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Value Addition In Agricultural Commodities And Why Every Farmer Should Do It

Generally, value addition is the process of changing or transforming a product from its original state to a more valuable state. Many raw commodities have fundamental value in their original state. For example, maize grown, harvested and stored on a farm and then fed to livestock on that farm has value. In fact, value usually is added by feeding it to an animal, which transforms the maize into animal protein or meat. The value of a changed product is added value, such as processing wheat into flour. It is important to identify the value-added activities that will support the necessary investment in research, processing and marketing. The application of biotechnology, the engineering of food from raw products to the consumers and the restructuring of the distribution system to and from the producer all provide opportunities for adding value.

Economically a commodity is added value by changing its current place, time, and from one set of characteristics to other characteristics that are more preferred in the marketplace. A better meaning would be like processing wheat into flour and eventually into more desired products by customers such as bread, cakes. Those involved in value addition should think of themselves as members of a food chain that processes and markets products to consumers.

In Kenya, the majority of agricultural commodities are marketed in their raw forms, hence losing the opportunities for higher earnings and generating employment.

The main constraints that face Kenya’s agro processing industry include among others, the high operational costs mainly due to the high prices of imported fuel and spare parts, unavailability of appropriate processing machines and spare parts, and the limited knowledge in operation of the machines.

However, despite these constraints, agro processing has a tremendous potential for increasing income through value addition and increasing shelf life and access to food security through the establishment of small scale agro processing enterprises and rural based industries.

Once these commercial agro industries are efficiently run and are responsive to the ever-changing market demands, this will be a precursor for overall economic growth of the country.

Meaning of Value addition

For farmers in Kenya, value addition has a particular importance in that it offers a strategy for transforming an unprofitable enterprise into a profitable one. In fact, there are very few items that a Kenyan small holder farmer can produce and sell profitably at the first level (that is, on the open wholesale market).

Therefore, a value-addition strategy is critical to the long-term survival of most small farms in Kenya.

A good example is say, a coffee farmer who simply grows and harvest coffee cherries, and then sell them “as is” to a local processor. Here, they usually sell at a price below the cost of production. This marketing strategy may be viable in the short run, because it may cover the cash costs involved in producing the crops.

This is, however, a poor strategy because it usually does not cover the total costs of production, and, therefore, the coffee enterprises will not be sustainable.

Value addition strategies could also be easily drawn from the production of tropical fruits, vegetables, livestock, grains and other commodities.

Many small holder farmers should be encouraged to increase their profitability by vertically integrating their operations rather than simply expanding horizontally to increase their volume of production.

Here, they are adding value to their crops by taking their product one or more steps up the vertical ladder of processing and marketing rather than staying at the same level and trying to increase quantity.

Agribusiness support agencies should be seen to support the promotion of rural agro industries. This is mainly crucial because of the following reasons;

  • Agro –industrial products, unlike the basic commodities, do not exhibit a long-term real-price decline so they are more effective in increasing local incomes.
  • Value addition activities in the rural areas tend to increase local employment and income and usually have a positive impact on the local economy mainly due to forward and backward linkages.
  • Product differentiation as a value addition strategy is easier for goods that have been processed, transformed, packaged and labeled.
  • The agro-industrial products where value has been added tend to enjoy a higher profit margin than basic commodities.

In conclusion, for those in agribusiness, as markets become more competitive, it is important for mainly small holder farmers and other value chain actors to seek ways of taking advantage of the value adding opportunities to be able to increase the incomes of the rural producers.

Deliberate efforts should be put in place in establishing market research teams to help in investigating both fresh and processed markets.

The value added products can be those that are traditional or those that already exist in the rural areas, or can also be new products, which can be processed using new, low cost technologies

Advantages of Value Addition in Kenya

  • Increased profit – any value addition increases financial value to the product and has the effect of improving the income of a farmer.
  • Value addition gives a farmer a chance to focus on the consumer
  • The producer/farmer can get a share of the marketing bill which is the difference between the farm gate value and the retail value and it is growing bigger day by day.
  • Enhanced shelve life – this is a benefit any farmer would want. the longer the product can stay without getting spoilt, the more guarantee one has of a product selling at their preferred price and time. for instance raw milk doesn’t last for long but when processed into ghee, yogurt and other products can last longer.
  • Improved bargaining power
  • Creation of a brand – if a product goes to the market being identified to you or your farm, then your future is defined.
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How is The Future of Agriculture and Agribusiness

Agribusiness in Kenya

The importance of agriculture to the Kenyan economy cannot be underestimated. It is well documented that agriculture is key to economic growth and contributes to socio-economic development of the country. The sector accounts for around 25 percent of the country’s GDP and contributes over 70 percent of the national export earnings.

Agribusiness sector is undergoing sort of a technology revolution period. Many  people are working towards streamlining the process for agricultural business. We need to cap the losses this industry suffers due to poor management and illicit commission agents. Because the future of the Kenyan Agribusiness sector depends on farmers and traders. Seeing as how farmers are ending their lives or succumbing to debts, we need solutions which will ensure the future of the sector. Its worrying seeing our counterparts from north lift always complaining about maize prices. Although we have been telling them to diversify, they need to feel that their land will continue giving them value.

The Future of Farming is  Agribusiness and farming Smart

The area of land available for agriculture in Kenya and the entire world has decreased. If Kenya for example wants to expand or maintain its current food output it needs to increase its productivity – without imposing an additional burden on the environment. More with less, welcome to the world of Smart Farming

What is Smart Farming?

Smart Farming is a farming management concept using modern technology to increase the quantity and quality of agricultural products. Farmers in the 21st century have access to GPS, soil scanning, data management, and Internet of Things technologies. By precisely measuring variations within a field and adapting the strategy accordingly, farmers can greatly increase the effectiveness of pesticides and fertilizers, and use them more selectively. Similarly, using Smart Farming techniques, farmers can better monitor the needs of individual animals and adjust their nutrition correspondingly, thereby preventing disease and enhancing herd health.

Goat Farming in Kenya: how to start & make money

What are the requirements for Smart Farming?

Knowledge and capital are essential for any innovation. New farming technologies require more and more professional skills. A farmer today is not only a person with a passion for agriculture, he or she is also a teacher, a doctor, a politician, a lawyer (to find their way through a growing maze of regulations) and a part-time accountant (making a living from selling agricultural produce requires bookkeeping skills and an in-depth knowledge of market chains and price volatility).

Furthermore, Smart Farming requires capital. Thankfully, there are a wide range of options available. From using low capital investment smart phone applications that track your livestock to a capital-intensive automated combine. In principle, implementing Smart Farming technologies can be easily up scaled.

Blogs and companies such as Oxfarm provides farmers with information and helpful insights that farmers can rely on.

 

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Why you Should Trust Oxfarm Ag Ltd

At oxfarm ag ltd, we like doing the best for our customers and making farmers get value of their investment is our business. in this short article you will get to know why you can trust our products and services.

    • You can choose from hundreds of agricultural products/services, all from the highly rated brand name for instance, Machinery, farming equipment, irrigation kits e.t.c
    • We are accredited by certifying bodies such as HCDA and KEPHIS (our tree fruit seedlings are the best)
    • There are no Agriculture companies “pulling our strings.” Our fierce independence means you’ll get the best values when we partner with you.
    • Oxfarm Ag officers are experts at matching you up with farming information that makes the most sense for your unique situation. (We’ll never recommend a farming project that we don’t think is the best option available for you).
    • People have been investing their money and land with us since 2015.
    • Nearly 1,000 customers have already put their trust in us, buying millions in seedlings and packages.
    • Want to speak with us outside of regular “business hours”? We’re open long hours and Saturdays so we’re here when you need us.

So again, why trust Oxfarm Ag Ltd? Well, here’s what we tell people.

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

You Should Buy Agricultural Products and Services from Whoever Gives you the Best Advice

At the end of the day, you should buy from the person you believe cares about you and gives you the attention and quality guidance you’re looking for: and that person is no other than oxfarm Ag Ltd.

If you get the best advice and guidance from us, we hope you’ll trust us to handle your request. Of course, we believe that no one does it better than we do.

If you want to experience the Oxfarm Ag difference, just reach out to us and get your quote. You can call us at the numbers on our website.

We’d love the opportunity to earn your trust, and it would be our privilege to work with you. Visit us today at Ridgeways Nairobi along Kiambu Road.

 

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What Is The Future Of Organic Farming

Agribusiness in Kenya

Organic farming has been an important part of agriculture across the globe for some time now. The sustainable farming method of growing and producing food stuffs and vegetables without using any chemicals has always garnered both appreciation and interest from many people.

These days, people from all walks of life are more than ready to invest in healthy and chemical free produce that can benefit their overall health in the long run, and are doing their bit to promote healthy living within the society.

In Kenya, where the agriculture industry is the biggest in terms of human resource and total farming area, organic farming has been the most natural method of growing crops using natural fertilizers and manures like cow dung and organic compost.

Following the green revolution and introduction of modern technology during the early 1960s in this sector, the Kenyan agriculture industry managed to transform for the better. It gradually witnessed a shift from traditional farming methods to introduction of synthetic fertilizers in an effort to safeguard and guarantee the safety of crops from various pests, diseases, and crop destroying insects.

These policies and initiatives ensured faster production of crops and accelerated the development of modern farming methods. Nevertheless, the usage of various chemicals & pesticides during different stages of farming and packaging made such products highly contaminated by the time it reached end consumers; and posed great danger to their overall well-being.

What Hinders Growth of Organic Farming in Kenya

Despite the above highlighted positive facts, many agronomists are unconvinced about sustainability of growth and future of the Kenyan organic farming industry mostly due to lack of awareness about this sector, and consequent lack of branding and promotion for higher realization.

Furthermore, the study also stated that while the national government has taken some effort to create awareness about organic farming, this space requires the intervention of the county governments as well. More than anything else, they can help in encouraging farmers to focus more on organic farming practices and minimize utilization of chemicals and pesticides.

Marketing Process Of Hass Avocado In Kenya

What Customers Don’t know About Fruits and Vegetables

  • 99.9 per cent of consumers are not aware about the source of produce, like fruits, vegetables, & greens that they buy and consume.
  • Most consumers do not make any efforts to know or find out about the source of farm produce.

Current Market Situation in the Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Most organic stores in Kenya are similar to retail shops that includes buyers & sellers. Since the organic produce sellers do not grow the produce sold through such stores, even they are not the most reliable source when it comes to seeking information about organic produce. The main reason for this lies in the fact that such store owners usually do not have control over the consistency in quality, color, texture, and / or finish of the final product.

  • Additionally, some of these organic stores in Kenya are about the hype, and rarely about the quality of the produce being sold.

Going by such facts, it is evident why creating more awareness about organic farming in Kenya has become a matter of extreme importance these days. However, things have certainly begun to look bright on this front, at least in some counties in Kenya.

State of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

Emergence of New Players in The Kenyan Organic Farming Space

Over the past couple of years, it has been observed that the organic farming sector in Kenya is entering a transformation stage due to an increase of new ventures that have begun to disrupt the market with their one-of-a-kind offerings. In an effort to promote a healthier lifestyle, these players are playing a pivotal role by providing consumers with naturally grown wholesome organic produce.

Future of Organic Farming in Kenya

Kenya currently holds a prominent position among countries that actively practice organic agriculture globally. However, with only a mere 0.4 per cent of total agricultural land area designated for organic cultivation, it is evident that this industry still has a long way to go in terms of growth.

Moreover, since the organic food segment is still at a nascent stage in Kenya, both the government and other private players will have to develop a strong policy framework that can benefit all involved. For now, it can be safely concluded that the organic farming industry in Kenya holds immense potential to grow, provided it receives steady investment, and benefits from both existing and new initiatives, which can further its growth.

 

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How To Make Your Own Success Story In Farming

Hass Avocado farming

Each and every farmer in Kenya has a dream and especially the small-scale farms which are the backbone of Kenyan economy. Here in Kenya, you must develop and answer some few questions honestly before you start your success journey. Follow the following tips and you might just be one of the most successful farmer in Kenya.

Value Your Customers

In any business, customers are the most valuable resource. Know what your customer needs and wants. Truly care about the customer’s health, well-being and satisfaction. Everyone deserves fair and honest treatment. Today’s trends focus on healthy, local and good tasting food. Provide the customers with high value products, service and experiences. A high quality product brings the customer back.

oxfarm.co.ke/tree-fruits/tree-tomato-farming/importance-of-value-addition/

Be Resourceful

You need to think out of the box and use what you already have. You do not have to be large or have all new equipment. Identify what you might have as assets like your location, soil and farm buildings. Also, inventory your skills, ability and passion. Your farming venture needs to make economical sense. It needs to make a profit for you  and it needs to be a value for your customer. This requires a well thought-out business plan.

Believe in Diversification

Some people argue that it is not wise to put all your eggs in one basket and we believe so. The world and eating trends are changing day in day out. Demand and supply can cause feast and famine. Multiple income sources can guard against weather issues, changing trends and challenging competition.

Dream your dreams

This is very important. Farming is not as easy as people think, you have to be patient and consistent. Formulate a vision and develop goals. Put a plan in place and evaluate your progress. Make adjustments as needed

 

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Why You Should Invest in Vegetable and Fruit Farming

Presently, the demand for fruits and vegies from Kenya has been temperate and high for both organic and value added products. Nonetheless, Most producers and companies exporting fresh fruits and vegetables from Kenya are both small and Medium with little if any investment capacity to broaden the production and take advantage of the market demand, and therefore have been unable to explore the export of value added products currently on demand in Europe and other International markets.

A good number of the current exports have been in raw fruits and vegetables and largely to the wholesale markets where competition is growing and prices going down. Currently, there are over 30 companies exporting fresh fruits and vegetables largely to the EU and, to a less extent, to the COMESA region, although the latter is largely informal. On average, the existing companies each exports 2 – 40 tonnes of fresh fruits per week, largely to the wholesale markets in Europe.

 Competitiveness

Competitiveness in Kenya rests with soils, irrigation, climate, opportunities, government policies as well as labour factor prices. Kenya has matchless comparative advantage for growing fruits and vegetables due to its warm, less humid tropical climate, plentiful rainfall and huge opportunities for irrigation. Soils of pH 5 to 6.5 are most ideal for the fruits (such as oranges, Avocados, mangoes and pineapples) and vast areas of this type is obtained in Kenya.

These soils are rare in the world.  Kenya’s climate is summer all year round: moderate temperatures (15 -30ºC) throughout the year with a bi-modal rainfall pattern. The soils have low levels of contamination due to prolonged periods of minimal use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides creating natural quasi-organic conditions in most areas.

The November to February harvest period in Kenya coincides with the northern hemisphere winter – a period of peak demand for fresh fruits and vegetables in Europe.

How to start Kienyeji chicken farming for eggs/chicks production

Justification behind vegetable and fruit farming

There is plenty of land in the country that can be devoted to fruit farming. The government owned irrigation schemes can provide ample land. Besides there is an increasing number of out growers complimenting the raw material supply effort.  The out growers however may be supported with skills, implements. An investor in fruit farming has the option of irrigating the fruit farms to ensure all year round production.

The demand for fresh fruits on a year-round   basis is increasing, and consumers are willing to pay higher prices for out-of-season fresh fruits.  Given EU market entry barriers, Kenya would rather target domestic, border and regional markets. Currently, there is an existing trade within the region supplying Southern Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda. The current production levels of fruits are yet to satisfy the domestic, border and regional demand. It is strategic to strengthen the existing trade which is not satisfied and yet expanding.

However, we have been advising our customers on the best practices that will ensure they sell their produce in  the International markets.

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How the Hass Avocado dominated the Universe

The demand for the buttery (Hass Avocado) is at an all-time high. Did you know hass avocado’s story began with a delicious mistake?? The success of the Hass variety has enabled avocados to become a global fruit, despite their rather limited growing range. Avocado trees require specialized tropical or subtropical climate because they tolerate neither freezing nor extreme heat, and more than 50 percent of Kenya’s land is suitable for avocado production.

We have previously advised you on the best counties to grow hass avocado in Kenya. All you need to do is contact us and we will do the rest for you.

How Is The Global Demand For Hass Avocado

Americans devour 7 pounds of avocado per person each year, compared to 1 pound on average back in 1989. Per capita consumption of avocados has tripled since the early 2000s. Yet nearly all of these avocados—some 95 percent in the U.S. and about 80 percent worldwide—are of a single variety: the ubiquitous Hass.

That’s especially crazy because, while people have cultivated avocados for thousands of years and come up with more than 400 different varieties, the pebbly, black-skinned Hass didn’t even exist a century ago.

How did Hass come to Dominate the World

Avocados were a popular snack food long before humans hit the scene. In the Cenozoic era, prehistoric megafauna like mammoths and giant ground sloths would gobble the fruit whole and then travel long distances, before pooping out the seed and thus dispersing the trees. Because of  this animal-specific dispersion system, avocados might easily  have vanished with those great mammals 13,000 years ago. But somehow, they survived.

In 1926, according to legend and the University of California at Riverside, California postman Rudolph Hass brought some avocado seedlings home to grow on his La Habra Heights property. One defied repeated attempts to receive grafts from an existing avocado variety, bore no fruit and sorely tempted Hass to cut it down. But instead, he simply let the tree grow unattended.

It was the Hass children, according to the story, who discovered that the tree had produced a fruit that they liked far better than the others: one with a rich, nutty, slightly oily taste. Hass Sr. apparently concurred. “As I’ve heard the story, the kids brought the fruit in to him and he said, ‘wow this isn’t bad.’”

At the time, the reigning avocado variety was the Fuerte, which featured smooth, thin skin and an appealing green hue. By contrast, Hass’ experiment had a relatively unappetizing appearance, with thick, pebbly black skin. But Hass decided that it was what inside that counted—a decision that would change the course of avocado history.

Lucrative Passion-Fruit Farming In Kenya

Advantages Over Other Varieties

It turned out that the Hass had some other big advantages over the Fuerte. The trees grow vigorously, are easy to propagate and produce an impressive amount of fruit by only the second or third year. They have a longer harvest season than other avocados and, perhaps most importantly, the Hass’s thicker skin makes it superior to Fuertes, Pinkertons, Zutanos and other once-popular varieties when it comes to handling fruit and shipping it long distances.

Hass Sr. passed away in 1952, but his creation far outlived him. The roots of this humble collaboration eventually populated the globe with millions of avocado trees, all genetically descended from that single mother tree that lived on at the old Hass place until claimed by root rot disease in 2002.  U.S. Plant Patent No. 139: The Hass avocado. (U.S. Plant. Pat. 139)

In 1945, avocado grower H. B. Griswold extolled many of the new fruit’s virtues in the California Avocado Society Yearbook. “From the market standpoint the Hass would appear to have everything. Excellent quality, popular size, small seed, good shipper,” he wrote. But Griswold also foresaw something that might limit the Hass’s success: “Its single disadvantage is its black color which has been associated in the minds of the public with poor quality fruits,” he wrote.

Thankfully, other growers weren’t as quick to judge the new avocado by its skin. When the industry expanded dramatically in the 1970s, Hass plantings led the way. Then, in the 1980s, the Hass’s dark skin became a boon. That’s when the industry began ripening avocados en-masse, believing that a ready-to-eat product would sell better. Avocados ripen off the tree, not on it. So by putting fruit in a 68 °F room and using ethylene gas to spark the fruit’s own production of this natural ripening hormone, avocados could be brought to market ripe and ready.

Best of all, in the Hass’s case, that meant they didn’t show blemishes from handling damages like green-skinned avocados did. “The Hass’s ripened, black skin hides about 90 percent of that,” Arpaia says.

Tim Spann, research program director for the California Avocado Commission, describes how the public was brought on board. “An early marketing campaign of the Commission was the ‘Ripe for Tonight’ program that helped to educate consumers outside of California about this new fruit and how to tell when it was ripe,” he said. “This was done by talking about the built-in ripeness indicator—the black peel—and placing stickers on fruit at the point of sale that said, ‘Ripe for Tonight.'”

The industry is so large that Mexican authorities are concerned about the industry’s deforestation impacts. But experts like are also worried about something else: that this monoculture is quickly displacing wild avocado species with the help of hungry humans. “I went to Chiapas, Mexico, one of the world centers for avocado diversity,” she recalls. “We had visions of seeing all these different types of avocados. What did we see? They were cutting down wild avocados and planting Hass trees.”

“In California, for example, Hass fruit mature in about April on average, but because the fruit hang on the trees really well, we can continue harvesting into September or maybe even October in a really large crop year. Combine this trait with numerous producing areas—California, Mexico, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, Israel—and you can supply the world year-round,” Spann says. “Essentially, Hass is the perfect avocado for the world market as we know it today.”

Kiwi-Fruit Farming: New Money Maker for Farmers

More Research Required

Arpaia concurs that the Hass has its benefits. But she also warns that we need new varietals, to stave of the hopefully remote prospect of an avocado Armageddon. When crops have little genetic diversity they become vulnerable to pests or diseases that are particularly well adapted to wipe out their specific type. One example is the way that that a fungus known as “Panama disease” decimated world banana production not once but twice in the 1950s and today, by targeting the varieties on which growers had come to rely.

Before you panic, let us be clear: no such threat appears imminent for Hass avocados. But if one were to appear, it could evolve and spread quickly, says Arpaia. “The whole world is marketing Hass,” she says. “It’s very difficult to introduce new varieties right now. But I think down the road we need new varieties.” …

On the flip side, it’s possible that the avocado’s unflagging popularity might actually help ensure its genetic diversity and continued success.

If foodies demand, and are willing to pay premiums, for other varieties, we could soon be seeing all manner of new avocados. “If you look at apples, Red Delicious still exists and is still a considerable part of the industry, but it was sort of a gateway apple and now consumers want to try other varieties to see what other flavor profiles are out there,” Spann points out. “I think in time the same will happen with avocados.”

Entirely new avocados will also emerge as experts like Arpaia continue to experiment with breeding. “The game is on to find something that’s better than the Hass,” she says. “It’s not perfect. For example, it’s heat tolerant but not as heat tolerant as we’d like it to be.” A heat-loving Hass relative would allow California’s space-strapped industry to expand into areas like the fertile Central Valley.

At this point, it’s hard to imagine most consumers accepting anything other than the Hass. But considering that avocado’s own unlikely story—from prehistoric sloth meal to celebrated toast-topper—nothing can be ruled out. If a new avocado does someday spread across the globe, here’s hoping its creators get to enjoy the fruits of their labor a bit more than Rudolph Hass.

Source (Brian Handwerk , smithsonian.com )

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Why Rise of Medium-scale Farms in Kenya is Good News

Population growth and growing land scarcity in Kenyan households are the causes of the gradual sub-division of their land. In  Kenya over time farms are getting smaller and smaller. In Kenya today, 80% of farms are relatively densely populated. Because they’re so small, few can generate enough income to keep farmers above the poverty line and most of them increasingly rely on off-farm incomes.

However, over the past ten years ago, we have started to see evidence of a major rise in the number of medium-scale, Kenyan-owned farms.

Within the past decade, the amount of agricultural produce that these farms contribute to countries’ national output has risen rapidly. In Kenya, medium-sized farms now account for roughly 40% of the country’s marketed agricultural produce.

While much remains unknown and the story is still unfolding, we believe that medium-scale farms are an important driver of rural transformation in much of Kenya – with mostly positive results.

Influential Kenyans

For about ten years there’s been a prolonged surge in global food prices. This ushered in major, and much publicised, investment in Kenyan farmland by foreign investors. What happened largely under the radar were huge farmland investments by African professionals, entrepreneurs and civil servants.

The amount of land acquired by these medium-scale Kenyan farmers since 2000 far exceeds the amount acquired by foreign investors.

They are relatively wealthy and influential, often professionals, entrepreneurs or retired civil servants. Many accumulated wealth from non-farm jobs, invested in land and became either part-time or full time farmers.

Many are based in rural areas and have political or social influence with local traditional authorities. Others are urban “telephone farmers” who retain jobs in the cities, hire managers to attend to their farms and occasionally visit on weekends.

In some counties, many current medium-scale farmers started out as small-scale farmers who successfully expanded their operations.

Medium-scale farmers bring new sources of capital and know-how to African agriculture. They have in Kenya become a politically powerful group that are well represented in farm lobbies and national agricultural strategies. They have solidified Kenyan government’ commitments to support agriculture.

They get their land from traditional chiefs or by purchasing land from others, including small-scale farm households. Displaced smallholders, especially young people, tend to move off farm in search of other sources of employment.

What Are the Reasons for more Medium-Scale Farms in Kenya

First, rapid population growth, urbanization and rising incomes have contributed to massive growth in demand for food in Kenya. Kenyans with the resources to respond to this demand are doing so.

Second, many Kenyans with money and resources found farming to be a lucrative investment opportunity – especially during this sustained period of high global food prices since the mid-2000s.

Third, policy reforms in the 1990s removed major barriers to private trade and improved the conditions for private investment in Kenyan agri-food systems. One example of this was the removal of restrictions on private movement of food commodities across district borders. The effects of these reforms exploded after world food prices suddenly skyrocketed. They enabled thousands of small, medium and large-scale private firms to rapidly respond to profitable incentives.

Small-Scale farmers in Kenya

With the rise of the medium-scale farms, we expected to find that smallholders were being marginalized. But we’ve changed our views on this in light of various pieces of evidence.

First, medium-scale farms are providing access to markets and services for nearby smallholder farms. For example, many medium-scale farms have attracted tractor rental providers, who now provide mechanization services to smallholders. This allows them to farm their land with much less labour input, freeing up opportunities to work in off-farm pursuits.

Second, large trading firms are setting up buying depots in areas where there’s a high concentration of medium-scale farms. This improves market access for smallholders too.

We also found that the medium-scale farms are good for the local economy. They inject cash into the local economy through their expenditures, stimulating off-farm employment opportunities for many rural people who were formerly dependent on subsistence farming.

Medium-scale farms have also contributed to sub-Saharan Africa’s 4.6% annual rate of agricultural production growth between 2000 and 2018. This is the highest of any region in the world over this period.

While there are a lot of positives, these changes are uprooting the traditional social fabric and creating new power structures. The rise of land markets is creating a new class of landless workers who are dependent on the local non-farm economy for their livelihoods. Policy makers will need guidance on how to minimize these hardships –- protecting those who are most vulnerable as the processes of economic transformation gradually raise living standards for the majority of the population.

If you have a land lying idle, this is the time to make money out of it! population is rising and people must eat so take this opportunity and feed them.

 

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How Demonstration Farms Can Revive Farming in Kenya

Farms that showcase agricultural technology and techniques that improve crops and production are known as demonstration farms and are a smart investment that can help accelerate the espousal of game-changing innovations. Farmers can learn new ways of doing things without having to do it on their farms.

Demonstration farms are used to teach various agricultural techniques and technologies, showcase new or improved crops. They also serve as a venue to research and test new methods alongside traditional ones.

Their sizes can vary widely, ranging from small to big farms. Depending on what’s being tested or showcased, the demonstration farm could have different types of crops and crop varieties, livestock or poultry breeds, fertilizer treatments or technology, such as drip irrigation.

Pepino Melon in Oxfarm.co.ke demonstration Farm at Ridge ways Nairobi

Over a century ago, agriculturalist Seaman Knapp recognized the importance of demonstration farms and he believed in the philosophy of teaching through demonstration. He is regarded as the father of demonstration farms.

Demonstration farms however have a potential of doing much more. They are a few of them however in the country, oxfarm.co.ke however is currently having a demo farm in Ridgeway’s Nairobi. If carefully designed, demostration farms could help revolutionise Agriculture in Kenya as well as Africa. They could help solve some of Africa’s most persistent challenges including degraded soils or the low adoption of irrigation technologies.

They could also help with the uptake of new concepts that are transforming agriculture including precision agriculture – a farm management system that ensures soils and crops receive exactly what they need for optimal growth and productivity. Or conservation agriculture – a sustainable agriculture production system comprised of three linked principles; minimal soil disturbance, mixing and rotating crops and keeping the soils covered as much as possible.

You Only Have One Month To Prepare; Hass Avocado Farming Package

Where Does Demonstration farms Work?

In Israel, a centre for agricultural development has trained over 270,000 people from 132 countries in its various courses, 70% of which use demonstration agricultural farms.

There have also been substantial advances on the continent. In Nigeria, a fertilizer company has over 3,000 demonstration farms that it uses to showcase and teach farmers about modern farming practices.

In Ghana, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has established over 1,242 community demonstration farms that showcase new agricultural technologies.

Here in Kenya, apart from our demo farm, a demonstration farm in Meru is teaching women everything they need to know about conservation agriculture. This includes covering crops like grass or legumes, to provide seasonal soil cover to protect bare land. These kinds of steps improve crop productivity, increase yields as well as profits and food security.

Farmers can see how practices work over time, ranging from one season to another to a period of years. They are then able to use them on their own farms. In Kenya over 10,000, of over 7 million farmers, have adopted these practices.

Non-governmental organizations are also using demonstration farms. Development in Gardening in Kenya, for example, uses demonstration farms as classrooms to showcase good agricultural practices.

State of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

What Should be Done

The need for demonstrations farms can’t be overemphasized – particularly in Africa. Challenges such as droughts, degraded soils and low crop productivity persist and threaten the livelihoods of millions of people.

One of the major challenges is funding. Setting up demonstration farms to try new technologies or best practices takes lots of funds, time and effort.

Luckily there are several funding agencies, including governments, that fund demonstration farms.

 

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How To Make Farming in Kenya Profitable And Productive

Farming in Kenya is the backbone of Kenya’s economy, employing 70% of the population, and contributing half of Kenya’s export earnings and a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Since most Kenyans live in rural areas and practice farming, raising agriculture incomes – a centerpiece of Kenya’s Agenda 4 plan– is critical to reducing poverty, boosting prosperity and creating jobs, especially for women and youth.

The rising population and growth of incomes have increased the demand for food and agro-processed products. This is putting increased pressure on the environment amid frequent and severe climate conditions, made worse by the continued dependence on rain-fed agriculture. Combined with poor agricultural practices, low technological adoption, insecurity over land ownership, poor access to extension services, low quality inputs, and lack of credit, the report notes that the agriculture sector continues to be hindered from realizing its full potential.

Challenges notwithstanding, Farming in Kenya has enormous potential to transform the economy and make farming much more productive and profitable for Kenyan smallholder farmers. In stark opposition to supply-side constraints, demand-side opportunities for agriculture and food for Kenya and its neighbors are the strongest they have ever been. Booming domestic and regional demand for higher-value foods arising from income growth, urbanization, and dietary shifts offer massive opportunities for Kenyan farmers, and for value chains beyond farm production, and better jobs in agriculture. Other areas of potential identified are developments in agricultural technology and ICT, and various successful agribusiness models that could be up scaled.

Dickson Kahuro an Agronomist and farmer, prioritized the use of technology in his agribusiness when he decided to register his company in 2014.  He designed and developed tools to manage logistics, inventory, cash flow management and also staff management while in office and in the field.

Profitable pig farming in Kenya

Basic Policy Action

For Kenya to maximize its potential and take advantage of the opportunity to become a regional agri-food powerhouse, there are strategic decisions and the needs to be addressed in Kenya, and success stories to draw on. There three main areas for policy action and investment namely;

  • commercialization through value-addition and trade;
  • strengthened public institutions and policy, and
  • enhanced resilience of agriculture production and rural livelihoods.

Strengthening the institutional base of agriculture, removing identified distortions, facilitating trade, and enhancing resilience through climate-smart agriculture and low-cost irrigation systems can help closing the potential-performance divide of Kenyan agriculture. High priority actions should be discussed in multi-stakeholder under national coordination in the Agricultural Ministry.

Kenya’s agriculture sector may not be transformed overnight. But making the right adjustments now will be critical to realize the Vision 2030.”

With access to more finance, more efficient farming and climate-smart practices, Kenya will be able to reach its potential in agricultural returns.