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7 Things To Consider Before Leasing Land for Farming

In Kenya, land is becoming scarce and one of the aspiring farmer’s greatest nightmare is accessing farming land at an affordable price. The prices have hiked and what young and new farmers are doing is scooping up land and renting it. Renting land minimizes risk and it’s the most affordable way of participating in food security and sustainability. However before getting yourself in this business of farming rented farm, here are some things you should consider.

Discover Your Market

Even those farmers who have their own land, its necessary to identify your market -that is , your very first potential customers. You need to first locate the markets where you will sell your products. These could be farmers markets, direct customer targets such as farm-to-table restaurants and independent groceries, or people traveling through the area where you hope to farm. Then search an ever-widening radius around that central market location until you find suitable land at the price you can afford. Before you start to farm, figure out where to rent

Land around Semi and Urban areas

Land in towns and cities seem to be scarce, however it is readily available. There these 50*100 plots in towns and with intensive farming techniques, this can be enough land to turn a modest profit with small crops that make the most efficient use of small spaces.

However, there is this land that is on the outskirts of suburbs before reaching cities and towns, semi-urban spaces are big enough with small acreage to hold an entire hobby farm. For beginners, less land can be more manageable than a rural farm. A semi-urban area might boast some city-like development, but land is available in larger tracts. Semi-urban sites can give your farm a rural feel, while retaining proximity to customers.

Grapes Farming: What you need to know

Facts about Rural farming

In Kenya where white collar job is adored and few young people into farming, you will find that many current landowners and farmers are at retirement age and many find their children living in cities without the desire to return to farming. It’s in your best interest as a farmer to have your land used and to not see it fall into disrepair. Therefore, as an aspiring farmer you can always rent/lease land in rural areas.

A lot of Networking

A deceased farmer’s land might be held by a trust and left vacant by family members who have no interest in ever farming it. In Kenya, most ancestral land can’t be sold but only inherited and one can lease. This kind of farms that’s potentially available for long-term rent is often not advertised. The best tool for finding it is networking.

Ask for Help

One trait that most people don’t have is asking for help. Ask all of your friends and family for some land you can start with. The key is to get something started as soon as you can. Getting started on your own lawn or on borrowed land makes your business visible; creating opportunity to make your land needs known.

Online Marketing

The world has changed and only time will tell where it will take us. Even if you farm for fun,  your hobby farm basically doesn’t exist if it doesn’t have an online presence, especially if you’re planning to farm in the rural areas. Tell your story and share your food philosophy with a simple website or social media, to share the birth and evolution of your farm to gain support and excitement for your business. Use the results to gather market data and apply it to growing your business.

Can poultry farming make you enough money to quit your job?

Lease For Long

This will definitely be driven by a number of factors. Short-term leases or rentals are certainly an option, if it’s your only option. Short-term leases and rentals are least desirable for both the lessor and the lessee. Both offer flexibility but neither offers stability. Decades-long leases are common in rural areas, and they usually include scheduled intervals for revisiting the contract. A lease should be agreeable and beneficial to both farmer and landowner. Maintaining a respectful relationship should lend itself to revisiting the contract as issues arise.

If you are an aspiring farmer, we can help you get some land in the outcasts of major towns in Kenya and if you have land that you would like to lease contact us.

At Oxfarm Ag, farming is our passion and our business!

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Basic skills of a full-time farmer: Don’t gamble with farming, practice these skills

Capsicum farming

Farming is a demanding task, it needs a lot of experience and practical skills in terms of handling the farm work as well as teaching others how to do the work. If you are already a fulltime farmer or you are considering of taking it as a part time job, then you should have the following skills with you.

1. Business Management Skills

Do you manage your farm, or you just do it for fun? The modern world if changing and farming is no longer a hobby or just a thing done for the sake, its considered as “farm business”. For a farmer to gain a lot from farming business, he or she ought to take it seriously and consider it as a business. Farmers need to take training management courses which in turn will help them in taking their farming business to another level. You need to have a clear business plan and where you want to be in the next few years. The following management skills;

  • People Management Skills
  • Financial Management Skills
  • Business Management
  • Sales and Marketing Skills
  • Planning and Organizational Skills

2. Livestock and crop farming Skills

Conduct Enough Research

Those farmers who want to venture into arable farming need knowledge on how to grow crops, control pests, use fertilizers. On the other hand, those interested in livestock farming should learn how to raise farm animals. There are several forums in mainstream media in Kenya that are highlighting how farmers are successive in various endeavors. However, farmers should not always go blindly into it without conducting enough independent research on their own. Farming just like any other job requires you to have enough information and skills.

How to Grow Tomatoes in a Greenhouse in Kenya

Maintenance of soil fertility

These are skills that involve operations, practices, and treatments used to preserve, protect soil and enhance its performance. Soil management practices include;

  • Controlling traffic on the soil surface helps to reduce soil compaction, which can reduce aeration and water infiltration.
  • Cover crops keep the soil anchored and covered in off-seasons so that the soil is not eroded by wind and rain.
  • Crop rotations for row crops alternate high-residue crops with lower-residue crops to increase the amount of plant material left on the surface of the soil during the year to protect the soil from erosion.
  • Nutrient management can help to improve the fertility of the soil and the amount of organic matter content, which improves soil structure and function.
  • Tillage, especially reduced-tillage or no-till operations limit the amount of soil disturbance while cultivating a new crop, and help to maintain plant residues on the surface of the soil for erosion protection and water retention.

The Demand For Honey Is Big, How About You Think Of Bee Keeping

Benefits of soil management

  • Restore soil fertility
  • Maintain soil fertility
  • Make the agricultural process an economic one
  • Help increase yield

Farming is not just a matter of growing a particular crop or feeding a certain kind of livestock. It ought to be taken seriously all year round. Take it as a business, keep records, have a business plan, execute well and you will not regret. Farming if taken seriously can make you money.

 

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Top 10 tastiest and rarest fruits in the world

Ackee

Ackee fruit
Ackee Fruit

Ackee  is a rarest and strange looking fruit that grows in the tropical regions of West Africa. Although native to West Africa the use of ackee in food is especially common in Jamaican cuisine. It is the national fruit of Jamaica and ackee and saltfish is the national dish.

Ackee is pear-shaped but when it ripens, it turns from green to a bright red to yellow-orange and splits open to reveal three large, shiny black seeds each partly surrounded by soft, creamy to spongy white to yellow flesh.

The dried seeds, fruit, bark and leaves are used medicinally. The ackee fruit is canned and is a major export product in Jamaica.

Rambutan

Its an important fruit tree of humid tropical southeast Asia. Traditionally cultivated especially in Indonesia, malysia and Thailand. The fruit is a round to oval single-seeded berry borne in a loose pendant cluster of 10-20 together.

The leathery skin is reddish and covered with fleshy pliable spines hence the name which means ‘hairs’. The fruit fresh which is actually the aril, is translucent whitish or very pale pink, with a sweet, mildly acidic flavor very reminiscent of grapes.

The fruits are usually sold fresh, used in making jams and jellies, or canned. Its bark roots and leaves have various medicinal value and also used in making of dyes.

Dragon Fruit

It is believed to be a native of Mexico. In Tropical and Sub-tropical regions in South America and Asia the dragon fruit flourishes and grows in abundance.

Its outer skin is cactus-like resembling that of the scales of mythical dragons. The fruit’s texture is sometimes likened to that of the Kiwi fruit because of its black, crunchy seed. The flesh which is eaten raw, is mildly sweet and low in calories.

The seeds are eaten together with the flesh have a nutty taste and are rich in lipid, but they are indigestible unless chewed. The fruit is also converted into juice or wine, or used to flavor other beverages. The flowers can be eaten or steeped as tea.

Read: Basic Characteristics of an agri-preneur

Jabuticaba

It is a rare purple colored fruit native to S.E Brazil. It’s a thick-skinned berry and typically measures 3-4 cm in diameter.

It resembles that of a slip skin grape. It has a thick, purple astringent skin that encases a sweet, white or rosy pink gelatinous flesh. Fresh fruits may begin to ferment 3-4 days after harvest. It’s used to make jams, tarts, strong wines and liquors.

Because of its extremely short shelf life fresh jabuticaba fruit is very rare in markets.

Miracle Fruit

Miracle fruit
Miracle fruit

It grows in the tropical forests of W. Africa where it is known for its sweet berry, It has low sugar and a mildy sweet tang. It contains glycoprotein molecule, with some trailing carbohydrates chains, called miraculin.

When the fleshy part is eaten this molecule binds to the tongue’s taste buds, causing sour foods to taste sweet.

In Japan, Miracle fruit is popular among patients with diabetes and dieters.

Read: Why Kakuzi Ltd is abandoning Pineaple and venturing into hass avocado farming

Durian

Its native to South East Asia. It is destructive for its large size, strong odor, and formidable thorn covered husk. Its flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness and it is used to flavor a wide variety of savoring and sweet edibles in Southeast Asian cuisines.

Some people regard the durian as having a pleasantly sweet fragrance. Others find the aroma overpowering with an unpleasant odor. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense, disgust, and has been described variously as rotten onions, turpentine, and raw sewage.

The persistence of its odor which may linger for several days has led to the fruits banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in South East Asia.

African Horned Cucumber

African Horned Fruit
African Horned Fruit (Also known as Thorn Melon)

Native to Sub-Saharan Africa and its now grown in California, Mississippi, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Chile, Australia and New Iceland. Ripe fruits have yellow-orange skin and lime green, jelly like flesh with a tart taste, and texture similar to a cucumber. It can be eaten at any stage ripening but when over-ripened, will burst forcefully to release seeds.

Its taste has been compared to combination of cucumber and Zuchini, and it is also said to taste like an unripe watered down banana.

Mangosteen

Mangosteen is a tropical evergreen tree believed to have originated in the sunda Islands and the moluceas of Indonesia. It grows mainly in Southeast Asia, South west India and other tropical areas such as Puerto Rico and Florida. The Mangosteen fruit is sweet tangy, juicy, somewhat fibrous with fluid-filled vesicles like the flesh of citrus fruits with an inedible, deep reddish-purple colored rind when ripe.

Cherimoya (Custard Apple)

Cherimoya is mainly grown throughout South Asia, America, Southern Europe and East Africa. It is the most delicious fruit known to man.

The fruit is oval, often slightly oblate, with a smooth or slightly tuberculated skin. The fruit flesh is white and creamy and has numerous dark brown poisonous seeds embedded in it.

The fruit can be chilled and eaten with a spoon, which has earned it another nickname, the ice-cream fruit.  Indeed, in Peru, it is usually used in ice creams and yogurt.

Cupuacu

It’s a tropical rain-forest related to cacao. Common throughout the Amazon basin it is widely cultivated in the jungles of Colombia, Bolivia and Peru in the north of brazil. With the largest production in Para. They are oblong, brown, and fuzzy 20cm long and covered with a thick hard exocarp.

The white pulp of the cupuacu has an odor described as a mix of chocolate and pineapple and is frequently used in desserts, juices and sweets. Basically, its juice tastes like a pear with a hint of banana.

Read: How to make millions from watermelons farming

Now you know, there are millions and millions of fruits in the world. The questions you should ask yourself today is, have you planted a tree-fruit this year? if not, hook up with us and we will guide you on the best fruits that suit your area and expectations.

 

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How to make Silage for your Dairy Cows in Kenya

Hay and silage are preserved feed for dairy animals that come in handy during dry seasons when the green forage is unavailable. Silage making involves fermentation under anaerobic conditions preventing fresh fodder from decomposing and allowing it to keep its nutrient quality.

The process needs sufficient soluble carbohydrates (sugars) for organic acid production. It is recommended that you add molasses to the fodder for its rich in sugars, that allow bacteria to produce organic acids immediately. Acidification and preservation process is catalyzed by the amount of molasses that is added. The more the molasses the faster the process.

Read: How to make millions from watermelons farming

Why you should feed your cows on Silage

It improves high milk production as well as healthy dairy animals, particularly during dry seasons. It is laxative, palatable, digestible, nutritious and requires less space as compared to hay. 

Preparation of Silage

Silage Making process
Suitable Maize for Silage

In Kenya, silage making from maize is popular and forage can be cut from baby maize (at this stage it has highest nutrition value) and can produce maize silage.

Step 1. A farmer needs to decide on the type of crop to be grown for forage or silage. You need to choose hybrid and perennial varieties of crops which can be grown in short duration and produced multiple times.

Step 2. Choose a dry place to dig a pit on slightly sloping ground and depth of the pit should decrease from the higher side of the sloping ground to the lower side by giving wedge like shape. Normally, size and dimension of the pit size depends on the amount of the forage to be stored. For instance, to make 20 bags of forage, you need to dig the pit of 2 cubic metres and 10 m polythene bag and 30 liters of molasses.

Step 3. Using chaff cutter, cut the forage to be preserved into 1 inch pieces.

Step 4. To prevent the forage contact with soil, place the polythene sheet by covering the bottom of the pit and all sides of the pit.

Step 5. Chopped forage should be placed into the pit and spread into a thinlayer and the process repeated until a third of the pit is covered.

Step6. One liter of mollases should be diluted with three liters of water and sprinkled evenly on the forage to be preserved.

Step7. To prevent the forage from rotting, use garden sprayer to evenly distribute the solution (from step 6) throughout silage pit and this will also help in feeding micro-organisms to make the silage ferment quickly and save the silage from rotting.

Step 8. The forage should be pressed with feet to make the air out and protect from fungal attack. This ought to be done with caution as little air causes the fungus and damage the forage.

Step 9. Add more bags of chopped forage after making the room with diluted mollases. Repeat the process of adding forage with diluted molases and pressing until the pit is filled in a doom shape.

Step 10. Pit should be covered after final processing with polythene sheet on top to prevent from any water contact and diga small trench around the sides of the pit.

Step 11. Now the pit should be covered with soil to make the sir out and prevent the polythene damage from rain, birds or any other animals.

Step. 12 The conversation through fermentation may take weeks. Leave the pit until there is a shortage of fodder. The silage can last up to 2 years if it is prepared with well sheeting and good soil cover.

Step 13. To use the silage, open the pit from the lower side of the slope, take the enough silage fodder for one day and close the pit again.

It takes about 30 to 40 days for the silage to mature and be ready for feeding. Never open the whole silage pit at once.

Read: Water storage can help farmers during dry seasons

Silage quality

Silage can be classified as good quality depending on its physical characteristics like taste, smell, and colour but more precisely by measuring the pH in the pit.

A pH of 3.5 to 4.2 indicates excellent fresh acidic/sweetish silage, 4.2 to 4.5 for good acidic, 4.5 to 5.0 fair less acidic and above 5.0 for poor pungent/rancid smelling silage.

Good silage should be light greenish or greenish brown or golden in colour. It should have a pleasant smell like that of vinegar, and acidic in taste, and should not contain mould.

Black indicates poor silage. Overheated silage has the smell of burnt sugar and dry in texture. Badly fermented silage has offensive taste, strong smell, slimy soft texture when rubbed from the fibre or leaf.

Read: Why buy vegetables while you can have your own bag garden?

Feeding Dairy cows with silage

A cow is fed with silage depending on the body weight or generally be given about 6kg to 15kg of silage per day. It is advisable not to feed silage immediately before or during milking especially when the quality is poor as the milk can easily take the smell of the feeds. During these times, a cow can be fed fresh grass, hay, legumes and concentrates. After feeding silage, the bunks and corners of the feeding troughs should be cleaned immediately to prevent contamination.

Read: Profitable poultry farming and production in Kenya

Dairy farmers in Kenya should consider making their own silage rather than buying from outside. If you are planning on having your own silage, plant maize.

 

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Ksh 2000 for an Apple? Here are the most expensive fruits in the world

What Kenyans don’t know is that fruit farming is a venture that is done everywhere in the world. Imagine on a hot day seated under a tree sipping an ice-cold mango juice! Fruits and especially tropical fruits are highly valued in the world. However, there are crazy people in the world who will pay thousands of shillings for just a single fruit, either for its sweetness or just for class. Below are some of the most expensive fruits in the world.

10. Buddha shaped pears

They are found in China. According to Chinese myth, if you eat a buddha shaped pear you can become a model. This myth makes its very expensive selling at KSh 8,000 for a pair.

9. Sekai Ichi Apples

The world when translated means number one. These fruits are huge (about 15 inches all round and weigh about 1 Kg). The fruits were developed in 1974 and are still the most expensive apples in the world. A normal apple will cost you around KSh 25- KSh 30 while Sekai Apple will cost you KSh 2,100.

8. Dekopon Citrus Fruits

Dekopon fruits
Dekopon

If you are a lover of oranges, then you will definitely like dekopon citrus. They are larger than the normal oranges (size of softball). They are considered as the sweetest oranges in the world. Dekopon fruits were first grown in 1972 and only the perfectly grown make the cut and are shipped in the stores. A pack of 6 fruits costs KSh 8,000.

Read: Why buy vegetables while you can have your own bag garden?

7. Sembikiya Queen Strawberry

These are the most beautiful strawberries in existence. The appearance is what you pay for. They are red all over and the leaf on the outside is perfect and its totally dark green. Those who have eaten them say that they are so beautiful that eating them makes you feel guilty. If you are interested, be ready to part with KSh. 8, 500.

6. Square Watermelons

Melon fruits
square water melons

These are grown in Japan and were first shipped out of japan in 2014. They are square shaped because they are grown in a box. A single square watermelon weighs around 6.5Kg. They are only for the rich because those who buy them don’t even eat them, they display in their homes for decoration. If you are interested, be ready to part with KSh 80,000.

Read: Why You should shift gears to Hass avocado and Macadamia farming

5. Pineapples from the lost gardens of Heligan

The fruit was nurtured over two years using traditional and very expensive Victorian gardening techniques at the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. Horticulturalists created tropical conditions using small greenhouses heated using a chemical reaction between 30 tonnes of manure, urine and piles of straw. The gardens have been growing pineapples the same way since the 19th century, when they used to rent them out to wealthy Victorian families as a dinner table decoration. If you are interested in you will have to part with KSh. 100,000.

4. Taiyo no Tamango Mangoes

The name means eggs in the sun although they do not taste like eggs-they are just named after eggs. They are very sweet and do not have high sugar content. The highest paid price for these mangoes is KSh 300,000.

3. Ruby Roman Grapes

If you are obsessed with eating grapes in supermarket while you shop, this is not something you can do with ruby roman grapes. They are grown in Ishikawa Japan and they are known as table grapes. Normal grapes say in Kenya would cost you KSh 600 a kilo while Ruby Roman will cost you KSh 400,000 a bunch.

2. The Densuke Watermelon

densuke-watermelon fruit
densuke-watermelon

They are much larger than the typical melon with an average size of 10kg. Instead of having a green color, they are black. Grown in Japan where only 10,000 are grown yearly. Normally these watermelons are bought by the rich (the rich like rare things). One watermelon costs KSh 610,000.

Read: How to control various soil diseases in our farms

1.Banana Art

These are normal bananas where artists develop some art on them and sell them to the rich people at very high prices. Many Kenyans would ask why they would pay thousands of shillings just for a banana that won’t last forever. Well, in this world there are crazy people who have much money and look for ways to spend it.

Read: Cost and returns of establishing successful dairy farm

In our motherland Kenya, for you to be counted as a farmer, grow hass avocados, tissue culture bananas, Mangoes, Kiwi, Macadamia.

 

 

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How to achieve success in a given agribusiness venture

For a long time now agriculture, has been the major contributor of the economy. Of course there has been challenges and they are still there, but in the long run, those who have practiced agribusiness are making money and some have made it in life.

For those who are new in this field, agribusiness simply refers to those businesses that are associated with production, processing and sale of agricultural goods. Some people think like ancient people thought about farming; that it is a dirty job and meant for the less fortunate in the society.

According to Chris Kirubi, a well-established businessman in Kenya, “Agribusiness has the potential to do much more than we think but we are stuck in the mind frame that it is a dirty job and is for the unemployed. If at all that is how you think then I pity you.” Kirubi was quoted by Capital FM saying that he is puzzled by young people who complain day in day out about unemployment, while the opportunities in agricultural sector are massive and untapped.

For those who have taken the risk and have taken the first steps in the business, they can attest that agribusiness is the way to go. Being stuck in the mind frame that it is a dirty job and is for the unemployed is the greatest undoing of our time. For those willing to make their hands dirty and venture in agribusiness, there are a number of things you can do to make your dreams true.

How to succeed in Agribusiness

Below are few things that you can do become a successful person in the world of agribusiness.

·         Idea

Most people fail in the world of agribusiness because they lack ideas on what they want to do. It is crucial for a farmer to learn the trends and combine that with hard work and passion. A clever farmer works and produces when the rest are resting. Ensure you do research and come up with the best idea.

·         Capital

The field of agribusiness is mostly taken by young people of our nation and the greatest challenges that face them is starting capital. Someone will tell you they have not amassed enough money to buy a green house or start poultry farming or grow tomatoes. However, with an idea and passion, you can do great things. It is a misconception that has been there for a long time that for you to become successful in agribusiness you need huge amount of money.

Read: Profitable poultry farming and production in Kenya

·         Market

A clever farmer conducts market research before embarking on agribusiness. Knowing the market where your products will go is yet another milestone in agri-business. Whether you are a middleman or a retailer, you need to establish the right market for you to be able to make it.

·         Information on agri-business

Having the right information at hand before you embark on a project will certainly help you do it smoothly and reduce the risks that come with trying something you completely don’t understand. It is advisable for one to do a clear research, for instance on the crops they want to grow or the animals they want to keep. If possible, one needs to seek the advice of agronomists around the area so that they can advise on crops to grow in certain areas, know the soil PH and the conditions of the area.

Read: Get Over Ksh 700,000 from an acre of Hybrid onions in Kenya

·         Determination and patience

Patience in farming or agribusiness is a virtue that any willing farmer should have. As a farmer you need, to be extra patient and determined so as to achieve your goals. People fail in this field because they lose hope if they do not make profits as they would have wanted and end up quitting. In Farming, risks are many and failing the first time doesn’t mean you will keep on failing. It only means that one should keep on fighting and making the right decisions.

Narrow-Minded

Hass avocado at Mkulima Wa Nyeri Farm

Kirubi says that its time we stop being narrow-minded and look at the agribusiness sector as a lucrative one. “We come from the lineage of subsistence farmers who would provide fully for their families. It is the profits from this produce that educated your parents or grandparents and if it were not for them, you would not be where you are today”, says Kirubi.

He also adds that we should stop blaming the government, education system or society for turning its back on agriculture.

“Young people wake up! We have beautiful land and great climate and even though some areas are arid, we can source for water or harvest rain water. But let us use the land to generate great produce that will grow the economy of this nation and benefit the people. We are also in need of scholars who will look for innovative ways to deal with some of the challenges that are encountered and improve the methods of farming”

Read: Cost and returns of establishing successful dairy farm

If at the end of the day we need a better Kenya, we all must come together and do something about it.

 

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