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Starting a Fruit Farming Business in Kenya and What It requires

hass avocado fruit farming in Kenya

African countries and particularly Kenya are blessed with a fertile soil which makes it grow diverse ranges of food crops including fruits and vegetables. Starting a fruit farming business is growing day by day in the country as farmers and other entrepreneurs have profited in this business venture.

Fruits are stable commodity which can be found in the local markets just like other food crops and in numerous quality and types which generally has a great health and medicinal benefits, and as well highly sought after, this has made it be one of the lucrative businesses anyone can engage in or use to complement their earnings.

What are the Key Steps of succeeding in Fruit Farming Business?

In fruit business, it doesn’t matter if you are a professional farmer or still a novice, once you follow the guidelines below you will be able to succeed in any fruit farming business you chose.

  • As mentioned earlier, there are many fruits varieties and types in Kenya, there is no way you can farm it all, therefore it is better you know what kind of fruit that you want to venture in, for example, hass avocado, Macadamia, Tree tomato, mangoes, oranges, water melon etc., but not after considering what kind of fruits the local market will need, what kind of fruit can effectively grow in your region considering weather and climate conditions, which one will yield more profits etc., After you have gotten answers to your questions during the course of your market research, then plan on the next thing.
  • For any fruit business that you want to start, make sure that you have an adequate knowledge on how to plant it and its best planting season, how to get the seedlings (always ensure you buy from certified nurseries), care and maintenance processes required, when to add fertilizer, how to know it’s time for harvest est. You can get the proper training by working on such specific fruit farm in order to get the basic knowledge that will help you succeed.

Earn more than 10 million per acre with 40k investment.

  • Start Small: Every farming business needs a land, in this kind of business you can buy or lease a land in Kenya depending on your financial status, but as a beginner, it is better to start small so refrain from acquiring a large piece of land for now until you have successfully passed your experimental stage.
    Starting small will help in the effective management of the fruit crops, and will make you to easily face some challenges which might occur at the course of the farming process and as well learn from your mistakes thereby giving you a better experience that will help you handle large fruit farming operation.
  • When choosing a land for this kind of business, don’t lease a land or buy just for the sake of farming; ensure that you have check the soil type and composition which is one of the main determinants for effective yield and growth. The soil should be composed of humus and other essential minerals which can be determined by conducting or carrying out a soil test, but you can also add more vital nutrients to the soil when preparing the land for cultivation by adding organic manure or fertilizer. Check the pH value as well to make sure that it normal, neither too acidic nor alkaline.
  • Get Certified Seedlings from Oxfarm: Get the best seedlings from other local nursery operators or institutions in Kenya that oversees the affairs of farming and agricultural practice. Getting the right and healthy seedlings will determine what you will gain in return when they fully develop and mature into fruits.
  • Fruit trees are attacked by diseases and pests, therefore you should not wait till it starts before sourcing for one, get the right pest control, fungicides etc., for effective and timely management of your crops when such need arises.
  • Fruits are highly perishable, so while waiting for it to grow, use that opportunity to start sourcing for new and additional customers so that once it is time for harvest you can confidently sell to already available potential customers to avoid it spoiling and making you lose your profits. Plant hass avocado through our Package and we will take care of market.

In Kenya and other parts of the world, fruit business is lucrative as it forms parts of our daily meal. Make sure you know the essential things which will make you succeed and excel more than others just it has been provided for you in this document.

For all types of tree fruit business, don’t fail to contact us.

 

 

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Why is Value-added Farming Important for the future of farmers in Kenya?

Value-added farming

A careful assessment shows that value-added Farming is an important component of sustainable rural development. The future of value-added Farming will depend on the involvement and commitment of farmers and rural residents.  Success is not dependent on any government program.  Although the government  can play an important role, it is only a supplemental role.  The key driver is farmers and rural residents who want to shoulder the responsibility for making it work.

Value-added Farming entails changing a raw agricultural product into something new through packaging, processing, cooling, drying, extracting or any other type of process that differentiates the product from the original raw commodity. Examples of value added agricultural products include yogurt, jam, juice, pumpkin flour, banana flour, crisps, e.t.c. Adding value to agricultural products is a worthwhile endeavor because of the higher returns that come with the investment, the opportunity to open new markets and extend the producer’s marketing season as well as the ability to create new recognition for the farm. Increasingly, value-added products are hitting the local market as producers take advantage of high-demand product niches. This is the key to success in value added Farming—niche markets are where smaller producers can be most successful in creating value and establishing a profitable business.

How to establish the type of irrigation needed in your farm

Challenges of Value-added farming to Kenyans

Tree tomato Juice (Product of Tamarillo farm in Mweiga Nyeri County)

Value added Farming is not without its challenges to farmers. One of the largest hurdles to overcome is that of food business and safety regulations. For example, if you are interested in taking your tree tomatoes and turning them into a high quality jam that you can sell at the local farmers’ market, you must be a licensed. These regulation challenges make it difficult to get started in the value added business, but with a solid business plan in place, producers can be successful in overcoming obstacles to their food business dream.

Another example of a significant challenge for starting a value-added business is putting together your recipes or formulations for the product you are developing. For instance, making soap requires time and effort in finding the right recipe for high-quality soap. You will also want to research the market potential for your product in order to define your customer profile, so that you are not wasting your time in formulating a product that will not sell.

Starting a value-added agricultural business is an exciting opportunity for the small farmer interested in diversifying and exploring new markets, but starting small and finding your niche is key to your long-term success. Evaluate the risks associated with the business and have a solid plan in place to keep you on the right track.

Market opportunities exist for the creation of viable value-added businesses.  The question facing us is whether farmers and rural residents have the skills and commitment to take advantage of good opportunities and build them into viable businesses.  Oxfarm Ag is designed to help you identify and assess these opportunities and build successful businesses especially in the tree fruit business.

One successful farmer and entrepreneur that we have partnered with is Tamarillo farm in Mweiga Nyeri. The company makes jam, juice and chilli sauce from tree tomato fruits. You too can make it, just dream and follow your dreams.

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Have you ever heard of the amazing Stinging Nettle?

Stinging Nettle

You may have by now seen this plant that when touched with bare hands irritates and can cause rushes. To some communities in Kenya, it is a curse but to those who know it, its a blessing as its a source of food and other many benefits. The Agikuyu for instance have for so long been using stinging nettle leaves in cooking their favorite dish (Mukimo). Apart from that, Stinging nettle (Hatha/Thabai), as they call it is used to cure several diseases.

The stinging nettle is a herbaceous flowering plant which is a subspecies of, and belongs to the Urtica genus. The stinging nettle is a small plant and it rarely grows past five feet in height, but is has a huge variety of health benefits. The stinging nettle plant has stinging hairs called trichomes on their leaves and stems, which, when touched by humans, injects chemicals such as histamine into the human body, thus giving it the name ‘stinging nettle’. It is also due to this very reason that this plant also has colloquial names such as burn nettle, burn weed and burn hazel.

Nutritional Value of Stinging Nettle

While the name ‘stinging nettle’ often makes it seem like it cannot be consumed, that is not true. This plant actually offers great nutritional value. A single cup of blanched stinging nettles comprises of 37 calories, and 0.1 grams of fat. It has no sodium, fat, cholesterol, or sugar in it, but it provides a substantial amount of carbohydrates and protein. One cup of stinging nettle contains 2.4 grams of protein and 6.6 grams of carbohydrates. Stinging nettles also have minerals such as potassium, iron and silica.

Nutritional facts Per 100 Grams

42 Calories

0.1 g Total Fat

4 mg Sodium

334 mg Potassium

7 g Total Carbohydrate

2.7 g Protein

Vitamins and Minerals

40 % Vitamin A

0.48 Calcium

8 % Iron

5 % Vitamin B-6

40 % Magnesium

What are the Health Benefits of Stinging Nettle?

Helps in detoxification

The stinging nettle has a huge variety of nutrients in it, thus making it an ideal natural detoxifier. It helps cleanse the body of all toxins. It is a diuretic substance, which means that it can not only cleanse toxins from the body, but it can also ensure that any toxins that are being neutralized in the body are eliminated from the body as quickly as possible. Stinging nettles also help stimulate the lymphatic system, thus helping the body to get rid of excess toxins from the kidneys.

Aids in pregnancy

The stinging nettle has often been recommended to women who undergo extremely painful labour. The stinging nettle acts as a coagulant, thus helping prevent excessive bleeding. Additionally, stinging nettle has been proven very effective in helping to stimulate the production of milk in the body of a woman, thus making lactation easier for the mother as well as for the infants.

Hass Avocado Farming Training (Open Day) in Tetu Sub county Nyeri

Improves blood circulation

Stinging nettle has a high content of iron and vitamin C, thus making it ideal for helping stimulate production and growth of red blood cells, which consequently improves blood circulation in the body. The presence of Vitamin C helps increase uptake of iron by the body, and since iron is an essential compound present in hemoglobin, blood circulation is drastically improved. Also, with the increase in RBC count, healing of wounds speed up, and the body receives oxygenation essential for boosting overall energy levels.

Helps improve feminine health

Stinging nettle has often been shown to alleviate painful menstrual symptoms such as cramping and bloating. It also helps decrease premenstrual symptoms. Stinging nettle helps decrease blood flow during menstruation due to its capabilities as an astringent. It is also administered to women undergoing menopause, as it acts as a restorative, and thus smooths the transition process, so the shift in hormones is not as drastic as it otherwise would have been.

Improves kidney and gallbladder health

Stinging nettle is essentially a diuretic, and has nephritic qualities, which means that it can easily break down stones in the gall bladder and the kidneys. This ensures that pain is reduced as much as possible. In case the stones have to be surgically removed, stinging nettle is often used to reduce pain and inflammation. Since it is a diuretic, stinging nettle helps prevent bladder infections and retention of excess fluid in the body.

Has anti-inflammatory properties

Stinging nettle is a rubefacient substance, and a stimulant, which is why it acts as an effective agent against inflammatory conditions such as muscle pain or arthritis. Research has proven that stinging nettle helps effectively treat conditions such as gout. It also helps alleviate muscle pain, and reduces symptoms of arthritis.

Treats respiratory conditions

Stinging nettle helps in the treatment of quite a large number of respiratory conditions such as asthma, hay fever, and other seasonal allergies. If used in combination with certain other extracts, stinging nettle can help in the reduction of allergic reactions in patients suffering from various kinds of allergies.

Keeps the heart healthy

With regular consumption, stinging nettle can successfully lower systolic blood pressure, thus making sure the heart remains healthy and fit for a longer period of time. A decrease in systolic blood pressure means that there is a lesser amount of stress and tension on the cardiovascular system.

Improves health of the prostate

As men age, problems related to prostate enlargement and other diseases of the prostate become widespread. Stinging nettle can help prevent prostate growth due to its chemical composition. In case the disease has set in and cannot be prevented anymore, even in such cases, stinging nettle can reverse the condition effectively, thus treating any and all prostate problems.

Improves gastrointestinal health

Supplements made from the stinging nettle extract are often taken to help reduce nausea, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. Stinging nettle can also help soothe hemorrhoids and ulcers.

Useful for skin care

Stinging nettle has been proven to effectively treat and reduce the appearance of acne. It can also prevent bacterial infections. Due to the fact that it has antioxidant properties, stinging nettle can help speed healing of wounds as well as reduce the appearance of blemishes and scars. It also promotes anti-aging by helping reduce wrinkles and age spots.

Uses of Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle is a health-boosting herb that has a variety of amines, flavonoids, lignans, minerals, and vitamins A, B2, C and K. It has been used for hundreds of years as an effective treatment for muscle and joint pains, and for the treatment of diseases such as gout and arthritis. Certain extracts of the stinging nettle have been found to be very effective in treating conditions such as diarrhea, edema, and other prostate and urinary disorders. It is often used directly on the hair as an effective treatment against dandruff, as well as to add shine to the hair. The stinging nettle can also be used as a herbal remedy in the treatment of hay fever, as this plant possesses the ability to reduce production of histamine in the body.

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Side-Effects & Allergies of Stinging Nettle

The stinging nettle does not generally have any side effects if taken in doses directed by the doctor. It is very important to administer caution while handling the plant, because touching it bare handed can cause allergic rashes and reactions.

Cultivation of Stinging Nettle

The stinging nettle has its origins in the cold regions of Asia and Northern Europe. Today, however, this plant grows all over the world. The stinging nettle need soil rich in nitrogen for its growth, and can mostly be found in areas that are not very well tended to, such as gardens, lawns and other areas such as construction sites. This plant can also be found in areas with moderate forest coverage, as well as open meadows. Stinging Nettle just grow wildly !

CAUTION:  Stinging nettles should be planted away in obscure corners where innocent visitors are not likely to be stung, Always watch children to make sure they stay in the safe zone.

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How can farmers In Kenya Increase Their Profit Margin?

Tomato Farmers in Kenya

Farming is not just farming but a business as well. We have realized that increasing profit margin from farming uses similar strategies as other industries across the country. Farmers look to maximize labor, reduce spending and maximize revenue so the business can retain as much profit as possible. Short of simply raising prices, there are a number of strategies farmers can employ to increase profit margin without sacrificing the quality of products brought to the market.

Selling to Local Businesses

Selling to local community markets and grocery stores can help a farmer decrease transportation costs for products and increase profit margin. A farmer selling farm produce to local grocery stores and markets doesn’t have to hire transportation to reach delivery destinations that are far, which cuts down on fuel costs and strain on delivery equipment. A farmer also reduces payroll by having shorter delivery routes for drivers. Local grocery stores prize produce from local growers because of the increasing number of consumers looking to reduce carbon footprint through the purchase of locally grown products.

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Investing in Alternative Energy

Investing in alternative energy solutions, including solar power, can allow a farmer to reduce energy costs and increase profit. Solar power can provide a cheaper form of energy to power farm equipment than conventionally generated electricity.

Crop Rotation Habits

Proper crop rotation strategies can help reduce a farmer’s fertilizer costs, enrich the soil, and increase take-home earnings. For example, planting beans when maize isn’t in season increases nitrogen content in the soil. These strategies can also help kill off harmful insects and retard the growth of harmful bacteria. Integrated Pest Management,  can help a farmer operating on a small or large scale to bring a greater percentage of produce and other food products to market. The increased yield, combined with healthier soil, allows a farmer to retain a greater percentage of his revenue as profit.

Improving Farm Equipment

Purchasing more efficient farm equipment, including tractors, harvesters and grain separators, can help reduce a farmer’s equipment costs in the long run and lead to increased profits. A farmer incurs increased costs up front to purchase more energy-efficient equipment, but the savings the farmer receives in reduced fuel and maintenance costs over time can outpace those up-front expenditures. Purchasing new capital assets expected to earn income for the farm also allows a farmer to recoup these expenditures over a number of years through depreciation. This ensures the farmer has eligible tax deductions over the useful lives of these items.

Farmers Should Boost irrigation

With the growing effects of climate change on weather patterns, more irrigation will be needed. Average yields in irrigated farms are 90% higher than those of nearby rain-fed farms.

Increase the use of fertilizers

As soil fertility deteriorates, fertilizer use must increase. Kenyan National in collaboration with local governments need to ensure the right type of fertilizers are available at the right price, and at the right times. Fertilizer education lessens the environmental impact and an analysis of such training programs in Kenya found they boosted average incomes by 61%.

Improve market access, regulations, and governance

Improving rural infrastructure such as roads is crucial to raising productivity through reductions in shipping costs and the loss of perishable produce. Meanwhile, providing better incentives to farmers, including reductions in food subsidies, could raise agricultural output by nearly 5%.

Make better use of information technology

Information technology can support better crop, fertilizer and pesticide selection. It also improves land and water management, provides access to weather information, and connects farmers to sources of credit. Simply giving farmers information about crop prices in different markets has increased their bargaining power.

 

For more information, keep visiting our website.

 

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Hass Avocado Farming Training (Open Day) in Tetu Sub county Nyeri

Hass avocado training

HOST – AVOCADO TRAINING

Nyeri county department of Agriculture, TEHU (Tetu Huhoini) hass avocado group and Business Innovation Facility (BIF) organized and held an open day for Tetu sub county hass avocado farmers in Kigogini sub location, Tetu location at Mbao’s farm.

Present officers included Nyeri county agriculture Director Ms Mary Njine, agribusiness Nyeri representative Ms Editor, Mr Amedeo from AFA Nyeri, Others in agriculture department include Mr. Rukwaro Kagwaini (Host), Agnes from Aguthi-Gaaki Ward, Mr. Gatere from Wamagana ward, George Muraguri from Nyeri Central (Plants Clinic department), Mr. Mbao from Othaya Sub county etc.

Business Innovation Facilities (BIF) in patnership with Nyeri County want to assist Nyeri avocado farmers to market their fruits. BIF want to link farmers with marketers and at the same time ensuring farmers engage in best practices on avocado farming.

Planting and Management of Hass Avocados

Mr. Chege from BIF insisted on following the right procedures during planting and caring for the trees. He insisted that hygiene while transplanting should be adhered to. Hass avocado should be planted at a spacing of 5m by 5m to a max of 10m by 10m. However, after several years, thinning should be done so as to have at most 120 trees in an acre. Pruning should also be done and the best time to do so is immediately after harvest. “don’t wait for your trees to flower, you will be tempted not to prune” Mr. Chege Reiterated. He also advised Tetu farmers who were very eager to learn to ensure their trees don’t go above 15ft high. This according to him will ensure there is enough sunlight and easy while picking. In addition, a farmer should ensure there are no dry branches as this harbors diseases and other fungal infections.

Manure Application

Mr. Chege noted that trees are just like mothers,” strong mothers will give birth to strong babies, same as these trees”. Its therefore necessary to ensure manure is applied every season. Farmers were cautioned not to apply manure just at the base of the tree since there are no feeder roots there. A farmer should dig a trench around the tree root zone and apply at least three wheelbarrows per tree. The same method should be used in water application (If need be). In case a farmer doesn’t have enough manure, fertilizer can also be applied (not recommended for organic farming). The recommended fertilizer is NPK 17.17.17.

Marketing of Hass Avocado

Another speaker Mr. Denis from BIF cautioned farmers from harvesting their fruits before they are fully mature. He noted that we are favored by the market as our fruits mature differently from major distributors in South America. South American countries such as Mexico, Peru and Brazil produce avocados mainly between Jan and March while tropical areas such as Kenya produce from [may all the way to September.

Read Also: Reasons Why Hass Avocado is Preferred over other Varieties

Pests and Diseases

Mr. Denis told farmers that hass avocado doesn’t have many enemies in terms of diseases. However, farmers were cautioned to ensure there is no weed or any other plants around the trees as the weed can harbor fungal diseases. Dry branches as had said by Mr. Chege also increases the chances of fungal growth. However, in the recent times hass avocados has had new enemies(insects) these insects eat soft leaves lowering the flowering process as well as production. Since most farmers are small scale farmers, it’s not economical to spray the trees and the best way to control such pests is to use fruit fly trap. If you have an acre under hass avocado, you only need 4 traps distributed evenly. The fruit fly according to Denis has a chemical that entices the male insects trapping them hence reducing their production and eventually a farmer has a clear farm free from pests.

Power of Unity

TEHU (Tetu Huhoini) a group of hass avocado farmers in Dedan Kimathi ward was formed with an intention of uniting farmers and removing the middlemen who over years have exploited the farmers. “So, what do you get as a farmer” Mr. Muthami the chairman of TEHU group asked the farmers. He noted that when small farmers join for a common goal and work together, they have a bargaining power and can’t be exploited. In addition, Mr. Muthami insisted that every exporter/investor wants volume. ” There is no investor who will come here for 5 fruits”. He also noted that there is job creation since young men from the region will get pruning and harvesting jobs. In his speech, Mr. Muthami noted that now the president has signed deals with many countries including china on exports such as Hass avocado. However, Muthami noted that, it’s not the president who will export, it’s the individuals who now have that goodwill from the government.

Mr. Muthami noted that, if you as a farmer think that you can go alone, well do so but note that the risks are high. When they were founding TEHU as a group, farmers in the region used to get Ksh 3-5 per fruit but since they formed the group, the prices have changed and this year they recorded prices at an average of Ksh 12 per hass fruit. “Don’t get satisfied, keep fighting for better” Mr. Muthami said. He noted that they will keep fighting and they hope they will get higher prices next year.

Mr. Muthami also noted that they already have more than 10,000 mature trees among their members and by 2020 their target is to have more than 30,000 trees.

Message From Nyeri County Government

Nyeri county was well represented by Mrs. Mary Njine, the Nyeri Director of Agriculture. She noted that although the county had previously embarked on supplying seedlings to farmers, some didn’t sprout while others dried up. According to her, its mainly because the farmers never followed the right procedures. She also said that going forward, the county can’t just supply seedlings because of the laws of acquisition which states that there must be public participation to ensure accountability.  Local leadership, i.e., MCA’s, Mp’s and opinion leaders must also be involved and included in such processes.

Mrs. Njine urged farmers to harvest water this short rainy season. She noted that it rains everywhere but the difference will be between those who will harvest and those who will not. However, she cautioned farmers not to just dig trenches but have them inspected by agricultural officers.

Mrs. Njine also urged farmers to register with sub-county agricultural officers and get government subsidized fertilizers.

One Mrs. Ngambi ,a vocal opinion leader in Karaihu-Githakwa asked Mrs. Njane to ensure there is a processing plant in Nyeri County to ensure the farmers sell processed avocado as it would increase the prices and offer more jobs. Mrs. Njine while answering noted that is in pipeline but farmers should ensure they have quantity and volume since a factory process large quantities and can only be in place if it will have economic value.

Message From C.E.O OxfarmAg Ltd

OxfarmAg Ltd was among the exhibitors and stakeholders of the open day where Mr. Dickson Kahuro C.E.O OxfarmAg Ltd also Chairman of Mt Kenya Certified Nursery & Orchards Operators, had a chance of addressing farmers. He noted that there are selfish people and companies who over time now have been going round with false statements that seedling sellers are selling substandard seedlings. While he noted that it might be true, he urged farmers to ensure they buy their seedlings from certified nurseries such as Oxfarm, Aden Nursery, Forest Edge nursery, and Aberdare Technologies Ltd also who were present on the day.

The certifying bodies include, KEPHIS and HCD. Any farmer buying the seedlings should request for a certification from the seller. He also noted that with the current trends, the hass avocado market is growing tremendously and farmers should plant more and form marketing groups so as to have better bargaining powers. He also hailed the support from Nyeri county government, other bodies such as AFA, and the local leadership for continued support to farmers.

OxfarmAg Ltd is an agricultural company which aims at easing the work of a farmers for them to focus on production. The company has fruit tree nurseries and demo in Nyeri (Mkulima Wa Nyeri farm), in Nairobi (Ridgeways farm),Embu and many other nurseries across the country.

 

(Contact Mkulima Wa Nyeri Farm on 0706222888)

 

Mkulima Wa Nyeri: “Future Billionaires will be Farmers”

 

Photos of the Day

 

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Do you have trouble with pests and Diseases in your Fruit Farm?

There is nothing satisfying like the taste of a fruit straight from the garden. To add to that satisfaction knowing that the fruit is organically grown or is free from pesticides. The commercial fruit farmers in Kenya are more worried of the earnings they would get. This article recommends pest and disease control through the use of good practice, resistant varieties and low toxicity environmentally friendly products.

Pest and Disease Control in Fruit

The organic gardening philosophy is to let nature take its course, for all organisms to live in balance and therefore accept a level of pest and disease damage.

However most gardeners want to harvest good crops relatively free of pests and diseases, grown in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner.

This article guides the home farmer to methods of pest and disease control that best suits their needs, taking into account –

  • Good yields, relatively free of pests and diseases.
  • Using best farm practices to minimize pests and diseases.
  • Using only safe environmentally friendly products.
  • Using products that are commonly available in home garden size packs and are legally registered for the purpose stated.

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Reducing Pest & Diseases

Using good basic farming practices to minimize pests and diseases is common to all farmers, whether conventional or organic. In simple terms—providing the best growing conditions to ensure a strong healthy crop.

The following are the simple basics –

  • In heavy soils, raise the planting area above the surrounding soil to ensure good drainage.
  • Add lots of compost and work into the soil.
  • Mulching with compost, grass clippings (free from any spray residue), or straw holds in moisture and improves soil structure.
  • Provide adequate balanced feeding—sheep manure pellets or a fruit tree fertiliser.
  • Provide good deep watering in dry periods.
  • Practice good farm hygiene by removing all diseased leaves and plants.

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Using pests and Diseases Resistant Varieties

While a few traditional varieties may be disease resistance, there are a range of modern varieties that are better. For example, the new grafted hass avocados and grafted tree tomatoes are resistant to many diseases. Using disease resistant varieties will ensure better crops and greatly minimize the need to use fungicides. We can assist you know the best varieties that are best suited to your area and resistant to disease.

Using Biological Controls

Biological control involves using another living organism to attack the bad one. This is becoming common with commercial growers, but these organisms are not available to home farmers.

What can be done however is to endeavor to use only pesticides that are soft on desirable insects such as bees, ladybirds and predator mites.

Using Pesticides

If good farming practices are followed and disease resistant varieties used, the use of pesticides can be minimized.

There is a range of  very low toxicity, environmentally friendly pesticides available to home gardeners. Also, be aware that some pesticides are toxic—both chemical and natural organic. Being natural organic doesn’t necessarily make it safe.

Prevention is better than cure. Once you have gained experience and are aware of what pests and/or diseases attack which crops, you will be able to anticipate and spray at the first sign, which is more effective and minimizes pesticide use.

NB: Follow recommended spray programmes for each type of fruit, especially the early season preventative sprays

Always read the label

  • The label is a legal document for registered pesticides.
  • Take normal precautions when handling concentrates during mixing.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after using.
  • Store out of reach of children.

Which Pesticides should I use?

Fruits are susceptible to attack from a greater range of pests and diseases than vegetables.

There are also a number of complicating issues –

  • Different pests and diseases attack different fruits.
  • Most pesticides are only approved for use on some fruits.
  • There is also significant variation in the effectiveness of pesticides.
  • Withholding periods also vary between pesticides and between different fruits.

There are generally three choices for which type of pesticide you can use — ‘organic’, ‘environmentally friendly’ or other pesticides approved for use.

Pesticides vary greatly in effectiveness. While organic pesticides are usually safer (but not always) they are generally less effective.

Synthetic pesticides approved for home farming use are very low in toxicity compared to commercially available pesticides. So much so, that they are often less toxic and more environmentally friendly than an organic equivalent.

Withholding Period

Agriculture and Food Authority has set withholding periods for each pesticide, and particular crop.  The withholding period is the period that must elapse between spraying and harvesting, and is on the label of each product. Most pesticides have withholding periods of 3 to 14 days. Always check the label.

 

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What are the key pros and cons of using pesticides in our Farms?

Kenyans have now adopted use of pesticides and herbicides in the recent times. Pesticides are a mix of chemicals that are widely used on plants and crops to prevent damaging insects and animals from destroying them. The introduction of pesticides came around during the Industrial Age and completely changed the agricultural industry. They have created immense benefits and streamlined the harvesting process, however they also have had some significant negative damages to our health and environment. Let’s discover how these frequently used chemicals benefit and effect us by looking at all of the pros and cons associated.

Advantages of Pesticides

More Plentiful Harvest

Unwanted pests like mice and insects eat plants at their early stages and destroy their chances of producing fruits or vegetables. They also come in an contaminate entire plants that have already bloomed, which still renders them useless. They helps to keep all of these destructive pests away from crops, which results in more plants surviving and a larger harvest.

Very Easily Available

All types of pesticides are available in stores around the world and relatively affordable prices. This makes it a great way for people to simply protect their own personal gardens and plants from intrusive little critters.

Weeds Out The Weeds

Another huge benefit of pesticides is that they also take out pesky plants, like weeds. Weeds grow in gardens and fields and take up precious soil space, drink the water meant for the other crops, and can choke out the root systems of them as well.

Lowers The Cost Of Food

Farmers typically include the cost of their losses into the price of the food that they sell to the supermarkets. This cost is then transferred down to the consumer. Losses are much less significant with the use of pesticides.

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Major Disadvantages of Pesticides

Health Concerns

The mix of chemicals that are in pesticides are not safe for human ingestion, but they are still sprayed onto the food that we eat. This raises some major concerns about the health and safety of pesticide use.

Harms Animals and the Environment

Pesticides are designed and made to kill living things, which makes them dangerous to the things that they are not intended to kill. Many animals are killed from consuming plants that have been sprayed. Other types of plants, like grass and flowers, are also greatly affected by the use of pesticides.

Worse For Children

It is highly recommended to not use pesticides in any area that a child will be playing or present frequently. This is because their vital organs are still developing, which causes them to breathe at a faster rate than adults, thus breathing in more of the pesticides. They are also much closer to the ground, which is where the chemicals and danger are.

Home Use Is Not Recommended

One of the most common places that they are used is the residential home. People assume that since they are sold, they are safe. This is not true at all. The effects of pesticides can harm pets, kill good insects and animals that you need around your home, as well as harm your children’s health.

They Build A Resistance

Just like other living things, pests can build up a resistance to the chemicals that are used in the pesticides. This means that you would eventually have to begin using more and more of the product, making it even more dangerous.

Are you eating your way to death? Here are fruits that Prevent Cancer

Access To Poison Is Not Always Good

Pesticides are poison, not only to insects and pests, but to other warm blooded animals such as dogs and humans. A person can go to the store and buy these poisons, and use them on many different things that they are not intended for. Every year 7 people die from a poisoning associated with pesticides.

Facts about Pesticides

  • Scientists say that there is a link between mental illness and long term exposure to pesticides. They are saying that this is the cause of many farmer suicides.
  • Those that have been deemed unsafe remain in the soil and plants for many years, even after they are not used any longer.
  • There are many different types of pesticides, each targeting a specific groups of pest. They include rodenticides, fungicides, and herbicides.
  • The production of crops increase nearly 30 percent when they are used.

If you  can grow plants organically, then that is the best way to go!! In addition, contact us if you need any type of fruit seedlings!

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Are you eating your way to death? Here are fruits that Prevent Cancer

The saying that we are what we eat is so very true. Recognizing and adopting healthy and balanced eating patterns and foods is one of the first steps to ensuring you maintain good health. The other is eating foods that you know can help prevent cancer and fight your risks of getting other diseases.

In Kenya, Cancer is quickly becoming one of the worst burden, where around 60 people die daily and nearly 30,000 cases of cancer are diagonized daily.

Cancer is caused by many factors. However, research has shown that making sure you include certain foods regularly in your diet can go a long way towards preventing from developing. The naturally occurring chemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibers in many different foods can help your body fight the growth of cancer cells. Below are several fruits and other foods that can help you prevent this menace.

Tomato

You can eat tomatoes in salads, make soup, sauces and many other dishes. Stay well away from eating the stems and leaves, but the flesh is also a moderate source of Vitamin C. Some studies suggest lycopene, an oxidant in tomatoes, has anticancer properties

Strawberries

Good news for summer strawberry lovers, strawberries contain the phytochemicals that are considered to have anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties. They are also a great sauce of Vitamin C and manganese

Apples Helps Prevent Cancer

For the best benefits of the anti-cancer phytochemicals in apples, eat their peel (but not their seeds). Apples also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and are good sources of Vitamin C and fibe

Pumpkin and Water-melons

The carotenoids in various types of pumpkin and squash include beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. All good antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Pumpkins and watermelons are also high in Vitamins A and C.

Onions

The humble onion is thought to have many anti-cancer compounds. These include organosulfur compounds, quercetin and anthocyanins thought to lower the risk of many types of cancer. Different varieties such as spring onions, shallots, brown/yellow and red onions have different strengths

Lemons

Lemons and other citrus fruits contain the phytochemicals d-limonene and terpenes, thought to help halt the growth of cancer cells. Juice them and use the peel for added nutritional benefits. They are also rich in Vitamin C

Pineapples

The Bromelain enzyme found in pineapples, for instance, is capable of breaking up the protective layer in tumors. It is found in the stem and fruit of pineapples. It can also promote DNA repair and normal growth of cells. Hence, apart from its cancer-killing properties, it makes normal cells healthier and stronger

Grapes

Grapes prevent cancerClinical cancer research has also shown evidence that grape seed extract can kill three-fourths of leukemia cells by triggering a protein called JNK, which encourages apoptosis in cancer cells. The antioxidant Resveratrol, found in grape seeds, can also influence natural death of cancer cells in the:

  • Lungs
  • Bowel
  • Skin
  • Breast
  • Stomach
  • Prostate.

Grape seed extract and Resveratrol, in fact, have been incorporated in many health supplements because of their therapeutic properties.

Bananas

Some compounds in bananas have been found to be effective in preventing further production of leukemia and liver cancer cells. High consumption of bananas was also linked to a decrease in the risk of:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Oral cancer.

They are also rich in potassium, which is good for the muscles and heart

Reasons Why Hass Avocado is Preferred over other Varieties

Pomegranate

Pomegranate is rich in tannins and flavonoids, both antioxidants which have drawn attention for their healing properties. Preliminary research suggests pomegranate extract can help prevent cancer and the growth of:

  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Lung cancer

Kiwi fruit prevent cancer

Kiwi is well-known for its high vitamin C content, boasting even more than oranges. It is also a powerful antioxidant, as Vitamin C prevents free radical damage. Kiwi consists of flavonoids and carotenoids that protect DNA from the damage or oxidative stress that is cancer. Being packed with vitamins, kiwi is a strong immune booster. It proves its effectiveness in healing different cancers like:

  • Liver cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer

Kiwi extracts prevent cancer cell proliferation, and its active photochemical, catechin, helps in the prevention of cancer and reduces the toxicity of anti-cancer agents.

The question Kenyans will ask is where they can buy the fruits. We all know how some fruits such as pomegranate, grapes, kiwi, strawberry and apples are expensive. Don’t worry, you can have all these fruits in your backyard. Contact us today and we will make this happen.

 

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Why you should venture in Grafted Tree Tomato Trees instead of non-Grafted

Tree Tomato farming

We have heard few people (ignorant) saying that grafted tree tomato are not the best to plant and that the fruits aren’t sweet. Our testimony is different, very few people are growing tree tomatoes and the few that are growing specialize on the non-grafted ones. We must tell you the truth about the secret of growing grafted tree tomato.

Grafting on any crop is done to increase production. What many people don’t know is that normal tree tomato doesn’t have tap root, it only has fibrous roots, this makes it impossible for the tree to get enough water and nutrients from the soil. In addition, it is very week and in most cases its blown by weed.

We normally graft our Red Oratia tree tomato with Bug weed (Muthakwa), this is a wild tree that grows in any condition naturally. The main reason of grafting tree tomato with muthakwa is because, muthakwa is never affected by nematodes and has a tap-root making it ideal to get nutrients from the soil.

Why You should shift gears to Hass avocado and Macadamia farming

Non-Grafted vs Grafted Tree tomato trees (Production)

Tree tomato grows naturally with less care however, if you are doing it commercially or intend to do it commercially, you must look out at a few things that are very essential. These includes, water application, manure application, fertilizer application, pests and diseases control. However those are just general things that ought to be followed to the latter but there is a major concern which is nematodes. Farmers will bear us witness that nematodes are the biggest threat to tomato, potato and tamarillo farming. So how do you fight them? this question has been asked by many farmers and the answer we tell them is that it is hard to do so. However, after several tests and research, it has been approved that grafting tree tomato with Muthakwa is a major boost in the fight against nematodes.

I know some of you will refute these results, but we have the prove. We have both grafted and non grafted tree tomatoes and we can assure you that the production is double if not triple. The Muthakwa tree tomato grows taller, its strong and have many branches. Do you know what this means? it means that the tree is able to carry a big load (doesn’t abort that much). The tree has tap root, it’s not affected by nematodes and its firm. Its lifespan is also enhanced as it can continuously produce fruits for more than six years.

For more information contact us or visit one of our demo farms in Nairobi at Ridgeways Kiambu road or Nyeri Town.

Contact us on 0706222888

 

Grafted Tree Tomato Seedlings

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Amazing benefits of Nduma (Arrow roots) That you Never Knew

Arrow roots a.k.a Nduma as Kenyans like to call them are tubers which were indigenously grown. They were highly regarded in ancient times. Due to the increased lifestyle diseases, many Kenyans are urged to eat healthy and one of the most recommended source of starch is arrowroot.

arrow root farming was previously regarded as a hard crop to grow since it required you to be near a river or a swamp. However, there are hybrid arrowroot varieties especially from Burundi that can grow anywhere including uplands and doesn’t need much water.

FARMERS IDENTIFY THE HIDDEN FORTUNE IN TREE-TOMATO INVESTMENT

Arrow roots have few calories. 100 arrow roots have approximately 65 calories; which is lower compared to cassava, yams and potatoes. The powder made from arrow roots is fine, has no smell and it’s granular starch that is mostly used as a thickener or stabilizing agent in the food industry. Some of the health advantages of the Arrowroot (Nduma) include the following:

Circulation Issues: The rich nutrient mixture in arrow roots comprises of high levels of iron and copper. The two elements form part of the red blood cells. Arrow roots help in preventing anemia and other blood circulation related difficulties.

Metabolic Processes: Arrow roots have high Vitamin B concentration which makes it an important enzymatic and metabolic substance. It helps in regulating processes in the human body.

Birth defects: Folate, present in Vitamin B is also present in arrow roots. The component is important for expectant mothers and can help prevent neural tube defects.

Stomach Concerns: Arrowroot is a gluten-free substance – prevent gastrointestinal discomfort, pain, and danger that those handling a gluten intolerance must face every day.

Arrowroot, unlike other vegetable tubers contain high level of protein which aid in building the body and other tissues. Additionally, protein is used to make enzymes and hormones.

Weight Loss Concerns: Arrowroot is extremely low in calories as compared to other starches like yams, potatoes, or cassava. For this reason, people trying to remain on a diet can get complex carbohydrates and a wealth of nutrients, as well as a healthy dose of dietary fiber, and eliminate the desire to snack between meals.

Digestion: Dietary fiber is one of the most important parts of our digestive process, as it helps move food through the bowels in an efficient manner, while also stimulating the uptake of nutrients. Arrowroot also helps in reducing the effect of constipation and controlling level of blood sugar.

In addition, arrow roots have moderate amounts of some important minerals such as copper, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, zinc and iron. Potassium is an essential part of cells and body fluids that assist in regulation of the heart beat and blood pressure in the body. Nduma is a healthy meal for all Kenyans from all tribes and are highly regarded.

If you need the hybrid seedlings don’t hesitate to call us.