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Best Irrigation Methods in Different Soils

Types of soils and the best irrigation methods

Irrigation systems such as flood irrigation apply water at a faster rate in different soils which results in wastage of water through run-off and evaporation. The plants cannot fully utilize all the water since it saturates into the soil quickly. The application of large amounts of water can also result in leaching and water-logging. The rate at which water soaks into the soil depends is determined by the type of the soil. It is therefore important to identify the soil type and how it reacts with water before setting up a drip irrigation system. Since water is a scarce but valuable resource, it should be preserved. Water should be applied at different rates depending on the soil type.

In sandy soils, water moves quickly and goes deep into the soil. The wetting pattern is mainly vertical than horizontal in this soil type. When doing irrigation on sandy soils, higher flow drippers which are spaced closely should be used to ensure that plants receive sufficient water.

The greatest challenge facing avocado farming

Since the soil is dense, the rate of water absorption in clay soil is quite slow. To prevent water from pooling on the surface, drippers should be set to apply water at a slow rate. This ensures that water gets to the roots and minimizes water loss. Water should be applied for longer periods to ensure that the plants receive enough water.

In loamy soils, water gets infiltrated into the soil at a slower rate compared to sandy soils but it gets evenly distributed, horizontally and vertically. Mid-ranger drippers and sprinklers can be a good choice for this type of soil.

Why Soil Testing is Important

Soil testing is important when determining the soil type. Regardless of whether you want to irrigate your nurseries, garden, orchard or your lawn, professional soil testing services will be essential to help you know the rate of irrigation and the drip irrigation kit to use.

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The power of technology: 4 major advancements in the agricultural sector

With the latest gadgets and innovations, technology has transformed today’s agriculture. The number of entrepreneurs and investors who are investing their money in agriculture has been rising rapidly. In the future, agriculture will look completely different from what it is today. There have been major advancements in telecommunication, engineering of farm machinery and equipment, and computer software. In Kenya, mobile technology has been used extensively to improve small and large scale farming. It helps in reducing post-harvest and weather-related losses, improving farm operations, comparing different market rates, controlling farm machinery and equipment, monitoring the supplies and in the process making farming more efficient. Some of the major technologies that will take agriculture to another level are sensors, automation and mechanical engineering, and mobile devices.

Mobile devices

Since most farm equipment can be connected to mobile devices most farmers are incorporating mobile devices in their farm operations. There are many apps that perform a wide range of functions such as controlling water meters, checking the weather, collecting field-level information and selling farm products.

The greatest challenge facing avocado farming

Smart farming

Combining different technologies, farmers can be able to create smart farming systems. Smart farming utilizes internet-connected tools to leverage and capture data required for decision making.

Sensors

Sensors play an important role in farming such as traceability, helping farmers to get real-time information and data regarding their equipment, livestock, and crops. Furthermore, they promote accuracy since the data undergoes complex diagnosis and analysis before a report is given. Today, sensors are connecting to sophisticated systems that analyze the collected data automatically. To grow high-performance crops, farmers are employing high tech systems. Sensors are also used for comparing weather conditions and testing the soil. Some of the sensors used in agriculture include:

Livestock biometrics: Collars with GPS and biometrics can be used to collect and relay real-time information about the livestock automatically.

Soil and Air sensors: These are sensors that can help farmers to understand water, soil and air conditions of their farms.

Crop sensors: These sensors are used to collect information related to the crops. They can help farmers understand the field conditions before fertilizer application and the amount of fertilizer required in the field. Drones can be utilized to monitor the crops’ health and know the correct remedy to prescribe in case the crops are not healthy. For instance, they can identify if the crops have been infested by pests or powdery mildew and relay the information to the farmers for analysis. During irrigation, sensors can be mounted on the irrigation systems to measure the amount of moisture in the soil which can help the farmer to know when there is enough moisture in the soil. Since the rate of irrigation is different in different crops, the information relayed by these sensors can vary. To assess the performance of the crops, drones can be fitted with sensors and GPS technology.

Equipment telematics: This technology is used for communication or from far. For instance, tractors can be started and given a few minutes to warm up before they start working.

What Are The Benefits of Organic Fruit Farming

Automation & Mechanical Engineering

In the next few years, farm equipment and machinery will be automated. Automation incorporates the use of robotics, micro-robots, computer applications and systems to monitor and maintain the crops. Some of the recent advancements include:

Variable-rate swath control: This is an advancement of geo-location technologies that help farmers to save on fertilizers, seeds, and herbicides by pre-computing the field size, overlapping inputs and automating tasks such as fertilizer application.

Agricultural robots: These days, tractors can be used to apply to be installed with devices that can be used to apply pesticides and liquid fertilizers to crops in the field. Agricultural robots can be programmed to perform tasks such as seeding and harvesting automatically.

 

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PEST AND DISEASES CONTROL IN TREE TOMATO (TAMARRILO) FARMING

Tamarillo best known as tree-tomatoes in Kenya is a fast-growing tree that grows up to 2-5 meters. Grafted tree tomato reaches peak production after 1-2 years while the normal ones reach after 3-6 years depending on the caltivar, and the life expectancy is about 12 years. The tree usually forms a single upright trunk with lateral branches. Grafted Tree-tomato produce 6-10 fruits per cluster. Plants can set fruit without cross-pollination, but the flowers are fragrant and attract insects. Cross-pollination seems to improve fruit

Pests That Affect Tree Tomato

The most common pests are aphids, root knot nematodes, white flies, cut worms and horn worms.

Aphids

Aphids in a tree tomato leafaphids are small sap-sucking insects. Aphids are slow moving and come in shades of green, red, brown, black and yellow. They have needle-like mouth-parts which they use to suck juices out of plants. Low to moderate aphid population levels do not usually cause significant damage and rarely kill mature plants. However, large infestations can reduce plant yields and produce sticky “honeydew,” warranting pest control.

The first step in controlling aphids is by weeding. Aphids often collect on weeds like sowthistle and mustard. Where the infestation is large you can spray effective insect sides such as Karate,  Actara or pentagon 50EC.

Root knot Nematodes

They are microscopic worms which occupy each acre of fertile earth in billions. This particular species invades various crops, causing bumps or galls that interfere with the plant’s ability to take up nutrients and to perform photosynthesis. Unfortunately, controlling nematodes is not easy.

The best control of nematodes in tree tomato fruits is by planting the grafted one as  bug weed (muthakwa) tree which is used to graft is resistance to nematodes.

White Flies

small yellow-bodied insects which have white wings, which they. They feed on the underside of tree tomato leaves, sucking out sap and weakening the plant. Affected leaves begin to yellow and die, the leaf margins usually curl inward as damage progresses.

Inspect the underside of tomato leaves for white flies. By natural control methods use a jet of water to blast white flies and wash them off your plants and leaves. Repeat this process every week to control and get rid of white flies. For effective elimination of white flies you can also use a contact insecticide namely; levo 2.4sl.

Cutworms

Cutworms chew through plant stems at the base. They primarily feed on roots and foliage of young plants, and will even cut off the plant from underneath the soil. In most cases, entire plants will be destroyed; they do a lot of damage in no time at all. Even if only the bottom of the plant is destroyed, the top will often shrivel and die.

Hand pick. Go out at night with a flashlight and gloves. Pick off the cutworms and drop into soapy water; repeating this every few nights.

Note: Apply an insecticide late in the afternoon for best control

How to start commercial Bee keeping in Kenya

Diseases That affect Tree Tomato (Tamarillo)

Powdery Mildew

Infection is characterized by the development of gray-white powdery growth majorly on leaves and stems, which causes them to become distorted.

The plant may eventually wilt as disease severity increases.

Spray RANSOM 600WP 15g/20l or DISCOVERY 400SC 10ml/20l or DUCASSE 250EC 20ml/20l

Blight

Initial infection occurs in older leaves with concentric dark brown spots developing on the leaves. As infection advances, infected leaves turn yellow and fall off. On stems, spots without clear contours are seen. The lesions enlarge as severity increases.

Spray EXEMPO CURVE 250SC 15ml/20l or FORTRESS GOLD 40g/20l or MEGAPRODE LOCK 525WP 15g/20l

Mosaic

This is a viral disease, and the virus is mechanically transmitted and also spread by several species of aphids in non-persistent mode.

Attacked leaves have reduced size and patches of dark-green tissue alternating with yellow-green. Generally, the plant becomes stunted and the quality of fruits is greatly reduced.

Control aphids (vectors) with KINGCODE ELITE 50EC 10ml/20l or PENTAGON 50EC 10ml/20l or PRESENTO 200SP 5g/20l

 

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Not Just for Money; Why you Must Plant Hass Avocado

Kenya is a democratic country of hardship and hunger, where politicians decide if the people get food. Politicians do not seem to care about research or making agriculture better. How can hass avocado be the promise of the future for Kenya?

Having more nutrition than any other fruit in the New World, hass avocado is considered to be the most important contribution to human diet in the New World. Avocados have the highest energy value of any fruit. It also is rich in proteins and fat, and yet low in carbohydrates. Holding many valuable vitamins and minerals, hass avocado is the fruit of promise in Kenya.

Kenya is very abundant in many agricultural resources. Kenya’s most important economic impact is agriculture, which provides about two-thirds of the population with work in Kenya. Almost 40% percent of Kenya’s exports are agriculture related. Population is governed by the national government of Kenya who makes policies, resources allocations, and food and price policies. Constitutionally, the counties are responsible for agriculture. Goats and sheep also have large populations in Kenya. Increasing dramatically from the past, dairy and poultry markets now make higher returns than crop farming. Over the last four decades, significant progress in agriculture has been made in Kenya.

keep bees if you want 100% production in Avocados

Benefits of Hass Avocado

Hass Avocado is useful in many different ways beneficial to the Kenyans. It has high nutritional density, is a source of protein, fiber, major antioxidants, stroke prevention, and is used as a baby food. The hass avocado contains about twice of our daily needs for vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene as its calorie proportion. Rich in copper and iron, two mineral constituents of antioxidant enzymes, avocados again prove their nutritional quality. Potassium is also high in avocados, as it is has one of the highest potassium rates in tropical and non-tropical fruits and vegetables.

A benefit of potassium is a 40% reduction in stroke risk with 400 mg of potassium, supplied in less than one-half of an avocado. Hass avocado is associated with lower blood pressure because it is high in monounsaturated fat. All amino acids are found in the avocado however not in ideal portions.

Hass avocado being used in baby foods has many benefits including containing more potassium than 45 other fruits, juices or vegetables. They are also one of the only fruits or vegetables, which contain monounsaturated fats, essential for a baby’s development. Another benefit is avocados have been shown to maintain good cholesterol while reducing bad cholesterol. One half of a Hass avocado contains about 80 grams of edible fruit has a significant percentage of the daily nutritional needs of children ages 7 to 10. The Hass and Fuerte avocado varieties are promising in Kenya.

Get your free Langsroth hive – Hass avocado package

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How the Hass Avocado dominated the Universe

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

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

How Is The Global Demand For Hass Avocado

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

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

How did Hass come to Dominate the World

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

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

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

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

Lucrative Passion-Fruit Farming In Kenya

Advantages Over Other Varieties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kiwi-Fruit Farming: New Money Maker for Farmers

More Research Required

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source (Brian Handwerk , smithsonian.com )

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

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

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

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

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

Influential Kenyans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small-Scale farmers in Kenya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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How Demonstration Farms Can Revive Farming in Kenya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where Does Demonstration farms Work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

State of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

What Should be Done

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

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

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

 

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How To Make Farming in Kenya Profitable And Productive

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

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

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

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

Profitable pig farming in Kenya

Basic Policy Action

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

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

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

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

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

 

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How to start Kienyeji chicken farming for eggs/chicks production

Many farmers in Kenya have overlooked the potentials in Kienyeji chickens. Starting a Kienyeji chicken farming is a good, cheap means to boost eggs and chicks production. This guide will help you with starting a Kienyeji chicken farm, either for meat, eggs or chick production.

Introduction to Poultry Production

Poultry contributes to improved human nutrition and food security by being a leading source of high quality protein in form of eggs and meat. It acts as a key supplement to revenue from crops and other livestock enterprises, thus avoiding over dependency on traditional commodities with inconsistent prices. It has a high potential to generate foreign exchange earnings through export of poultry products to neighboring countries. Poultry is highly prized in many social-cultural functions such as dowry and festivities.

The poultry industry is rapidly growing. The industry is characterized by widely diverse methods of production which include the following: village flocks, small-scale commercial flocks and large-scale commercial farms.

Constraints in poultry production include:

  • Production related constraints
    • inadequate access to improved breed
    • Access and affordability of feed
    • Disease control
  • Lack of knowledge and skills
  • Inadequate capital at all levels and marketing.

Systems of Management in Poultry Production

  • Free range
  • Semi-intensive
  • Intensive

Housing

  • Housing space should be 2 metres by 3 metres or be a traditional brooding basket. The traditional brooding basket can be used as a brooder basket for chicks, either inside or outside the house.
  • House should be raised to protect birds from predators.
  • Perches should be provided in the house for chicken to roost on at night.
  • The house should be well ventilated.
  • Preferably have cemented floor for ease of cleaning and disinfecting
  • Be rat-proof
  • Using plenty of litter after cleaning the poultry house
  • Keeping the right number of birds in poultry houses
  • Separating chicks from old birds

Management of chicks

  • Before chicks arrive at home; make sure that;
    • A brooder is in place
    • Paraffin lamps/electric bulbs/charcoal stove is available
    • Litter for the floor is available
    • 1m2 will accommodate 20 chicks up to 4 weeks old.
  • Temperature control: 35C for day-old chicks, 24-27C for 1 week. Reduce heat as they grow especially at night.

Physical features of a good Kienyeji layer chicken

  • Bright red comb and wattles
  • Alert eyes
  • Width between pelvic bones should measure at least 2 fingers
  • The beak and claws should look bleached
  • The cloaca should be moist

Cost and returns of establishing successful dairy farm

Advantages in choosing Kienyeji chickens for farming

  • They are self-sustaining i.e. can raise their own replacement stock
  • They are hardy birds that can survive hard conditions
  • Management requirements are not critical as those of commercial exotic breeds
  • They are immune to some diseases and parasites
  • Their products fetch more money than those from exotic birds

Limitations in choosing Kienyeji chickens for farming

  • They have low growth rate
  • They produce fewer small sized eggs and comparatively little meat
  • People keep them without commercial purposes
  • They have been neglected by breeders/scientists despite their potential

How to Improving the production of Kienyeji chickens

Control of parasites and diseases

  • External parasites that affect Kienyeji chicken include: poultry body louse, stick tight flea, poultry lice, ticks, feather mites and leg mites.
  • Control can be done using commercial/synthetic or herbal insecticide.
  • Herbal preparations are cheaper for Kienyeji chicken but a lot of research is still needed in this area to establish proper dosage.
  • Internal parasites include worms and coccidia.
  • Worms can be eliminated using a potent dewormer preferably given as a tablet because these chickens have low water consumption.
  • Deworming should be done at least every month.
  • Commercial coccidiostats can be used alternately with herbal preparation. These must be given to birds on 8th, 9th, and 10th days of age. Repeat as directed by veterinarian.
  • In early days, vitamins-mineral mixtures should be given to chicks to minimize losses.
  • Vaccination of birds especially against New Castle Disease. Target first vaccination at the beginning of the dry seasons, repeat after one month and every four months thereafter.

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 Feeding Kienyeji Chickens

  • Farmers can mix their own feeds using the abundant carbohydrate and protein feed available in their area.
  • Feeding should be accompanied by green feeds and fruits such as pawpaw.
  • Only palatable green feeds should be given to birds.

The following should be done in rearing Kienyeji chickens:

  • Vaccination against Newcastle disease
  • De-worming
  • Remove mites and lice manually or better still using medicated powder
  • Provide water as much as possible
  • May supplement free range with other feeds e.g. maize bran and concentrates
  • Avoid buying chicken in dry seasons because diseases, especially Newcastle, are more rampant in dry seasons
  • Avoid buying birds when there is a disease outbreak
  • Buy birds of almost the same age i.e. 2-3 months are more ideal. Avoid buying old birds
  • Plan for synchronised mating and therefore synchronized reproduction and production to ease management

Precautions to take during egg storage

  • Do not store eggs in a kitchen where it is hot. Heat may partially incubate the egg and kill the embryos in them
  • Do not store them on top of a cupboard because heat from roof may incubate them.
  • Keep eggs in a cool secure place.

Incubation by mother hens

  • Usually one hen starts incubating by staying overnight on the boiled egg
  • Leave this hen on the boiled egg for 10 days while it is waiting for other birds
  • After the 10 days, give all the birds that would have started incubating (within the 10 days) 17 selected but recently laid eggs
  • Leave the birds that refuse to incubate alone
  • If you want to eat or sell, eat/sell those which were laid first (old ones).
  • Avoid giving these eggs to birds for incubation: very small, round eggs, very dirty, cracked eggs, extremely pointed eggs, very big eggs, very old eggs.
  • When done this way, all birds will hatch on the same day. An egg takes 21 days, 6 hrs to hatch.

 General Disease Control Practices

The following can only be used as guidelines for disease control, for proper disease diagnosis and treatment, consult the veterinarian.

  • Don’t overcrowd brooders
  • Adequate ventilation
  • Feed must be of good quality
  • Give clean water ad-lib
  • Don’t mix young and older birds
  • Clean poultry house
  • Dispose of dead birds quickly and isolate sick ones
  • Provide disinfectant at entrance to house

Antibiotics should never be used to replace good management and should be used on prescription by a veterinarian.

Signs of ill health

  • Dullness
  • Reduced feed intake
  • Reduced water intake
  • Low egg production
  • Reduced growth rate
  • Rough coat

Record keeping

Records to keep include:

  • Production data such as number of eggs produced, number of egg hatched
  • Quantity of feed eaten
  • Health interventions e.g. treatment
  • Deaths
  • Sales and purchases

 

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State of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

Hass Avocado farming

The agricultural sector in Kenya is a booming one with myriad rich opportunities. Even the government has acknowledged it by trying to improve things in the sector and thus shift focus from Maize farming. The agricultural business has little or no risk involved. Plant rearing and animal rearing are the major areas in the agriculture that has lots of benefit. The list of crops and trees that can be cultivated for sale is a massive one. Hass avocado is high on that list after banana and mangoes. The hass avocado farming has attractive financial significance from its sweet fruits. So engaging in hass avocado farming in Kenya presents several employment and business advantages.

Get started on that piece of land just sitting there or invest in some plots of land which you can get at cheap prices in remote places. A plot of land can take 150 hass avocado stands with each stand producing up to 1000 fruits of hass avocado. It costs about 40,000 (see our package) to plant an acre of hass avocado  and each fruit can be sold for Ksh 15. Properly planted and cultivated trees can start yielding within 2 years, although in little quantities, but after a few more years, it will begin producing in large quantities.

To have a productive business of hass avocado farming in Kenya, certain things need to be taken serious. One of those is treatment of the trees to fortify them against bugs, sicknesses, infections and other nuisances.

Basic Requirements for Hass avocado farming In Kenya

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Climate condition and location for growing hass avocados: Kenya’s tropical climate is ideal for growing hass avocados.

Soil Condition: while hass avocados can grow in assorted soils like sandy, topsoil, red sand or clayey soils, the best choice however is loamy soil. Whatever soil is used, it must contain soil properties favorable to hass avocado cultivation with soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5.

Water System: Your hass avocado plants need lots of water when young. Having an irrigation system for it is therefore necessary. During dry season your trees should be watered every 2 days.