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Top 5 sustainable farming and environmental-friendly practices

Large-scale agriculture has caused massive destruction to the environment. With the rising awareness of environmental harm, most farmers are shifting to eco-friendly practices. Intense carbon outputs, extensive pesticide use, and massive deforestation to create room for farming have fueled the negative impacts of climate change. This has forced policymakers to advocate for sustainable and environmental-friendly practices to overcome the adverse effects. Currently, the demands of fruits have been increasing in the local and export market. To promote green environments, fruit farming can be a good measure to counter climate change and environmental pollution. Some top sustainable and eco-friendly practices include:

Permaculture

This incorporates growing fruits and cover crops in a way similar to how plants grow in natural environments. It involves extensive application of smart farming to enhance production efficiency and minimize wastage of resources. Permaculture includes growing cover crops such as grain and vegetables without tillage, planting fruit seedlings such as grapevines and strawberry on raised beds, and creating swales to hold water. 

Aquaponics & Hydroponics

These are innovative farming practices that incorporate planting fruits and vegetables without any soil. Plants are provided with water-soluble nutrients that are carried by water. Hydroponics contain sophisticated systems, especially in commercial fruit and vegetable farming. Once they are dissolved in the water, mineral solutions are absorbed by the plants’ roots and taken up to all the tissues. For effectiveness, hydroponic systems are integrated with aquaponics systems. Fish produce waste which provides nutrients that are required to enhance plant growth. He plants purify the water which then gets back to the aquaponics systems and the cycle begins again. This farming technique is efficient when growing vegetables and fruits such as strawberry. The method is not efficient for woody plants such as avocado and citrus.

Using Renewable Energy Resources

Sustainable farming involves the application of eco-friendly sources of energy such as solar power, wind power, or hydropower. In drier regions such as Moyale, Kitui, and Mandera, irrigation has to be done during the dry season to keep the plants growing. Solar panels can be used for power-pumping and fertigation systems. Hydroelectric power can be used to run farm machinery. Utilizing natural sources of energy to run farm equipment can help cut down the orchard management costs.

Crop Rotation

Planting one crop at the same place for a long time increases the chances of vegetable and plant diseases. Crop rotation and crop diversification can be used to minimize the chances of diseases such as bacterial wilt and rust. This practice can reduce fertilizer and chemical use.

Fruit farming

Agroforestry is one of the most efficient ways of promoting sustainable farming. Sustainable agriculture incorporates the application of syntropic agroforestry, regenerative farming, and forest gardens. Fruit farming is one of the most profitable agribusinesses. With the increasing awareness of green environments, planting profitable trees is the best way to promote agroforestry. This is a win-win situation for both the farmer and the environment. Growing fruit trees reduces carbon levels and enhances biodiversity. To the farmer, fruit trees can be a good source of income, especially when done as an agribusiness.

Sustainable farming is a key factor in minimizing climate change. Sustainability should be ensured to promote environmental protection and at the same time increasing production capabilities. Grow crops passion and practice smart passion farming in well-managed agroforestry systems. Promote biodiversity and invest in fruit farming. For high-quality seedlings, contact Oxfarm Ag Ltd and kickstart your farming agribusiness.

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How Demand and Supply Affect Profitability in Fruit Farming

Demand and Supply

Fruit farming industry is highly competitive as every farmer chases his opportunity to succeed. Farmers not only strive to produce high yields and high-quality fruits but also to sell their fruits at competitive prices and acquire higher profits. Most farmers face a challenge surviving on the local and export market due to factors of demand and supply.

When done as an agribusiness, fruit farming is a profitable venture that relies on natural processes. To achieve success, farmers should aim at employing unique farm management practices. Each practice can bring overwhelming results. These farm practices range from land preparation, planting, tree management during the vegetative growth stage, harvesting, marketing, and packaging. To get higher profits, farmers try to put the maintenance costs to a minimum.

What Should you Know Before Deciding on the Fruit to Plant?

Crop requirements – different fruits have varying requirements. For instance, strawberries, passion, and grapevines are more delicate and susceptible to damage compared to citrus and crop such macadamia. This means that more care is required by these plants. Different requirements illustrate that varying finances are required to manage these crops. Farmers should invest in crops that fit their financial possibilities.

Market – the demand for fruits varies depending on either on the season, nutritional value, and consumption. Markets for most agricultural produce are seasonal and only make good money when the demand is high and the supply is low.

Durability – Some crops such as strawberries and bananas are perishable and cannot be stored for longer periods. If farmers are not ready to adapt to fluctuations in the demand for perishable fruits, they should consider investing in fruits that can be stored for a certain period such as macadamia.

How does demand relate to supply in Fruit Farming?

 Demand describes the number of goods that a customer is willing to buy at a certain price at a given period. Supply means the amount of goods a farmer is ready to offer on the market at a given price and period. The relation between supply and demand determines the prices of fruits in the market. There are two concepts fruit farmers should know:

The Demand and Supply Determine the Market Price for Fruits

When farmers set high prices for a certain fruit, the demand and supply reduce. When they set low prices, the consumption increases hence an increase in demand and supply.

The market price determines the supply and demand for fruits

When the market price is high, the interest of farmers to invest in a certain crop will be high. What will happen later? Flooding in the market when the fruits mature in the same period leading to a sharp fall in prices. When the market price is low, the demand and supply will increase as the interest of consumers rises. At this time, few producers will show interest in the crop and hence the chances of selling at competitive prices when the crop matures are high. When the prices are low, farmers make less profit and at times are forced to sell at distress prices.

How do you Find a Balance Between Demand and Supply?

Demand and supply will always fall and rise until market equilibrium is achieved. For instance, if tangerine prices are too high, most consumers will shift to other fruits retailing at affordable prices. This will force the farmer to lower the prices until the demand for tangerines increases. When the demand and supply are balanced, the market is considered to be at equilibrium.

Farmers make more profits in markets that are not controlled. This is because the demand and supply dictate the market prices for fruits. Fruit farmers should regularly monitor demand and supply curves and turn the information into profit. Adequate information will help them regulate the entire market competition. For instance, if the supply of avocados to China is high, the prices will be low and hence they can shift to markets in Europe and Mauritius where there are less competition and better prices.

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A critical Issue in the Fruits Supply Chain Management

Fruits supply chain

The food and beverage industry has been growing rapidly as fruit and vegetable processing increases. As more processing plants are being set up, the global demand for fruits is expected to rise by more than 10% in the next 5 years. Fruits are extensively used in making products such as juices, jam, tomato sauce, cosmetics, and beverages such as wine.

The key issue, however, is how food supply chains are going to be managed by processing companies and farmers. How are the two groups going to maximize on quality and production of fruits and end products?

Sustainability when Outsourcing Agricultural Products

Managing supply chains is a difficult task from a business perspective. Challenges such as poor production and product quality are common when poor management techniques are employed. This results to food waste and losses. Some critical issues on quality and production management include: 

Harvesting Fruits too early or too late

Fruits should be harvested at the right time when they mature. However, some farmers tend to harvest fruits before they mature which is a common issue especially in the macadamia subsector. Most immature fruits end up being rejected by buyers. Also, some farmers harvest their fruits later on after maturity. What happens when they do this? Fruits such as watermelon, citrus, and pomegranates start splitting while other fruits become overripe and they start rotting.

Irregular shape and size of Fruits

Fertilization, manuring, and pest control management techniques employed determines the shape and size of fruits. Over-fertilization can make the fruits to be extremely large. Most customers will find this abnormal and only a small number will purchase the fruits. Poor management such as under-fertilization, pest control, and manuring will make the fruits have an irregular shape and small size. Buyer s also won’t be willing to buy that. This means the farmer will be forced to dispose a large chunk of the fruits meaning more losses.

Differences in knowledge and a dispersed supplier network

Crop production requires attention and clpose supervision especially when growing a fruit that you are growing for the first time or using new technologies. The fact that suppliers are in different geographical locations makes the agricultural supply chains complicated. The supplier network is made up of farmers with advanced knowledge and non-skilled ones. If the farmers are not careful, these suppliers can end up affecting their entire season.

Poor crop management

Poor disease and pest control, ineffective weed control, and failure to apply manure and fertilizers results to extremely low yields and poor product quality. Also, poor choice of seedlings can also result to poor performance, low yields, and a longer maturity of the fruit tree.

Maintain high product quality

High-quality products will always attract the attention of many buyers. To avoid losses, farmers have a role to play to maintain their market share in the local and export markets. To help farmers manage the fruit quality, sourcing companies should:

Have a common place to interact with farmers

With the advancements in technology, software have been developed which provide an ideal ground for farmers to interact. This can help in nurturing the relationship between farmers and buyers, companies, agronomists.

Equip farmers with management practices that they can utilize

Agronomy support is always important in fruit farming to help farmers employ proper orchard management techniques. Educating farmers will help them avoid unproductive practices and show them the methods they can use to improve productivity in their farms.

Present their requirements in clear terms

The export market is highly demanding and is quite keen when it comes to quality. Exporters should present the product requirements in understandable terms to help farmers know where they need to improve and how they can maximize on the product quality.

Ensure there is traceability and transparency to help farmers understand the performance of the export markets

A digital solution to enhance product quality

These days, farmers are migrating to digital agriculture. A cloud-based platform can be an ideal solution to improve production and product quality. An integrated management platform can help farmers have a common place to:

  • Market their produce – With a large number of potential customers in a single platform, buyers can select the most appropriate buyer for their produce.
  • Interact with other farmers, buyers, agronomists, and farm input suppliers – real-time communication in a common place can be an important environment for farmers to share or look for information. Also, farmers can know the best places to purchase seedlings and farm inputs.
  • Monitor performanceoxfarm online platform helps farmers monitor production crop traceability, and product quality. They can also monitor the performance of their crops and weather patterns. This will also help them know the best pest and disease control method to apply. While still communicating with other farmers, farmers can learn how they can ensure higher yields and high quality fruits.
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Can Fruit Appearance Affect Farmer’s Profitability?

Fruit appearance matters

Purchasing food either in supermarkets, food stores or local groceries is always in the daily activity list. When walking through stores, it’s easy to spot fresh fruits and vegetables. However, you may have wondered how the fruits are produced and all of them e.g. apples the same as the ones in the grocery or food store. Well, fruits have a different appearance (shape, size and colour). Not all apples are red and of the same size and not all bananas are yellow. Fruit appearance vary in varieties, each having its own unique characteristics and that’s where their beauty originates from. 

The export market is highly demanding when it comes to fruit quality. There are strict measures to ensure that farmers produce high-quality fruits. Same requirements are also in the local market especially in supermarkets and hotels. When fruit farmers fail to meet the required quality, groceries are forced to discard the fruits and end up not buying the produce again. Farmers end up selling at distress prices and are left with a large bunch of fruits. What’s the final result? The food becomes waste and the farmer makes losses and ends up regretting why they invested in fruit farming.

Can fruit appearance affect farmer’s profitability?

Fruit appearance is one of the factors that can determine whether a customer purchases the fruit or not. The colour of fruits is mainly determined by the ecological conditions and management techniques applied. Ecological conditions have a great impact in fruit appearance. For instance, in grape farming, sunlight determines the colour concentrations. When the vineyards receive direct and concentrated sunlight, the grapes develop thicker skin which enhances colour concentrations, flavour profiles, and makes them have stronger tannins. If properly taken care of, grapes with good colour concentrations will always have a higher demand and buyers will always compete for the fruits in the orchard.

When fruits such as apples, mangoes, bananas, or avocados are stored for longer periods, they tend to lose their colour and attractive appearance. When fruits stay for longer periods in the farm upon maturity, they start losing their appearance. Also, when fruits are attacked by pests and diseases, their quality and appearance deteriorates. Such fruits can barely attract any buyers and only a small amount makes it to the market. What does this mean? The farmer can only sell at low prices hence low profits. Few customers are willing to buy less attractive fruits.

How to maintain and enhance fruit appearance and quality

Soil Testing and Agronomy support

Agronomists play an important role in your fruit farming venture. They help you identify your weaknesses, areas you need to improve on, monitor the performance of the trees and conduct soil testing to determine the nutrients absent and need to be supplemented in the soil. They also help you know the pest and disease control mechanism that you should employ. Consulting the experts such as Oxfarm Ag Ltd can help you improve the fruit appearance and quality and enable you to succeed in fruit farming.

Regular weeding

Weeds compete with fruit trees in an orchard for nutrients and water. They also encourage pest infestation and disease development. Orchards should hence be weed-free. Planting cover crops such as legumes and mulching is encouraged to minimize the growth of weeds.

Timely control of pest and diseases

Pests and diseases great affect fruit appearance and quality. For instance, pests such as mites can cause black spots brown spots on avocado fruits while thrips can cause leathery scars. Diseases such as sunblotch can cause discoloration of fruits which in turn affects the fruit appearance.  Regular scouting is recommended to help farmers identify and control pests and diseases in a timely manner.

Consistent application of manure and fertilizers

Fruit trees are heavy feeders and require consistent application of nutrients. Manure should be applied regularly to enhance the growth of plants. Fertilizers should also be applied to supplement nutrients and boost fruit quality.

Oxfarm offers Agronomy support as well as sale of highly certified seedlings.

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Why Food Safety Should be Ensured in Fruits Farming

Fruits safety

Consumers have become more conscious of what they consume. They expect the fruits that they buy to adhere to high ethical, ecological, and social standards. When buying fruits either from the supermarkets or local groceries, consumers have been asking questions such as: Are the fruits safe for me and the family? Are they of high quality and produced healthily?  Are the process justified or worth it? What disease and pest control mechanisms are employed especially when using chemical control?

Europe and Asia provide the largest markets for Kenyan fruits. Poor-quality produce can have negatively impact the reputation of the grower, exporter, and processor. Once an exporter, company, or grower gets a bad reputation, retaining the customers and stakeholders becomes challenging. For instance, when South Africa suspected that avocados in Kenya were produced in areas prone to fruit flies, they closed the market. Regaining the market took almost a decade and stricter measures had to be enforced.

GLOBAL G.A.P. guarantees safer food, fruits and better markets

Over the past few years, there has been a rising concern on the extensive use of pesticides. The slogan “Our food is slowly killing us” has become a debated topic in most parts of the world. It has become a regular headline in the news. If pesticides are not used in a controlled manner, we might end up losing the large market share in the export market especially in Europe, Mauritius, and Asia.

Despite the large number of companies offering certification to show proof of where the product comes from, only one agency has definite rules that should be followed by farmers. The GLOBAL G.A.P. is a food safety standard that was introduced to regulate the methods of production and to help farmers enhance the quality of their fruits. GLOBAL G.A.P. certification provides transparency of the food production methods from planting to harvesting. The production units are thoroughly evaluated by external auditors. Adhering to the set standards improves the methods of handling agricultural produce, ensuring that it’s produced healthily and sustainably to the consumer and a healthy way to the environment. The standard boosts customer confidence in the health and quality of fruits. 

The GLOBAL G.A.P. is quite strict and only farmers and companies which adhere to good farming practices especially on HACCP principles, quality management, and integrated pest control programs can be issued with a certificate.

Getting the certificate is quite beneficial to farmers, exporters, and buyers. It enhances the profitability of the growers since buyers can buy the produce with confidence that its safe for consumption. Also, it offers a sense of trust and security to consumers hence the fruits will have a higher position in the export market.  

Farm management systems make it easier to get the certification

To get a GLOBAL G.A.P. certificate, a farmer should follow administrative procedures set by the standard. The process can be time-consuming and quite challenging especially when conducted manually. It involves extensive assessment, monitoring, and analysis of data to find out what processes do not comply with the set criteria.

When investing in commercial fruit farming, it’s important to use farm management systems to run the farm. This can not only simplify the process of getting a certificate but also make it easier to look for tactical and operational support. If the data fed into the system complies with the GLOBAL G.A.P. standards, then you can get the certification within a short time.

For all types of seedlings kindly contact oxfarm.

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Identifying stress factors that may affect yields

Stress factors in Passion

Stress on plants can result to deficiencies plant growth and yields. In extreme levels, it can lead to permanent damage or death of the plant. Stress occurs in different forms and at different stages of the plant growth. Some stressors are naturally occurring such as wind and drought while others are caused by root disturbances, over and under-irrigation or lack of enough nutrients. In fruit farming, stress is an important factor that should be keenly looked at. This is because it can affect the performance, production, and quality of the fruits. Plant stress factors are divided into two categories;

Categories of Stress Factors

  1. Biotic factors
  2. Abiotic factors

Biotic factors

These include;

Weeds

They compete with plants for water and nutrients. Orchard owners should ensure that their gardens are free from weeds especially when the plants are still young. Planting cover crops such as legumes and mulching is recommended to minimize the growth of weeds.

Pathogens

Pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, nematodes, and fungi cause diseases to fruit trees which affect the yield and fruit quality negatively. They limit translocation and the plants ability to absorb nutrients from the soil. Under severe conditions, they cause chlorosis, wilting, necrosis, or even plant death. For instance, in Hass avocado, sunblotch causes stunted growth, discoloration of leaves and fruits and reduced yields.

Pests have a significant impact on the plants growth and fruit quality. If not controlled, the can damage 90 percent of the produce. In Hass avocado, mites can cause brown spots on fruits and leaves. They promote leaf and flower drop. Pests should be controlled early enough before they have devastating effects.

Diseases such as powdery mildew spread faster when the trees are poorly spaced and close together. Biotic factors can be controlled by application of good farming practices such as proper spacing,   timely pruning, and employing proper irrigation methods.

Abiotic Factors

These are environmental factors that affect the performance and production of the trees. They include;

Drought and wind damage

Plants such as citrus and avocados are able to tolerate drought and extreme weather conditions to some extent. However, others such as watermelon and grapes can barely tolerate drought. Harsh environmental conditions weaken the plant and low its capability to fight pests and diseases. Although drought enhances flowering, exposure for prolonged periods inhibits fruiting and fruit set.

Wind results to breakage of branches and fruit fall. It also damages plants such as passion, strawberry, and grape vines if not well-supported. Planting wind breakers is recommended to minimize effects of strong winds.

Soil conditions

The soil pH determines the availability of nutrients in the soil. Nutrients are most available in slightly acidic to neutral pH (a pH range of 5.5 – 7.5). Acidic soils (with a pH below 4) and alkaline soils (with a pH above 8) are notfavorable for fruit farming.

The presence of salts in the soil lowers the plants ability to take in water which results to poor growth rate and production. 

To determine the pH for your soil, soil testing is recommended. Oxfarm Ltd will be willing to offer soil testing services and even adjust the pH to the required levels.

Temperature stress

Extremely high or low temperatures can impact the lifespan and growth of plants negatively. High temperatures can negatively affect the permeability of plant membranes while low temperatures can minimize the rate of uptake of nutrients and water.

Water stress

Plants require enough water for optimum growth. Too little water can cause desiccation while too much water can lead to swelling and bursting of cells.

Nutrient deficiency

Nutrients enhance the growth and production of fruit trees. Nutrient deficiency results to stunted growth, yellowing of leaves, and poor flowering and fruiting. If not corrected in time, the trees will just be unproductive.

Biotic and abiotic stressors can result to catastrophic losses. When they occur together, abiotic stressors can have devastating effects and can ruin your entire fruit farming investment.

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Commercial viability of different fruits in Kenya

fruits basket

Oxfarm Organic Ltd encourages sustainable diverse cropping systems where farmers plant more than one crop including fruits. This ensures spread of economic risk and offers the opportunity of reducing production costs and increasing profits. The more farmers’ successfully produce more of one type of crop, the more they are whipped by low prices making them a victim of their own success. That’s the greatest irony of farming as dictated by the laws of supply and demand, hence the need for diversified farm systems.

With such diversified systems, you require thorough planning and close monitoring to cater for the different components. For easy management we recommend 2-3 main crops and a set of rotational crops, for example, we have a farmer initiating a mixed fruit orchard in Nyeri doing hass avocado, tree tomato and apples.

A serious fruit farmer should also embrace an integrated pest management strategy and maintain the farm in ways that make them attractive to beneficial insects and pollinators such as bees, and implement interventions to protect them.

Note That: No pollination, no fruit.

Start with what you can manage as you progress. Farming is a journey, more of a marathon than a short sprint. It requires more resilience and focus on a desired farming venture.

Failure is inevitable, the love and passion of your venture will play an important role in such times.

Below are some of the fruit varieties that are commercially viable and worth giving a try.

Passion Fruits

passion fruits farming in Kenya

The two common varieties are; sweet yellow and purple passion. Both varieties do well locally and there is demand for both in the local market. The export market prefers purple passion; Europe is one of the main markets. In the past few years farmers from Rift valley have shifted to passion fruit cultivation without regret and we are seeing a lot of activities in Uasin gishu, Bomet, and Kericho.

Mango Fruits

There are different mango varieties that thrive in different parts of our country, but so far there is high demand for the Apple mango variety that thrives in hot areas. Other popular varieties include; Kent, Tommy and Haden. There is an emerging export market for Kenyan mangoes in China, hope this holds up.

Avocado

The hass variety is the most preferred for those targeting the export market due to its high oil content, appearance and low perishability. There is a niche market for Fuerte and Pinkerton variety locally; there high perishability does not make them good candidates for the export market.

Citrus

New citrus orchards are being developed in the coast, eastern and rift valley by farmers who are targeting to meet the local demand. Most of the citrus consumed locally are imported because the local supply does not meet the demand. There is need for improving production and quality of local citrus. The different varieties cultivated are: Pixie, Minneola, Clementine tangerine, lemon, Washington navel, Valencia among others.

Apples

In the near future high quality locally grown apples will be at the shelves in your grocery store. New apple fruits orchards are cropping up in different parts of the country targeting the local market. Different varieties have been tried and tested in different parts of the country and the results are promising. These varieties include; pink lady, green apple, Anna, Golden Dorset, Gala, Red delicious and Braeburn.

One year old Apple

Strawberry

So far chandler variety is the most successful varieties to cultivate. Most farmers are producing for the local market. We are trying out Quinault variety and some other giant strawberry varieties to see their viability.

Tree tomato

A good number of farmers have ventured in tree tomato fruits cultivation to meet local demand. Red Oratia is the most grown variety. One can choose to cultivate grafted tree tomato or the non-grafted ones.

Grapes

This is one of the fruits whose potential remains unexploited by the Kenyan farmer despite it doing well in various parts of the country. Most commercial grape ventures are established by wineries and geared towards wine production. Grape plants grown in the country are mostly grown by home gardeners for personal consumption. The local demand for table grapes and raisins heavily relies on imports.

Pears and plums

A good number of farmers in Molo, Limuru and some parts of Kiambu have cultivated pears and plums fruits that they supply to the local market. There are low chill pear varieties that do thrive in warm areas. The hood variety is a low chill variety that has been proven to do well in Kenya. We have sold few seedlings to various farmers in western Kenya and Nyanza to gauge their performance.

Bananas

This is the most important fruit crop in Kenya. Banana farming has been gaining momentum thanks to attractive market prices and availability of quality propagation material through tissue culture. There are different varieties that perform well in Kenya, study what the market wants and go bananas.

Kiwi

In Kenya So far there are no success story on kiwi cultivation, we are still in the infant stages. However, We can confidently say that the kiwi plant thrives in Kenya. The oldest plant we are monitoring is almost 3 years old and we are seeing some signs of fruiting. The greatest challenge in kiwi production is the propagation material. Most kiwi seedlings in the market are propagated from seed; this takes long to fruit around 4yrs.

There also other fruits which are mostly grown for personal consumption or on a smaller scale. They include Pomegranate, custard apple, star fruit, guava, loquats, peach, fig fruit, rasp berry, jack fruit, apricot and dragon fruit among others.

In case of any queries feel free to reach us,

You can always contact us on;

Cell no. 0706 222888

Phone no:0740 000044

Website; oxfarm.co.ke

Email; info@oxfarmorganic.co.ke

info@oxfarm.co.ke

Fruitful season ahead and remember to consume at least one fruit a day before any meal.

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Solutions for Overcoming Water Challenges

Water is a precious element that occupies more than 60% of the planet. However, there is only a limited amount of fresh water which is threatened by effects of climate change and human activities. Fresh water is mainly found in rivers, streams, wetlands, and lakes. Unfortunately, it only accounts to about 2.5% of all water on Earth, according to the UN.

In agriculture, water is an important resource that is required by plants throughout their growing period. In areas that do not receive adequate rainfall, irrigation is the only alternative. It can be done in different ways such as by sprinkling, using drip lines, or over-head irrigation. Crops have different water requirements and hence different methods can be used to apply water. The efficiency of irrigation methods varies depending with the crop.

Knowing the most efficient irrigation method and achieving uniform water application is one of the greatest challenges to most fruit farmers. For instance, overhead irrigation can be efficient in apple and avocado farming and not in strawberry and grape farming. The soil type and drainage, crop, elevation of the land, field size and weather conditions determine the efficiency of an irrigation system.

Key water challenges

As the global population increases, the demand for fresh water and food increases. This means that more land will be converted for agricultural activities to sustain the growing population. In the next 2 decades, the demand for fresh water will have increased by 30%.

What are some key water challenges that are currently being experienced?

  • Water pollution especially in towns which contributes to a decrease in safe water for farming and sanitation services.
  • Climate change
  • Water-related natural calamities such as drought and floods
  • Increased food production which has resulted to an increase in the amount of water withdrawn from water sources for irrigation.  

The solution to water challenges

Fresh water is an important resource that is required by the entire natural ecosystems. It, therefore, needs to be preserved and protected all the time. Some of the solutions that can be employed to solve water challenges include:

  • Practicing agroforestry – fruit farming is one of the solutions to climate change. Apart from enhancing greener environments, they can also be a good source of income.
  • Restoring natural wetlands and grasslands
  • Practicing sustainable water use in agriculture. This can be done by using drip and sprinkler irrigation methods.
  • Reconnecting rivers to flood plains

How sustainable farmers respond to water challenges

Agriculture is considered the main consumer of fresh water, contributing to 70 percent of water withdrawals. Irrigation is an important component that enhances crop production. However, unsustainable farming practices such as extensive use of fertilizers and pesticides will lead to water contamination.

As a response to these challenges, fruit farmers should consider sustainable practices and nature-based solutions like:

  • Using efficient irrigation methods such as drips and only practice irrigation when necessary.
  • Harvest rain water for irrigation
  • Minimize water pollution by applying fertilizers and pesticides wisely

Why farmers should consider using drip irrigation

Drip lines can be used for irrigation and fertigation (application of pesticides and water-soluble nutrients). These days, fruit farmers are extensively using drip irrigation in their farms. By doing so, farmers are:

  • Preventing soil erosion and maintaining soil productivity
  • Reducing pesticide, fertilizer, and water use
  • Reducing irrigation and farming costs
  • Increasing yield quantity and quality

It is the role of every farmer to promote water conservation. We encourage farmers to embrace technological advancements to make fruit farming more profitable by cutting farming costs and minimizing water loss. Drip irrigation is the most efficient irrigation method in passion, strawberry, and grape orchards.

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Coriander/ Dhania farming

The aroma of Dhania is irresistible and no African cuisine is complete without it. Dhania farming is easy as the crop matures within a short period and requires almost zero maintenance. This means that most of the money you will be making will be profit. If enough manure is applied, they rarely require any fertilizers. Chemical application is rarely needed which saves costs. The demand for coriander is growing rapidly just like for other vegetables like tomatoes, kale, spinach, and carrots.

Location Constraints

These plants are extremely fragile and hence they should not be transplanted from pots to the garden. Instead, the seeds should be sown in the soil directly. Farmers can make rows or seedbeds and sow the seeds.

Sunlight

Coriander requires sufficient sunshine throughout the growing period. Once the seeds germinate and start producing leaves, the plants will require 5 – 6 hours of sunshine.

Dhania Farming: Spacing

The plants become bushy with time and hence proper spacing is important. A spacing of 3 inches will be enough to ensure that the plants receive enough light. Proper spacing also makes weeding and harvesting easy.

Growth

Dhania plants are small and only grow a few inches long. They should be harvested once the leaves appear fully grown. However, if you want to harvest Dhania seeds, the plants can be left to bloom. Tiny yellow flowers appear within one week and later on seeds pop out.

Temperature 

Coriander is sensitive to temperatures and cannot thrive when the temperatures are too cold or extremely hot. They thrive in temperatures of between 150C – 260C. However, warm temperatures of about 250C are required during germination.
Watering

The seeds should be watered regularly until they germinate. After germination, the plants can be watered after a couple of days. Too much water can cause the roots to rot and damage the plants.

Dhania Farming: Nutrient Management

Coriander requires fertile and well-drained soils. To boost the growth process, manure should be added. Although it does not harm the plants, fertilizer application is not recommended.

Pest Management

Since the plants mature within a short time and are harvested immediately upon maturity, there is no space for pest infestation. However, root rot and powdery mildew can develop when there is too much dampness in the soil. There are chances of aphid infestation after flowering and when the seeds set in. Aphids can cause massive destruction when they eat up the seeds. At this time, a pesticide can be sprayed.

Dhania Farming: Harvesting

Coriander plants are ready to be harvested in 25 -32 days. They should be plucked immediately after healthy green leaves are formed. If they are left for another week the leaves turn feathery and develop yellow flowers and seeds sprout out.

Uses and health benefits of Dhania

Apart from its aroma, coriander has many health benefits. For instance, the seeds can be used to treat griping pain in both children and adults. Also, it treats gastric disorders and cures indigestion. Furthermore, it helps maintain good heart health and treats high cholesterol levels.

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Kenya becomes the world’s third greatest producer of Macadamia Nuts
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Value Addition In Agricultural Commodities And Why Every Farmer Should Do It
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Hass Avocado:Best Long-term Investment
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Agribusiness between Kenya and Israel
You Want To Start An Agricultural Export Business? This Is What You Should Know!
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Hass Avocado farmers reap big in Muranga
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Passion Fruits prices rise due to low production
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Sustainable Agriculture Through Innovation
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Pepino Melon: The wonder fruit taking Kenya fruit market by storm
Surprising Benefits of Mangoes
Agri-business in Kenya: Fighting Poverty and Hunger
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How Do I Monetize My Passion On Farming?
Benefit of Social Media in Agribusiness
Kenyan Avocados: Connecting to High-value Export Markets
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Why More Carbon is Needed in our Soils
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