house, contact us today.

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Top 10 tastiest and rarest fruits in the world

Ackee

Ackee fruit
Ackee Fruit

Ackee  is a rarest and strange looking fruit that grows in the tropical regions of West Africa. Although native to West Africa the use of ackee in food is especially common in Jamaican cuisine. It is the national fruit of Jamaica and ackee and saltfish is the national dish.

Ackee is pear-shaped but when it ripens, it turns from green to a bright red to yellow-orange and splits open to reveal three large, shiny black seeds each partly surrounded by soft, creamy to spongy white to yellow flesh.

The dried seeds, fruit, bark and leaves are used medicinally. The ackee fruit is canned and is a major export product in Jamaica.

Rambutan

Its an important fruit tree of humid tropical southeast Asia. Traditionally cultivated especially in Indonesia, malysia and Thailand. The fruit is a round to oval single-seeded berry borne in a loose pendant cluster of 10-20 together.

The leathery skin is reddish and covered with fleshy pliable spines hence the name which means ‘hairs’. The fruit fresh which is actually the aril, is translucent whitish or very pale pink, with a sweet, mildly acidic flavor very reminiscent of grapes.

The fruits are usually sold fresh, used in making jams and jellies, or canned. Its bark roots and leaves have various medicinal value and also used in making of dyes.

Dragon Fruit

It is believed to be a native of Mexico. In Tropical and Sub-tropical regions in South America and Asia the dragon fruit flourishes and grows in abundance.

Its outer skin is cactus-like resembling that of the scales of mythical dragons. The fruit’s texture is sometimes likened to that of the Kiwi fruit because of its black, crunchy seed. The flesh which is eaten raw, is mildly sweet and low in calories.

The seeds are eaten together with the flesh have a nutty taste and are rich in lipid, but they are indigestible unless chewed. The fruit is also converted into juice or wine, or used to flavor other beverages. The flowers can be eaten or steeped as tea.

Read: Basic Characteristics of an agri-preneur

Jabuticaba

It is a rare purple colored fruit native to S.E Brazil. It’s a thick-skinned berry and typically measures 3-4 cm in diameter.

It resembles that of a slip skin grape. It has a thick, purple astringent skin that encases a sweet, white or rosy pink gelatinous flesh. Fresh fruits may begin to ferment 3-4 days after harvest. It’s used to make jams, tarts, strong wines and liquors.

Because of its extremely short shelf life fresh jabuticaba fruit is very rare in markets.

Miracle Fruit

Miracle fruit
Miracle fruit

It grows in the tropical forests of W. Africa where it is known for its sweet berry, It has low sugar and a mildy sweet tang. It contains glycoprotein molecule, with some trailing carbohydrates chains, called miraculin.

When the fleshy part is eaten this molecule binds to the tongue’s taste buds, causing sour foods to taste sweet.

In Japan, Miracle fruit is popular among patients with diabetes and dieters.

Read: Why Kakuzi Ltd is abandoning Pineaple and venturing into hass avocado farming

Durian

Its native to South East Asia. It is destructive for its large size, strong odor, and formidable thorn covered husk. Its flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness and it is used to flavor a wide variety of savoring and sweet edibles in Southeast Asian cuisines.

Some people regard the durian as having a pleasantly sweet fragrance. Others find the aroma overpowering with an unpleasant odor. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense, disgust, and has been described variously as rotten onions, turpentine, and raw sewage.

The persistence of its odor which may linger for several days has led to the fruits banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in South East Asia.

African Horned Cucumber

African Horned Fruit
African Horned Fruit (Also known as Thorn Melon)

Native to Sub-Saharan Africa and its now grown in California, Mississippi, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Chile, Australia and New Iceland. Ripe fruits have yellow-orange skin and lime green, jelly like flesh with a tart taste, and texture similar to a cucumber. It can be eaten at any stage ripening but when over-ripened, will burst forcefully to release seeds.

Its taste has been compared to combination of cucumber and Zuchini, and it is also said to taste like an unripe watered down banana.

Mangosteen

Mangosteen is a tropical evergreen tree believed to have originated in the sunda Islands and the moluceas of Indonesia. It grows mainly in Southeast Asia, South west India and other tropical areas such as Puerto Rico and Florida. The Mangosteen fruit is sweet tangy, juicy, somewhat fibrous with fluid-filled vesicles like the flesh of citrus fruits with an inedible, deep reddish-purple colored rind when ripe.

Cherimoya (Custard Apple)

Cherimoya is mainly grown throughout South Asia, America, Southern Europe and East Africa. It is the most delicious fruit known to man.

The fruit is oval, often slightly oblate, with a smooth or slightly tuberculated skin. The fruit flesh is white and creamy and has numerous dark brown poisonous seeds embedded in it.

The fruit can be chilled and eaten with a spoon, which has earned it another nickname, the ice-cream fruit.  Indeed, in Peru, it is usually used in ice creams and yogurt.

Cupuacu

It’s a tropical rain-forest related to cacao. Common throughout the Amazon basin it is widely cultivated in the jungles of Colombia, Bolivia and Peru in the north of brazil. With the largest production in Para. They are oblong, brown, and fuzzy 20cm long and covered with a thick hard exocarp.

The white pulp of the cupuacu has an odor described as a mix of chocolate and pineapple and is frequently used in desserts, juices and sweets. Basically, its juice tastes like a pear with a hint of banana.

Read: How to make millions from watermelons farming

Now you know, there are millions and millions of fruits in the world. The questions you should ask yourself today is, have you planted a tree-fruit this year? if not, hook up with us and we will guide you on the best fruits that suit your area and expectations.

 

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Why Kakuzi Ltd is abandoning Pineaple and venturing into hass avocado farming

Kakuzi ltd which is listed in Nairobi exchange and deals in farming is planning an exit on pineapple farming. After growing pineapples for over two decades now, it is signaling a shift in its products. Kakuzi Ltd is increasing acreage under avocados whose demand has skyrocketed globally.

Read: Basic Characteristics of an agri-preneur

Avocados Has Better Profits

Kakuzi Ltd while announcing that decision in March 2018, they also announce a 5.2% increase in net profit to Sh561.6 million for the year ended December 2017. The profit increase according to the company is attributed to the higher international avocado and macadamia prices.

Although the company which owns more than 25,000 acres of land has been growing tea, forestry, livestock , pineapples and other fruits, it has now decided to focus its efforts on growing hass avocado whose returns per-acre are much higher than that of pineapples.

In a statement produced by Kakuzi, the decision was reached to discontinue with fresh pineapple operation in favor of planting pinkerton, hass and fuerte avocado varieties.

The  major pineapple producers in Kenya include Kakuzi, Del Monte’s in Thika and Ndemo farm in Kilgoris. For the years now, Kakuzi has become synonymous with the crop.

While some of its harvest is exported to countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands – mostly in canned form – Kakuzi has always sold its produce in the local market. The fruit is also used to make concentrate for juice products.

Read: How to make Silage for your Dairy Cows in Kenya

Hass Avocados and Macadmia Nuts

Over the past several years, macadamia and avocado have become choice crops for agricultural firma in Kenya with Kakuzi, Sasini and other major players reaping heavily.

In 2017, according to their statement, the company closed with 1,500 acres of land under avocado from which it harvested 7,282 tonnes of fruit. At its peak, Kakuzi had over 120 acres of its own land under pineapple and another 1,100 acres under a joint venture with juice maker Del Monte.

However, in 2017, the company closed with just 60 acres of its land under pineapple and the partnership between Delmonte is set to be terminated in future years.

According to Kakuzi, the increase in profit is as a result of continued market demand for avocado and macadamia throughout the year. The company also attributed profitability within the Tea operations has continued to reflect the difficult trading conditions and significant inflationary pressure on labor and other production costs.

Read: Why You should shift gears to Hass avocado and Macadamia farming

Now you know why we have continually advised you to plant hass avocados and macadamia. If the big boys are shifting, why do you sit there claiming that there is no market, or it will flood.

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Basic Characteristics of an agri-preneur

Agribusiness is important to global food supplies and developing economies. However, getting agricultural products from re-mote rural areas into larger markets has its challenges. These include a lack of intermediaries to develop relations between vendors, purchasers and contract systems. Other problems include inconsistent product quality and supply of products because of poor infrastructure. There is also competition in domestic markets from transnationals that can sell their products for less than domestic producers can. This is where an agri-preneur comes in; sees a problem and thinks of a solution.

What is agri-preneurship?

Agri-preneurship is a key factor for the survival of small-scale farming in an ever-changing and increasingly complex global economy. But what is agri-preneurship? How does it relate to small-scale farmers who operate on the edges of the economy?

Agri-preneurship is one way in which small-size farmers can confront issues such as under-employment and need for new jobs. Opportunities exist for farmers to create value-added agricultural products that are sold in local markets. For example, Oxfarm adds value to tree-tomato fruits to make juice and jam. Rural agri-preneurs can compete against larger corporations through a business cluster that controls significant quantities of local farm products.

Agri-preneurship motivations are important in understanding how the agri-preneur operates their business or defines success. Traditionally, the definition of an agri-preneur is an individual who starts a new business, cognizant of associated risks and ambiguities, for profit and growth. The agri-preneur takes advantage of opportunities and gathers resources, usually money, and other necessary non-monetary resources to turn their ideas into reality. Motivation for agri-preneurship, its meaning and measures of success differ among people, as well as countries, and by income level.

In addition, agri-agri-preneurship is tied to personal identity. Each agri-preneur seeks to legitimize their identity through business activities and thus their goals reflect the environment and social norms. For example, an agri-preneur in a developing country may view success as the ability to support oneself and one’s family. In contrast, another agri-agri-preneur may be competitive, seeking to be the largest and best in order to reach their goal to be a profitable self-supporting business, independent of others.

Read: How to make Silage for your Dairy Cows in Kenya

Agri-preneurship dynamics

Successful agri-prenuers in Kenya are highly knowledgeable, contacts with various people, innovates and adopts improved practices in agribusiness. However, there are many challenges that these farmers face: social barriers, economic barriers, regulations, access to finance and information, and their own managerial capacity to cope with risks and changes and to seize opportunities.

 Characteristics of an agri-preneur

  • An agricultural agri-preneur should be able to think purposefully in terms of farm activities. This is perhaps, the hardest task most farm agri-preneurs face. Most of the farm people find it easy to do, to act, to perform. Most farm people have difficulty, however, in thinking clearly about farm development. An Agricultural agri-preneur must be able to think.
  • An agri-preneur should be able to express himself clearly. The best conceived idea is worthless, unless it can be communicated. An Agricultural agri-preneur must communicate to farm laborer effectively.
  • An, agri-preneur in the farm sector must possess competence in farm operations. This does not mean that he must be a technician. But rather, he should possess the technical competence necessary in his field to enable him to manage the farm effectively.
  • Farm entrepreneur should possess the ability to think broadly. He should be able to see the overall, not miss the forest because of the tree. Broad comprehension is necessary so that he can see the effect of each proposed action on the whole of the farm activities.
  • An agri-preneur must know the actions and reactions of different farm people engaged by him in his farm or in the hired farm which he is managing, and he should have the tact, intelligence, foresight, etc., to channelize such actions and reactions for greater interest of farm activities in which he is engaged.
  • Agri-preneurs must take appropriate decisions with regard to farm activities from its very first stage till the last stage and he should know how to coordinate various stages of farm operations so that new result is encouraging.
  • He should know how to get various facilities extended by the government, semi-government and: other departments, institutions and organizations in time and in right quantity. This is a quality he must have to have for being successful in his farm activities.
  • He should also be able to think how his land can be used in the best possible way through multiple-cropping or double cropping and to make proper arrangements so that he gets maximum prices for his farm products. Production and marketing of farm products should be well coordinated.
  • He should be able to maintain daily records of the …..costs including depreciation costs of his farm activities and should make all possible efforts to reduce costs to the minimum and to have maximum return after selling his farm products. There should be a detailed costs and revenue accounts of his farm.
  • He should be able to think the feasibility of starting an agro-industrial activity to supplement his farm income. He should also see how he can earn more through subsidiary occupations.
  • He should work in such a way that he can minimize jealousy, rivalry etc. Among his neighbors so that his farm operations are least disturbed.
  • He should be tactful enough to avoid political pressure, if any, to influence his farm decisions.
  • He should foresee vested interests to disturb his farm activities beforehand so that he can take appropriate steps at the right time to minimize such influences, if any.
  • He should be dynamic. This is a trait that is characteristic of leaders and is essentially needed in a changing economy. This trait is a desire to move ahead, to change, to break new trails, to do bigger and better things. It is not an obvious personality trait. It is not a high-pressure personality. In fact, it may not even show on the surface. But it is desirable and usually spells the difference between passive agri-preneur and dynamic agri-preneur.
  • He should possess skill in human relations in the farm sector and have insight into human motivation and behavior, this enables him to lead, not drive, his farm workers.

Read: Ksh 2000 for an Apple? Here are the most expensive fruits in the world

In the process of farming the farm agri-preneur will require to decide on the best size of his enterprise, the storage facilities needed, and the amount of credit required to implement the production plan. Similarly, the methods for land preparation, planting, weeding, irrigation, fertilization of land, controlling pests and diseases, harvesting, threshing and cleaning of produce need to be decided in advance. Decisions on all these issues are vital as they very much influence the productivity of an individual farm. Nevertheless, a serious obstacle is to be found in the shape of imparting appropriate training, to farmers in order to make them capable of taking decisions of various types, so that the farmer of tomorrow may also become a good agri-preneur.

 

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How to make Silage for your Dairy Cows in Kenya

Hay and silage are preserved feed for dairy animals that come in handy during dry seasons when the green forage is unavailable. Silage making involves fermentation under anaerobic conditions preventing fresh fodder from decomposing and allowing it to keep its nutrient quality.

The process needs sufficient soluble carbohydrates (sugars) for organic acid production. It is recommended that you add molasses to the fodder for its rich in sugars, that allow bacteria to produce organic acids immediately. Acidification and preservation process is catalyzed by the amount of molasses that is added. The more the molasses the faster the process.

Read: How to make millions from watermelons farming

Why you should feed your cows on Silage

It improves high milk production as well as healthy dairy animals, particularly during dry seasons. It is laxative, palatable, digestible, nutritious and requires less space as compared to hay. 

Preparation of Silage

Silage Making process
Suitable Maize for Silage

In Kenya, silage making from maize is popular and forage can be cut from baby maize (at this stage it has highest nutrition value) and can produce maize silage.

Step 1. A farmer needs to decide on the type of crop to be grown for forage or silage. You need to choose hybrid and perennial varieties of crops which can be grown in short duration and produced multiple times.

Step 2. Choose a dry place to dig a pit on slightly sloping ground and depth of the pit should decrease from the higher side of the sloping ground to the lower side by giving wedge like shape. Normally, size and dimension of the pit size depends on the amount of the forage to be stored. For instance, to make 20 bags of forage, you need to dig the pit of 2 cubic metres and 10 m polythene bag and 30 liters of molasses.

Step 3. Using chaff cutter, cut the forage to be preserved into 1 inch pieces.

Step 4. To prevent the forage contact with soil, place the polythene sheet by covering the bottom of the pit and all sides of the pit.

Step 5. Chopped forage should be placed into the pit and spread into a thinlayer and the process repeated until a third of the pit is covered.

Step6. One liter of mollases should be diluted with three liters of water and sprinkled evenly on the forage to be preserved.

Step7. To prevent the forage from rotting, use garden sprayer to evenly distribute the solution (from step 6) throughout silage pit and this will also help in feeding micro-organisms to make the silage ferment quickly and save the silage from rotting.

Step 8. The forage should be pressed with feet to make the air out and protect from fungal attack. This ought to be done with caution as little air causes the fungus and damage the forage.

Step 9. Add more bags of chopped forage after making the room with diluted mollases. Repeat the process of adding forage with diluted molases and pressing until the pit is filled in a doom shape.

Step 10. Pit should be covered after final processing with polythene sheet on top to prevent from any water contact and diga small trench around the sides of the pit.

Step 11. Now the pit should be covered with soil to make the sir out and prevent the polythene damage from rain, birds or any other animals.

Step. 12 The conversation through fermentation may take weeks. Leave the pit until there is a shortage of fodder. The silage can last up to 2 years if it is prepared with well sheeting and good soil cover.

Step 13. To use the silage, open the pit from the lower side of the slope, take the enough silage fodder for one day and close the pit again.

It takes about 30 to 40 days for the silage to mature and be ready for feeding. Never open the whole silage pit at once.

Read: Water storage can help farmers during dry seasons

Silage quality

Silage can be classified as good quality depending on its physical characteristics like taste, smell, and colour but more precisely by measuring the pH in the pit.

A pH of 3.5 to 4.2 indicates excellent fresh acidic/sweetish silage, 4.2 to 4.5 for good acidic, 4.5 to 5.0 fair less acidic and above 5.0 for poor pungent/rancid smelling silage.

Good silage should be light greenish or greenish brown or golden in colour. It should have a pleasant smell like that of vinegar, and acidic in taste, and should not contain mould.

Black indicates poor silage. Overheated silage has the smell of burnt sugar and dry in texture. Badly fermented silage has offensive taste, strong smell, slimy soft texture when rubbed from the fibre or leaf.

Read: Why buy vegetables while you can have your own bag garden?

Feeding Dairy cows with silage

A cow is fed with silage depending on the body weight or generally be given about 6kg to 15kg of silage per day. It is advisable not to feed silage immediately before or during milking especially when the quality is poor as the milk can easily take the smell of the feeds. During these times, a cow can be fed fresh grass, hay, legumes and concentrates. After feeding silage, the bunks and corners of the feeding troughs should be cleaned immediately to prevent contamination.

Read: Profitable poultry farming and production in Kenya

Dairy farmers in Kenya should consider making their own silage rather than buying from outside. If you are planning on having your own silage, plant maize.

 

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How to make millions from watermelons farming

Any successful agribusiness in Kenya is either derived through dream, vision, hobby, passion or money. Every person has a dream, some of them from childhood. However, unless you act on your vision/dream, it will remain to be that; dream. Some of you would like to grow watermelons and do not know how.

Watermelons are very popular in Kenya and one bite into a sweet, juicy watermelon can make you smile. It has a high demand, which makes it a profitable fruit to grow. With a growing concern among Kenyans to stay healthy, watermelons are an instant favorite as they are mostly made of water, are plenty in nutrients and are low in calories. The best part is growing watermelons in Kenya is easy, you can reap a lot of profit from a mere acre of land. Watermelons need space to grow because of their vines, so make sure you space them well. Here is how to grow watermelons in Kenya.

soils

Watermelons are known to do well in sandy loam soils that are slightly acidic and well-drained. When watermelons are planted on heavy soils, they develop slowly, making the fruits size and quality to be inferior.
Temperatures
Watermelons do well in temperatures ranging between 220 and 280 C. Cold temperatures below 150C may cause stagnation of fruits.

Rainfall

Optimum rainfall requirement per cropping season is 600 mm and 400 mm is considered minimum. Excessive humidity may favor leaf diseases and also affect flowering.

Propagation

Watermelons are commonly direct seeded, except under conditions where the growing season is short, whereby transplants raised in containers are used. For the direct seeded, the planting depth is about 2cm and between row spacing is 1.5-1.8m, while the intra-row spacing is 30-60cm.

Transplants

Instead of planting directly in the field and have 3 weeks of accumulated weeds germination and insect attacks to battle with, planting of seeds in seed trays in a protected area for later transplant into the field when at least 2 permanent leaves have developed, is a very viable option. Watermelon is grafted in some production areas

Application of Fertilizers

Application of nitrogenous fertilisers is based on soil type. Soils with high organic matter require 80kg N/ha, while light soils require 140kg N/ha.
The nitrogenous fertiliser should be applied and incorporated into the soil at planting time. Phosphorus and potassium applications are based on soil tests, and both should also be applied at the time of planting.

Pollination of Watermelons

Watermelons produce separate male and female flowers. Male flowers are produced initially, followed by production of both sexes usually at a ratio of 1 female to 7 males. Watermelon flowers are viable for only one day hence important to have pollinating insects.

Weeding

To be done regularly to keep the field clean. Avoid injuring the plants when weeding. Fruit pruning-Remove blossom-end rot fruits to promote additional fruit set and better size of the remaining melons. If a market demands larger melons, remove all but three or four well shaped melons from each plant. To avoid disease spread, do not prune melons when vines are wet.

Read: Ksh 2000 for an Apple? Here are the most expensive fruits in the world

Harvesting

If a farmer wants to know whether watermelons are ripe and ready for harvesting, he should tap their tough covering with his finger. If they produce a dull sound, it means they are ready. You can also check the bottom part that lies on the ground; if it’s yellow, the fruit has ripened.
One acre of land if given the care as it is required should produce 15,000 fruits that weighs between 8Kg to 12 Kg or more, depending on the variety. Assuming you get 10,000 fruits in your first harvest, you can easily make Ksh 1,300,000 if you sell at Ksh 100. Watermelons can be harvested twice an year making it possible to make millions. Waste no time, invest in agribusiness as it is the future.

Read: Water storage can help farmers during dry seasons

Storage

Ensure minimum handling of melons, as extra handling is expensive and may harm the fruits.
Rotation-Watermelons can be rotated with cereals, legumes or cabbages

Pests

  • Whiteflies
  • Aphids
  • Flea Beetles
  • Red spider mites
  • Diseases

  • Damping-off diseases
  • Root-knot nematodes
  • Powdery mildew

 

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Ksh 2000 for an Apple? Here are the most expensive fruits in the world

What Kenyans don’t know is that fruit farming is a venture that is done everywhere in the world. Imagine on a hot day seated under a tree sipping an ice-cold mango juice! Fruits and especially tropical fruits are highly valued in the world. However, there are crazy people in the world who will pay thousands of shillings for just a single fruit, either for its sweetness or just for class. Below are some of the most expensive fruits in the world.

10. Buddha shaped pears

They are found in China. According to Chinese myth, if you eat a buddha shaped pear you can become a model. This myth makes its very expensive selling at KSh 8,000 for a pair.

9. Sekai Ichi Apples

The world when translated means number one. These fruits are huge (about 15 inches all round and weigh about 1 Kg). The fruits were developed in 1974 and are still the most expensive apples in the world. A normal apple will cost you around KSh 25- KSh 30 while Sekai Apple will cost you KSh 2,100.

8. Dekopon Citrus Fruits

Dekopon fruits
Dekopon

If you are a lover of oranges, then you will definitely like dekopon citrus. They are larger than the normal oranges (size of softball). They are considered as the sweetest oranges in the world. Dekopon fruits were first grown in 1972 and only the perfectly grown make the cut and are shipped in the stores. A pack of 6 fruits costs KSh 8,000.

Read: Why buy vegetables while you can have your own bag garden?

7. Sembikiya Queen Strawberry

These are the most beautiful strawberries in existence. The appearance is what you pay for. They are red all over and the leaf on the outside is perfect and its totally dark green. Those who have eaten them say that they are so beautiful that eating them makes you feel guilty. If you are interested, be ready to part with KSh. 8, 500.

6. Square Watermelons

Melon fruits
square water melons

These are grown in Japan and were first shipped out of japan in 2014. They are square shaped because they are grown in a box. A single square watermelon weighs around 6.5Kg. They are only for the rich because those who buy them don’t even eat them, they display in their homes for decoration. If you are interested, be ready to part with KSh 80,000.

Read: Why You should shift gears to Hass avocado and Macadamia farming

5. Pineapples from the lost gardens of Heligan

The fruit was nurtured over two years using traditional and very expensive Victorian gardening techniques at the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. Horticulturalists created tropical conditions using small greenhouses heated using a chemical reaction between 30 tonnes of manure, urine and piles of straw. The gardens have been growing pineapples the same way since the 19th century, when they used to rent them out to wealthy Victorian families as a dinner table decoration. If you are interested in you will have to part with KSh. 100,000.

4. Taiyo no Tamango Mangoes

The name means eggs in the sun although they do not taste like eggs-they are just named after eggs. They are very sweet and do not have high sugar content. The highest paid price for these mangoes is KSh 300,000.

3. Ruby Roman Grapes

If you are obsessed with eating grapes in supermarket while you shop, this is not something you can do with ruby roman grapes. They are grown in Ishikawa Japan and they are known as table grapes. Normal grapes say in Kenya would cost you KSh 600 a kilo while Ruby Roman will cost you KSh 400,000 a bunch.

2. The Densuke Watermelon

densuke-watermelon fruit
densuke-watermelon

They are much larger than the typical melon with an average size of 10kg. Instead of having a green color, they are black. Grown in Japan where only 10,000 are grown yearly. Normally these watermelons are bought by the rich (the rich like rare things). One watermelon costs KSh 610,000.

Read: How to control various soil diseases in our farms

1.Banana Art

These are normal bananas where artists develop some art on them and sell them to the rich people at very high prices. Many Kenyans would ask why they would pay thousands of shillings just for a banana that won’t last forever. Well, in this world there are crazy people who have much money and look for ways to spend it.

Read: Cost and returns of establishing successful dairy farm

In our motherland Kenya, for you to be counted as a farmer, grow hass avocados, tissue culture bananas, Mangoes, Kiwi, Macadamia.

 

 

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Water storage can help farmers during dry seasons

water storage

Farmers in Kenya are at times hindered from daily activities due to lack of enough water. However, with Kenya being well geographically placed with quite some rain during the season, Kenyans can store water and use it when it is dry.

Kenya’s per capita water is less than 600 cubic metres, which is below the global threshold of 1,000, making it one of the chronically water-scarce nations. Kenya’s water problem is, thought-provoking: if millions are not threatened by severe drought, they are fighting to remain afloat amid raging floods. Water scarcity is one of the major challenges to sustainable food production the world over, and climate change experts warn that it will only get worse as the world’s population continues rising. But local farmers can alleviate this situation by investing in water harvesting technologies and irrigation.

In Kenya, reservoirs and rock pools are common water storage facilities in homes or farms. A number of people use these methods of water storage to either harvest or store water which is often used either in normal home operations or in farms.

The urge to ensure there is adequate water that can push families into cluttering the garden with many unsightly tanks. Although the sight of one or two overhead tanks in the garden can be forgiven, it’s important to find a better way to place the water storage systems in the compound without interfering with the landscaping of the surrounding farm.

Also Read: Why You should shift gears to Hass avocado and Macadamia farming

Ways Of Storing Water

There are a number of options that you can explore to ensure you collect and store water depending on the space available and the water requirement for one’s home or farm. For instance, a home with high dependency on rain water due to perennial water shortage may deem it necessary to have several huge underground tanks. On the other hand, a small family may only settle for an overhead tank with a capacity of 10,000 litres, rather than digging a dam or building a rock pool in their property.

The type of water storage system can only be settled on after the family has identified its water needs. This helps one know the capacity of water storage facility needed. After which, one can choose among the available options.

However, an underground tank is one of the best choices for individuals keen on maintaining a proper manicured garden in their compound. The tank is concealed below the garden surface and is constructed using concrete. Drainage systems are put in place to trap water and guide it to the tank below. Underground tanks are often used by people practicing rain water harvesting.

Also Read: Why buy vegetables while you can have your own bag garden?

After constructing the tank, grass and trees are grown on the surface, to give the garden a flawless look.  Other than concrete, bricks can also be used to construct the underground tank that can be as big as one may wish. In case you are not sure about how to go about it, get help from experts on rain water harvesting. Landscapers can also assist homeowners to design the garden, as well as recommend the best trees or plants to be grown on the surface.

Water tanks can be camouflaged by either being placed on a tower that is raised above the ground. If it’s not too high up, it can have creeping plants grown around the tank or made to resemble the garden pattern or design.

A water tank with a pattern similar to the garden layout or landscape is creative and attractive. It’s pleasant to the eye and adds value to the garden. The design can be done according to one’s taste and preference.

It is paramount to increase investment in terms of water storage techniques, including storing groundwater during wet season, harvesting rainwater and conserving soil moisture through storing water in the ground.