A mature avocado tree may produce in excess of a million flowers during the flowering period, most of which fall without producing fruit. One of the factors leading to flower fall is proper pollination not taking place.
Bees are the world’s dominant pollinators. Within orchards they play a vital role in the pollination of the fruit trees. Without them yields might not be economically viable. Therefore, there is a need to protect and ensure the preservation of these important environmental components.
Without honeybees and cross-pollination, a mass majority of fruits would not be available.
Well, the overall goal of cross-pollination is to ensure that the pollen from the stamen in one flower has been transferred to the pistil of another flower. Once the pollen grain has transferred from the stamen to the pistil, the grain germinates and fertilizes the ovule developing a seed. Bees play an imperative role in this process as they are carriers of the pollen.
As the country gears for referendum of Punguza Mzigo or either the BBI to ease the financial burden and corruption the country is facing so do our beloved farmers need to plant Hass avocado this coming rainy season to ease their financial strains in three years to come.
The gains of the proposed amendments to the constitution may be gained in three years to come and so do the gains by planting Hass avocado will be realized. As the politicians are yelling for the amendments of the constitution so do farmers need to embrace change in the various traditional methods of farming to realize profits and profits for their hard work. With many of the resources needed for sustainable food security already stretched, the challenges are huge. At the same time, climate change is already negatively impacting agricultural production globally and locally. Farms must increase production of food while preserving the environment, but they can’t do it alone and they can’t do it using today’s traditional farming practices.
Each and every second the world population increases by three people or more which translates to an average of 240,000 people per day. This should serve as an opportunity to our farmers as more food is needed to feed this ever increasing population.
An acre of Hass avocado with good and proper management can earn a farmer over 1million ksh. This is the change farmers should clamor for. Here at OXFARM we do offer various farming packages which are detailed in our blogs.
For Hass avocado establishment contact 0706, 222,888.
The collapse of the coffee crop has led to farmers exploiting other farming ventures to fill the financial gap. One of the best ways of fixing this mess is macadamia farming which has proved to be a lucrative business.
The observed decline in coffee production among smallholder farmers is due to a number of factors, including the collapse of the International Coffee Agreement (ICA) in the 1980s, lack of access to credit, inadequate transportation and communication, poor banking infrastructure and poorly managed cooperatives.
Many coffee farmers operate at a loss, with their beans earning about $0.55 per kilogram, according to a report last year by London-based advocacy group Fair Trade.
Liberalization of the coffee sector resulted in decreased production of coffee. The reasons cited for the decline in coffee production included:- the mismanagement of co-operative societies; declining farmers’ earnings; decline in application of inputs; poor farming practices; and farmers’ loss of confidence in management of coffee affairs.
Farmers are being swayed by the prompt and better pay from macadamia nuts compared to coffee, which, apart from low returns, is labour-intensive and requires a lot of care.
“I have had people come here and openly bid for my macadamia harvest. I pick the highest bidder, and get my pay instantly. This is not the case with coffee; I have to wait for months to receive pay and I have no say in what I get paid as the deductions are done at the factory,” these are words from Gikondi , Mukurweini farmer called Ngigi when he was being interviewed by a standard newspaper reporter.
According to Oxfarm Ltd, an acre of land will hold to 70 Macadamia trees. This could earn a farmer, going by the minimal returns of Ksh150 per kilogram of nuts Ksh1, 050,000 per acre if a farmer harvests 100Kg per tree, depending on farming practices and favorable climate. At the primary harvest, that comes 3 years after transplantation of seedlings, a farmer will get between 30kg and 50kg, reckoning on the range and the attention given to the trees. Production will increase with each harvest.
In coffee farming the returns in an acre are very low and incomparable to macadamia earnings. Coffee farmers are earning peanuts and have been plunged in cooperative debts for years. Here at Oxfarm we do advise farmers on how to establish a macadamia plantation by intercropping with coffee and get relieved off the colonial crop which has made our hardworking farmers poor and poorer.
To order certified grafted macadamia variety seedling contact 0706 222 888.
It’s an organic product which has essential element for the growth of microorganisms in the soil, and is decomposed into inorganic fertilizer as the microorganisms grow.
It acts as soil conditioners, feeding both soil and plants.
Organic gardening emphasizes cultivating your garden with it so that it sustains enriching soil, plants and the soil structure is improved and as a result the soil’s ability to hold onto water and nutrients increases.
It’s an organic fertilizer rich in organic matter and helps microbes thrive. The carbon, along with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that feed microbes and enable them to make nutrients available for plants in a naturally occurring biological process.
The organic materials serve as both fertilizers and soil conditioners—they feed both soils and plants. This is one of the most important differences between a chemical approach and an organic approach toward soil care and fertilizing.
Earthlee accomplishes the normal function of organic matter and there by reduces the need for bulk application of organic matter in the soil.
Regular use of earthlee helps improve quality and quantity of yields as well as the overall health of plants and trees. It also helps in releasing locked nutrients in the soil e.g. phosphates, iron, calcium, etc., making them available to the plant. Increased general vigor, improved root systems and a darker greening of foliage are among the first results which may be observed within 1 to 4 weeks after application.
20 grams of earthlee equals a 20kg bucket of organic compost/manure.
Here at OXFARM we have embraced the use of this wonderful product to the farmers we have partnered with them as it has lessened the burden of the bulky manure.
For more information on this product call 0723 662 773.
In Kenya farmers have been worried by the state of land being deficient of moisture leading to scanty vegetation. All these climatic, desert-producing factors – descending, drying air currents; mountain-produced rain shadows; distance from oceanic moisture sources; and cold ocean currents – are instrumental, sometimes singly, more often in combination, as primary forces producing arid lands. We at OXFARM have come up with a program which will mitigate this current water moisture deficiency in the soil.
Absorber is a polymer consisting of a set of polymer chains. Absorber is a water retainer that, when incorporated into a soil or a substrate absorbs and retains large quantities of water and nutrients. Unlike most products that become hydrated, Absorber has the property of easily releasing the absorbed water and nutrients, thereby allowing the plant to have water and nutrients available at will as a function of the absorption – release cycles. When water comes into contact with one of these chains, it is drawn into the molecule by osmosis. It has a holding capacity of 100 to 150 times its weight. It has a 5 year life span.
Grapes are vigorous growers, and with the proper pruning, they will produce fruit with ease for 100 years or more.
Make sure you purchase grape vines from a reputable nursery. Vigorous, 1-year-old plants are best.
Select a site with full sun. If you don’t have a spot with full sun, make sure it at least gets morning sun. A small amount of afternoon shade won’t hurt. Your soil needs to be deep, well-drained, and loose. You also need good air circulation.
Construct a trellis before planting. Grape vines will need to be trained to some sort of support to grow upward. This will also cut the risk of disease.
Pruning is important. Not only would vines run rampant without control, but canes will only produce fruit once. Prune annually when vines are dormant.
Grapes are majorly propagated using cuttings and by grafting which is preferred because they produce vines identical to the parent in characteristics.
However, the maturity period is highly dependent on management practices since planting. Your backyard grapevine can take up to three years to produce viable grapes, but that timeline is based on several environmental factors as well as how you care for the plant. These include, pruning, fertilizer/manure application, watering, disease & pest control, environmental factors and soil drainage.
Grape plants produces 8 to 10 tons per acre. The cost of grapes in kilograms is between ksh200 to 300. This translates to a farmer getting around two to three million per year.
The success of an orchard is only as good as the planning and site preparation that go into it. To build a good orchard, you need a good foundation.
The following steps are recommended to help prepare the site.
Collect samples for soil nutrient tests. Soil tests should include soil organic matter as well.
A basic soil test gives readings on the soil pH, phosphate, potassium and magnesium levels. Soil pH is one of the most important tests; it measures the alkalinity or acidity levels of the soil. Adjusting the pH of the soil ensures proper nutrient uptake and plant health. It plays a big role in the availability of nutrients to plant roots, nutrient run-off and leaching and microbial efficiency.
Weeding of perennial weeds
Weeding is an important control method practiced in many crops. The removal of weeds is useful because these unwanted plants compete with the crop for space, water and nutrients.
Broadcast any lime needed to adjust soil pH to 6.5 and other needed nutrients from the soil test report.
Ensure there is availability of water
Water is a vital resource for the tree growth, productivity and survival. Too much water (flooding) or too little (drought) can be fatal. Soil type and profile, orchard floor management, and site topography can dramatically affect soil water availability to the tree root system.
Ensure the manure is always available
Incorporating manure into orchard soil can also add needed N, P, K. Manure also increases the soil’s organic matter content. Organic matter is a transitory part of the soil that is continually decomposing and must be replaced regularly.
Tips to Ensure you Get the Maximum From Your Orchard.
Growing the right varieties (meeting market demand).
Efficient use of water.
Shortest lead time to first commercial harvest.
Consistency of production including yield and quality.
Choosing the right region, soil type, available water and land aspect.
Agronomists are scientists who look for ways to increase soil productivity (in other words, to raise more food on the same amount of soil). They also work to improve the quality of seed and the nutritional value of crops.
Agronomists work to develop methods that will improve the use of soil and increase the production of food and fiber crops.
They conduct research in crop rotation, irrigation and drainage, plant breeding, soil classification, soil fertility, weed control, and other areas.
The agronomists provide farmers with agricultural information about how to grow and care for plants and soils in certain environments. Factors such as climate, roots, moisture, weeds, pests, fungi, and erosion can pose significant challenges when farmers attempt to produce a plentiful harvest.
Agronomist findings give farmers crucial information and tips for not only producing crops, but also for conserving our natural environment. Concerns of food and water security, air quality and climate change, soil loss and degradation, health and nutrition, and many others motivate agronomists to continually explore our agricultural resources.
In order to preserve, expand, and reclaim the use of plants and soil for food and fuel, farmers must integrate every new agronomy finding into their approach to tending to their crops. By understanding the importance of agronomy and the agricultural resources around us, we allow plants and soil to reach their full potential and we reap the benefits.
In agronomy, it’s important to understand the properties of the soil and how the soil interacts with the growing crop; what nutrients (fertilizers) the crop needs and when and how to apply these nutrients; the ways that crops grow and develop; how climate and other environmental factors affect the crop at all stages.
For the best agronomic advice contact 0706 222 888.
As the country gears for reforestation so as the need to plant trees increases and this to farmers means they should plant fruit trees which has many benefits and as we are in tough economic times they can be a source of income. According to the World Bank data, in 2015 Kenya’s forest area was 44,130 km2 or 4,413,000 hectares. Currently, we are losing 50,000 hectares of forest each year through deforestation primarily due to the emergence of an expanding affluent society that wants to dine on steak, drive cars, recline on comfortable seats, live in elegant houses and consume fresh fruits and vegetables. To meet this demand, commercial agriculture for products such as livestock, horticulture, timber and rubber are increasingly encroaching on forest lands.
This translates to a loss of 1.13 percent forest cover annually and amounts to a loss of Sh 1.9 billion every year (Kenya Forestry Services (KFS) – Kenya Open Portal Data). If all factors hold constant, and if we do nothing to reverse it, Kenya shall be a complete desert in 113 years.
Why should we care about a declining forest cover?
One tree can supply oxygen for up to four people on earth per day and absorb more than 21 kg of carbon dioxide per year. Trees serve as natural sponges, collecting rainfall and filtering sediments and other pollutants from the water in the soil before it reaches a water source. It then releases it slowly into streams and rivers.
Apart from the farmers getting income other benefits of planting fruit trees include;
Greater access to fresh, healthy food, which improves the health and well-being of all residents. Fruits have immense health benefits as they contain nutrients required in our bodies for healthy living.
Improved air quality, which improves respiratory health for all residents.
Reduced flooding and water pollutants due to storm water run-off, which improves water quality.
Increased shade and lower air temperatures, which reduce the need for energy-intensive air conditioning.
Improved soil quality and decreased erosion.
New habitat for birds and bees.
Increased biodiversity in our food supply.
A multitude of opportunities for experiential learning.
For maximum yields of quality fruit, some maintenance is involved. Pruning is especially important to fruit trees. Crop yield and the health of the tree itself are greatly affected by pruning, but it must be done the right way at the right time. Timing and techniques vary by the type of fruit you’re growing.
It is the world’s largest crop by production quantity. Back after Kenya got independence, in those days, owning a sugar cane plot was a mark of status and a wealth symbol that those who did not have were considered poor and without any future guarantee for wealth.
In an interview with a nation journalist, a farmer had this to say that “Cane for us used to be what cattle is for the Maasai, it did not even matter what was the regular take home for it but when you had it, there was that comfort that you were rich.”
What about today? The sugar industry is in a complete mess. A report by Parliamentary committee on agriculture, livestock and co-operatives found out that the average cost of producing a ton of cane in Kenya amounted to 2300Ksh.
In Kenya an acre produces an average of 25 tons of cane making total production cost at 57,500Ksh. In ten years the cost of production totals 575,000Ksh.
Most millers pay farmers between Sh3, 400 to Sh3, 900 per ton of cane. Calculating that a farmer will be paid 4000Ksh per ton, in ten years the farmer will have got 425,000Ksh in ten years after the deductions of production costs.
Many farmers earn their income only to exhaust it on repayment of debts accrued during the more than 24 months of waiting to harvest the sugarcane.”
Repayment of debts reduces the farmer propensity to buy and/or grow food for their own subsistence, hence the persistent food insecurity and malnutrition.
With signing of the historic African Union free trade agreement, the odds of producing sugarcane in Kenya are simply against the country. There is need to rethink a new path.
Hass avocado farming
Grafted Hass avocados trees take close to three to four years to be ready for fruiting and fruits can be harvested to a period of four months. On average, a single tree can yield to a maximum of 500 fruits in a season. The harvesting season for the Hass avocado is between the months of March to June.
The Hass avocado fruit has a life span of over 50 years.
Here is a brief returns an acre planted Hass avocado can offer;
The first two years –growth stage Hass fruits
2nd year (harvest of 50 fruits per tree) – 60k
3rd year (harvest 200-250 fruits) – 240k
4th year –(400 fruits) – 480k
5th year – (800 fruits)- 900k
6th year – (1000 fruits) – 1.08m
7th year –(1100 fruits) – 1.3m
8th year –(more than 1300 fruits) – 1.5m
9th year – (more than 1500 fruits) – 1.8m
10th year – (more than 1750 fruits) – 2m
Total cumulative returns 10 millionKsh
20th year – (3500 fruits) – 4m
Hass fruits have been on an upward trend due to the increase in consumption in European market and the recently opened china market. Both local and foreign investors have been putting up avocado factories in the country and have therefore improved prospects among local farmers.
Each year, more than 1500 avocado containers are shipped to Europe and the Middle East. New markets in Asia- specifically Russia and China are opening up opportunities for farmers and exporters, according to key industry players.
Comparison between Hass Avocado and Sugarcane Farming
In general Hass avocado cannot be and will never be compared to sugarcane as an avocado farmer in ten years will have earned handsomely as compared to peanuts earned by the sugarcane farmer.
To summarize all this, planting 20 Hass trees would earn more than planting an acre of sugarcane. OXFARM believes that farmers should have a reason to smile if they embrace on Hass avocado particularly to farmers in Western and Nyanza region.
For certified Hass seedlings contact 0706 222 888.