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How Can Kenya Boost Agricultural Productivity?

How to boost productivity

Many countries have successfully developed after shifting resources from agriculture to manufacturing. Countries in East Asia and the Pacific witnessed a revolution in the 90’s but Kenya and Africa in general missed out and has overtime lacked progress in agricultural productivity which can be blamed for holding back the region’s overall economic growth.

So what can be done to boost Kenyan agricultural productivity? below are eight factors that are drawn from transforming Kenya’s agriculture to improve competitiveness.

Grow High-yield Crops

Kenya requires increased research into plant breeding, taking into consideration the unique Kenyan soils. If money is put in good use in this segment, according to world bank, 1ksh is capable of yielding Ksh 6 in terms of benefits.

Improve Irrigation

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

Increase the use of Organic fertilizers

As soil fertility deteriorates, organic fertilizer use must increase. Governments need to ensure the right type of fertilizers are available at the right price, and at the right times. Fertilizer education lessens the environmental impact and an analysis of such training programs in East Africa found they boosted average incomes by 61%.

Enhance Regulations, Market Access and Governance

Improving rural infrastructure such as roads is crucial to raising productivity through reductions in shipping costs and the loss of perishable produce. Meanwhile, providing better incentives to farmers, including reductions in food subsidies, could raise agricultural output by nearly 5%. In recent times Kenyan government has had a tussle with maize farmers where the government insisted on buying a 90 Kg bag of maize at Ksh 2300 but the farmers wanted more. Eventually the government increased the amount up to Ksh 2500. Such fights with farmers will only deteriorate and make things worse as farmers will get tired of farming if the market is harsh for them.

State of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

Use of IT

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

Reform land ownership

Africa has the highest area of arable uncultivated land in the world (202 million hectares) yet most farms occupy less than 2 hectares. This results from poor land governance and ownership. Land reform has had mixed results on the African continent but changes that clearly define property rights, ensure the security of land tenure, and enable land to be used as collateral will be necessary if many African nations are to realize potential productivity gains. In Pastoralists counties such as Kajiado and Narok, land is owned by communities but recently some individuals have been grabbing it and making it theirs with no development. government should come up with policies that can help the common man.

Significance of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

Intensify integration into Agricultural Value Chains

Driven partly by the growth of international supermarket chains, Kenyan economy has progressively diversified from traditional cash crops into fruits, vegetables, fish, and flowers. However, lack of access to finance and poor infrastructure have slowed progress. Government support, crucial to coordinate the integration of smallholder farmers into larger cooperatives and groups, may be needed in other areas that aid integration with wider markets.

If the government, NGO’s, all agriculture stakeholders come together and do the above, we might reap as a country and as a continent. At Oxfarm we have been educating the public on the best farming methods and how to access the market, we expect the government to provide a fair and a good working environment for farmers.

 

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Tips on how to get over 20Kgs/Tree from Tree-tomato farming

Tree tomato Fruit can be red or yellow; personally, I prefer the tangy red ones. The plants grow from seed to about 2m tall, long and leggy, and only fruit after they have formed several branches, usually after Year 2.

Related Content:The benefits of certified fruit seedlings

To get the most out of your tree tomato:

  • They only live for about 12 years, so always have a few young ones coming on to replace the old ones;
  • Tip cuttings will fruit sooner, and tend to produce a stronger, more compact bush;
  • In coastal and windy areas, it pays to shelter the trees, and cover them during a frost;
  • Don’t put them in your greenhouse; they grow better outside away from whitefly which covers them like snow otherwise;
  • Feed them like a tomato, with plenty of nitrogen and trace elements;
  • Pruning increases fruit size, so in summer trim some of those leggy growing branch ends back by 60cm.

Combine it all and you can harvest up to 20kg per plant – we have had a crate box full off one tree.

Two Deadly Enemies of Your Tree Tomato

Grafted tree tomato fruitsJust like citrus trees, tree-tomato will die if left to dry out, even if for only a day. In eastern areas you will have to irrigate all dry seasons with a drip line or hand water every few days. In the west, if you’re growing outside, your older plants will get through a few days of dry seasons winds but not many. Get the watering can out or you’ll lose your prized tree. Mulch the root zone to keep the moisture in.

Nematodes are tree-tomatoes worst enemy, they survive by feeding directly off the nutrients pumped through tree-tomatoes roots. They form galls that can reach up to an inch wide where they hide and reproduce, causing many symptoms that point to problems in infected plants’ transport systems. Yellowing plants, stunted growth and general decline are early symptoms, but unless your bed is heavily infected with nematodes, a large tree-tomato planting will only show these symptoms in a relative few plants. They typically appear in soils where tree-tomatoes and other root knot nematode host plants have been grown in the last three to five years, and populations increase the longer an area is used. If you suspect your tree-tomatoes plants have nematodes, start by digging up a particularly weak plant. Roots that have a lot of unusual knobby growths are infected with these parasites.

 

 

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Earn Ksh500,000 Per Acre/ Year by Growing Pawpaw

One acre under Pawpaw can hold 450 plants at a spacing of 3 by 3 Meters. Let’s now take an approximation of one pawpaw plant producing a minimum of 50 fruits sold at the farm at a price of KSh 25 per fruit. The gross returns per acre during the year will be 450X50X25 = 562500. The total cost of establishing such an orchard is approximately 100,000 with production expected only in the second year. From the second year onward, the plantation can offer returns of regarding KSh four 562,000 per annum with a little maintenance value of about KSh 60,000 giving a gross margin/income of about KSh 502,000 per acre/ year. The investment pays back in a very short time because the crop grows considerably quicker than most alternative fruits taking about 9-10months to mature.

Related Content: How to establish grafted purple passion Fruits Orchard

The pawpaw (fruit of genus Carica papaya) is a tropical plant typically grown in tropical climates. Pawpaws are general delicious fruits that are available all the year round in Kenya. The productive lifetime of a pawpaw plant is about 5 years. Thus, once you have established the plantation, financial gain can flow with very little effort provided you’ve got a prepared market. Pawpaw need warm to hot climates for growth and temperature vary from 21-30°C, and an altitude vary of 0-1600 m higher than water level, with annual downfall of about 1000mm that is equally distributed.

Pawpaw seeds are often directly planted into the farm at a rate of half-dozen seeds per hole then reduced to four plants per hole after germination, and step by step reduced the to 1 plant per hole after flowering so as to balance male and feminine flowers. Generally, pawpaw takes six months to flower and another 5 months to mature for harvesting. This makes a complete of eleven months. Thirty to a hundred and fifty fruits per tree are often attainable annually betting on the extent of management.

Related content: Why Hass Avocado is the new Cash Crop

For more information, visit our offices. If in need of seedlings, book now!!!

 

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Passion Fruit Farming In Kenya on the rise Again

The prospects of passion fruit farming in Kenya may change for the higher if plans to elevate the fruit into a significant farming crop are adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture.

This is once details emerged that Kenya’s production of the passion Fruit has been on the decline for the past decade within which no passion fruit exports visited Europe.

During a stakeholders’ forum for farmers, consumers and development partners, Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya chairman Apollo Owuor said the country produced and exported passion fruit in massive scale within the 90’s and early 2000.

Related Post: How well-planned are you for tree fruit farming this season?

However, since 2003 it declined principally owing to pest management challenges a number of that contravened European markets’ strict tips on pesticides residue, with Kenya’s passion fruit reported to contain higher than acceptable limits.

In Addition, Mr. Owuor said that there haven’t been efforts to revive the trade since, partially as a result of passion fruit being listed as a minor farming crop by the Ministry of Agriculture thus it’s not within the government’s policy for priority support.

Passion Fruit is listed as a minor crop

Agriculture Food Authority Horticulture Crops Directorate head Zakayo Magara acknowledged that as a result of passion fruit being listed aboard a hundred different minor crops and little has been in advancing a policy to market and boost its cultivation.

In effect, the Council of Governors Agriculture Committee, depicted by Anne Koech, a county govt member accountable of agriculture in Kericho County, created a commitment to support the elevation of the crop to major crops standing in order that resources can be allotted to its development in counties appropriate for its cultivation.

She said county governments ought to likewise subsidize its seedlings purchase to boost production and additionally produce market linkages to contour selling.

Related post: Best Tips of Growing Grapes In Kenya

Research has shown that passion fruit will grow anyplace in Kenya owing to convenience of sorts for each hotter and colder climate – yellow passion for lower, hotter regions and therefore a lot of common purple selection for the upper cooler regions.

Experts at the stakeholders’ forum noted that there’s potential for Kenya to be a world leader in tropical juice production owing to its year-round convenience of tropical fruits like passion fruit, mangoes and pineapples, being a rustic that may grow these crops in turn.

Through passion fruit cultivation, farmers will observe better financial gain.

(Source: Brian Okinda, Seeds of Gold; Jan 27,2018)

We have already started preparing for the long rains, Book your seedlings today. Seedlings are delivered on a first-come basis.

 

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Common challenges to mango production in Kenya

Many farmers in Kenya invest in mango orchards. However, there are a number of production-related hindrances at farm level, including:

Limited access to good quality planting materials

-There is a general shortage of grafted planting materials of improved and higher yielding varieties in many areas. Farmers often use inferior seedlings obtained by germinating mango seeds from indigenous varieties. Such ungrafted trees take much longer to bear fruit. Whereas grafted trees begin to bear fruit within 3 to 4 years, ungrafted trees will take at least 5 years to bear fruit, depending on the growing conditions.

Pest and disease problems

Mangoes have many devastating pests and diseases, which can result in total yield loss. Major pests include the fruit fly (Bactrocera invadens), seed weevil (Sternochetus mangiferae) and mealy bugs (Rastrococcus invadens). Diseases like anthracnose and powdery mildew are common in almost all mango growing areas.

Poor orchard management –

In many areas, mango trees are left to grow so big that pest and disease management, harvesting and other field operations are difficult to implement. Except in big or commercial farms, mango trees are normally scattered around the gardens, ranging from 2 to 100 trees per household. This scattered nature makes mango a commonly neglected crop in terms of management, but becomes important only during the harvesting season.

Also Read: how to grow peaches and nectrines

Post-harvest losses

Fruit damage is a common problem as a result of poor pest and disease management and the poor harvesting practices. Also, a lot of fruit is lost after harvest, especially during the peak seasons due to the limited capacity to store and process fruit. This is further worsened by the poor roads and transport infrastructure to markets.

Limited returns from mango production

Mango is highly seasonal and harvest is only expected at certain times of the year

depending on the local conditions. During this time, most areas are harvesting and so the local markets are saturated and, therefore, offer very low prices, which may not even cover transportation costs.

For more information about mango farming in Kenya, visit our offices. In addition book your seedlings today!!

 

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Why Record Keeping is Important in Fruit Farming

 

Production record-keeping is an important task for any fruit or crop farm, whether small, medium or large.

Currently, government agencies, lenders, and insurance companies are requiring better and more accurate records. Not only bushels per acre, income and expenses, but also weather records are becoming increasingly necessary.

An important tool for any Fruit or crop production farming operation, regardless of size, is having and maintaining a recordkeeping system for crop production. A common question that often gets asked is why should I keep production records? There are several reasons as follows: keeping records meets the requirements of various farming regulations; complete and accurate records help demonstrate your protection of soil, water and other environmental resources; records will help you analyze the performance of your farm’s cropping system; records may provide liability protection in the event of a complaint or lawsuit concerning your farming operation; and complete records demonstrate conformance with regulations.

The Recordkeeping System for fruit Production is designed for recording pesticide applications, nutrient applications, manure applications, animal burial and composting, irrigation, employee training, and pesticide drift management plans.

Also Read: Why Hass Avocado is the new Cash Crop

Lenders and Insurance Need your records

From the business aspect of the operation, record keeping is needed for future analysis of production methods, cropping history, and decision making. Record keeping provides valuable information concerning what worked and what did not and possibly, the reasons why something did not turn out as planned. As we all know, the best production methods and hybrids can fail due to weather conditions. Keeping daily records of precipitation and high and low temperatures is easy to accomplish and you can have a fairly accurate weather station. A high/low thermometer, rain gauge, something to record them on, and about ten minutes a day is all that is needed.

One set of accurate records should be enough to satisfy all your needs. If you keep good records of production, expenses, income, and weather, you should have all the required information for any purpose, from crop insurance to lenders to your own needs. You should be able to make informed conclusions regarding the past and to plan for the future.

Good records lead to better decisions and hopefully higher returns.

For more information on recordkeeping for fruit or crop production, contact Oxfarm Organic Ltd, Extension horticulture educators for tree fruit Production.

Also Read: how to grow peaches and nectrines

 

 

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Avocado Exports Banned for one Month Due To Rising Local Prices

The Directorate of Horticulture has banned all avocado exports following a severe shortage that has raised costs of the fruit to a three-and-a-half-year high.

The average worth of a 90-kilogramme bag of avocado shot up to Sh2,560 in December, creating it the very best value of the artifact since May 2014, when a bag was merchandising for slightly higher than Sh2,700.

A single avocado is presently selling for between Sh50 and Sh80 in Nairobi’s retail markets, up from between Sh10 and Sh20 each throughout peak season.

The Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), where that the Directorate of Horticulture falls, attributes the rise within the worth of the fruit to the biting shortage of widespread varieties, Fuerte and Hass, that are off-season.

Read Also:Why Record Keeping is Important in Fruit Farming

Why AFA has Banned Avocado Exports

“We have stopped the export of Fuerte and Hass varieties because of traders would ship out immature crop thanks to high demand within the world market. However, we’re planning to elevate (the ban) beginning next month once harvest starts,” said AFA director-general Alfred Busolo.

Avocado is very widespread on Kenyans’ eating tables. Most households mix it with different foods or eat it plain.

“The shortage isn’t solely in Kenya, however additionally globally. This is often the explanation why the costs have gone up,” further Mr. Busolo. The ban on exports was settled in December.

Mr. Busolo says the shortage is predicted to ease beginning next month once the new season crop can begin to touch the market.

“Fuerte selection can begin attending to the market next month whereas Hass are going to be in offer in March, bridging this deficit and reversing costs to the previous lows,” he said.

The Jumbo avocado selection is presently the only one offered within the market.

This selection is often in offer throughout the year however it’s not as widespread as Fuerte and Hass.

Avocado contributes seven per cent of Kenya’s total fruit export to the international market however production has been static over the years. Farm production stood at 230,948 tonnes in 2015, rising slightly to 246,057 tonnes in 2016.

About 387.2 tonnes valued Sh5.4 billion was exported in 2016, compared to 461.1 tonnes value Sh7.1 billion last year as per AFA information. Foreign investors are keen on finance the avocado sub-sector in Kenya thanks to its low-risk investment surroundings, wide market access, and improved infrastructure.

The Netherlands fund launched a $1 million project in 2016 to boost the export fight of the avocado sector in Kenya.

The project’s strategy includes change the artifact commodity business plan for the avocado sub-sector and increasing the export capability of exportation SMEs and farmer teams linking them to international consumers.

The horticultural sector is one amongst the biggest sources of interchange earnings in Kenya, bringing in more than Sh101 billion in 2016.

Now you know why we insist on farmer to plant more hass avocados, the demand and the market is ways above us. Book your seedlings today!

Read Also : The role of an Agronomist

 

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Healthy benefits of Macadamia nuts

Macadamias are an underestimated nutrient-powerhouse. A rich source of essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, iron, B vitamins, and folate. They also have a little protein and pack a healthy dose of good fats and antioxidants.

Commonly featured in more indulgent desserts rather than thought of as an everyday health food, macadamias are often skipped for almonds and cashews for a daily snack. But these 10 fascinating health benefits of macadamias will show you why they’re worthy of a regular spot in your healthy nut rotation:

Helps To Keep Your Heart Healthy!

These nuts are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats which are said to be cardioprotective by reducing cholesterol level and help to clean the arteries. Macadamia also lowers the level of triglycerides, which is a kind of body fat and reduces the risk of coronary disease.

They Fight Free-Radical Damage Leading To Cancers

Another health benefit of macadamia comes from their high flavonoid content. Flavonoids, which are found naturally in these plants help to prevent cells from damage and protects from environmental toxins. These flavonoids convert into antioxidants in our body. These antioxidants search and destroy free radicals and protect our bodies from various diseases and certain types of cancer which include breast, cervical, lung, prostate and stomach cancer.

They Curb Your Appetite!

The fat content of macadamias helps to curb your appetite much longer than a sweet treat. Macadamias are also a source of palmitoleic acid which increases fat metabolism and reduces fat storage – bonus! You only need a few to feel satisfied as a snack, so despite their price, you won’t need many to get a hunger-busting, nutrient-rich fix.

They Strengthen Your Hair, Skin, And Nails

Macadamias are an excellent source of protein, calcium, potassium, dietary fiber and antioxidants. They are also very low in sodium. all of these factors make them a fabulous beauty food, giving your hair and nails a healthy sheen and your skin a nourished glow!

Supports Your Gut Health

That’s right, macadamias contain around 7% dietary fiber, and both the insoluble and soluble types, helping to not only promote satiety, but provide roughage sweeping toxins out of the body, and aiding digestion.

Strengthens Your Bones

Phosphorus and magnesium are abundant in macadamias, and play a variety of roles including bone and teeth mineralization, metabolism, absorption and transportation of nutrients. Calcium also helps in the formation of teeth and bones. Manganese in macadamias also help the body to deposit new bone tissue so that the skeleton stays strong as you age.

They Look After Your Brain And Nervous System

Macadamias contain copper, B1, magnesium, and manganese which helps to make healthy neurotransmitters, the chemicals which our brain cells use to send chemical signals, and nourish the brain. Copper also helps to ensure proper growth of the body, efficient utilization of iron, proper enzymatic reactions, as well as improved health of connective tissues, hair, and eyes!

They’re Lower In Inflammation-Causing Omega-6’s

Consuming too many omega-6 fatty acids in our diet can be a contributing factor to chronic inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a variety of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other life-threatening conditions. A handful of nuts a day, or a spread of nut butter in your smoothie is a great way to get added protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. But most nuts tend to be higher in omega-6 fats than omega-3s, which can tip our body into an inflammatory state if we don’t balance it out with omega-3s from other foods too. Macadamias, on the other hand, are much lower in omega-6s. For example, pecans contain 3.7g per 100g, almonds 3.4g, and cashews 2.2g compared to 0.36g macadamias.

The incidence of heart disease is significantly lower in people who eat nuts regularly (more than five times per week) than in those who eat nuts less than once a week. So why not include some of these nutritious macadamias and start reaping their benefits today!

Macadamia nuts are widely grown in central and upper eastern province in Kenya.

Overtime, the nuts have peaked momentum and they are now among the best selling nuts in the country. At Oxfarm Organic Ltd, we have the modern grafted Macadamia nuts that we sell to our farmers at an affordable price. Book Your Now!!!

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Farmers already earning more from Macadamia nuts and hass Avocados

Jungle Nut Holdings Limited, a Thika-based firm is offering better prices to avocado and macadamia farmers in Kiambu and Murang’a counties. Jungle Nut Holdings Limited also provides financial support and agricultural training.

Speaking during farmers’ organic and e-buying workshop at a Thika hotel last year, J-Hela accounts manager James Kimotho said middlemen and brokers have been exploiting farmers for a long time. Kimotho said farmers will be paid Sh120 per kilogramme for macademia nuts. Brokers had paid Sh30 per kilogramme.

Kimotho said that Jungle Nut Holdings Limited will collect the nuts from the field to relieve farmers of the burden of transport cost. The firm has introduced a mobile banking platform — J-Hela. Farmers can save money, borrow money and buy products. Kimotho said the firm has developed a business model with the farmers for commercializing of both macadamia and avocados farming.

Jungle Nut Holdings Limited guide farmers on the best farming methods to ensure they get high yields. The firm has also created a marketing plan based on comprehensive study of global markets.

Related Content: drip irrigation in fruits

Farmers now get handsome profits

“J-Hela enables us to directly buy produce from the farmers electronically. They receive payments via their phones using on the same service. This eliminates middlemen. They also make payments on the same platform for farm inputs,” he added

Stephen Waweru, a macademia farmer from Gatanga, Murang’a, said since he entered into partnership with Jungle Nut in 2014, his production has risen from 100kgs to 500kgs annually.

“We used to hear macadamia nuts fetch high prices, but we never made handsome profits because of brokers. We did not have direct markets. But Jungle Nut came to our rescue,” Waweru said.

Many farmers in the region are now switching to macadamia and avocado. Coffee and tea farming is not paying, he said.

Bernard Mwangi, an avocado farmer from Muruka, Kandara, said Jungle Nut introduced the Hass variety and taught them how to grow them organically. Mwangi said farmers’ lives have improved.

Kimotho said the company has expanded to other counties, including Embu.

Many more farmers now are venturing in macadamia farming.

For more information on macadamia farming and avocado farming call us or visit our offices.

 

 

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Why you should invest in hass avocado

Kakuzi Limited a farm in Muranga has more than 408 hectares of land producing both Hass and Fuerte avocados. Kakuzi is one of the largest exporters of hass avocados in Kenya. The hass season runs from June to mid-September with Fuerte starting a little earlier in March/April.

On 08/12/17, the farm held its annual Avocado Small Holders Field Day; an event that was graced by Muranga Governor Mwangi Wa-Iria. Kakuzi and Muranga county government aims at educating, supporting and promoting increased productivity of avocado by Kenyan farmers.

The event brought together many farmers from Muranga county while others came from as far as Nyandarua county. The Muranga county government and Kakuzi company are passionate about addressing social issues, thus creating a sustainable society and providing an opportunity for development for all. The welfare of Kakuzi’ s employees and of the surrounding communities is therefore at the core if its operations.

During this day Earlier today, Muranga Governor Mwangi Wa-Iria presided over the avocados bonus award ceremony at Kakuzi Limited. The 19 million Shillings bonus will go to farmers who have sold their hass avocado to Kakuzi Limited through a partnership mediated and harnessed by the County Government. This partnership enables the avocados farmers to secure a steady market and better pricing.

Prior to the roll out of this marketing partnership farmers would earn as little as 3 shillings per fruit owing to exploitation by middlemen. However, depending on the grading farmers can now earn up to 35 shillings per fruit delivered to Kakuzi Limited. This initiative is part of the wider avocado farming programme instituted by the County Government to cushion farmers from externalities such as middlemen and fluctuating markets. The initiative also involves giving hybrid hash avocado tree seedlings to farmers in addition to provision of other farm inputs necessary for commercial avocado farming.

Strengths of Hass Avocados

  • The Hass avocado is one amongst the foremost common avocados within the world.
  • The merely natural Hass Avocado trees are acclimatized to most climates in Republic of Kenya
  • Kakuzi company has already oversubscribed several fruits before. Some investors are showing interest in this investment product.
  • There are prospects to intercrop the avocado trees with low and plantains.
  • Kakuzi buys Hass Avocado at between KSh nineteen and thirty-five per piece depending on size. currently that’s a high giving farmers a possible financial gain of Ksh.1.5 million per acre on the average.
  • In addition to the shopping price, farmers supplying Kakuzi get annual bonus at the end of each year. The best farmer this year got a cheque of KSh. 300,000.
  • The fruit contains a limitless market in Europe and that we simply can’t satisfy it. Most of the Hass exports (70%) are to France, whereas 15%  goes to the united kingdom with the balance distributed through alternative EU countries, Switzerland and Scandinavia.
  • Avocado is that the best paying fruit among the fruits oversubscribed overseas thus presenting a property high profit venture for Kenyan farmers.

Related post: Commercial Kiwifruit farming in Kenya

Why Invest in Hass Avocado?

Agricultural Investments will be the best performing investments for the next decade. This is because; the average age of farmers in Kenya and the entire World is over 55 and the rising population is dependent on industrial farms, artificial seeds, pesticides and fertilizers. It seems we are at peak yield and the world needs more food. Population around the world is increasing and food demand will mirror that. Global demand for this superfood is increasing.