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What Are The Benefits of Organic Fruit Farming

Today, organic foods are appealing to consumers since they are an ethical choice and healthy. Therefore, organic farming can be a profitable sphere to venture in. Apart from ethics and money. Organic farming practices are friendly to the environment. Organic farming can be considered as a farming method that avoids the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, additives, growth regulators and growth hormones. They rely on animal manures, bio-fertilizers, crop residues, crop rotation, organic wastes, and mechanical cultivation. Biological methods are used for pest and weeds control while still maintaining soil productivity.  Organic farming helps in enhancing biological diversity, soil fertility and this way resulting in sustainability in agriculture.

To maintain soil fertility, crops should be supplied with nutrients using insoluble nutrients like the action of micro-organisms. Legumes can be grown to ensure nitrogen soil self-sufficiency since they facilitate to nitrogen fixation.

Pros of Organic Farming

In fruit farming, organic farming has many benefits such as reducing chemical residual levels and minimizing soil erosion. China giving a nod to Kenyan avocados, that was a big opportunity for Kenyan farmers. However, the export license can end up being canceled if high pesticide levels and the use of unregistered pesticides are detected. Apart from discouraging smart farming practices like crop rotation and growing cover crops, pesticides and synthetic chemicals result in soil, air and water contamination. Continuous use of pesticides allows disease resistance to develop in weeds, plants, bacteria, fungi, and plant-eating-insects.

Soil erosion is a serious issue that should be combated since it affects the land, humans and can greatly cut the fruit supply, especially when the trees are destroyed.

When you treat the soil with harmful pesticides, you destroy it to the point that the soil can no longer thrive on its own. Growing healthy fruits starts with healthy soil. Organic farming means that you will produce healthy fruits.

Organic farming facilitates water conservation and preservation. Some fruit trees such as peaches, pears cannot tolerate drought and hence require a lot of irrigation. Apples require a lot of water during vegetative growth and fruit formation. Most fruits are resistant to rotting hence they can withstand wet soils. Most mature fruits are composed of approximately 70% water. This means that plants require a lot of water during fruit formation. On most occasions, 1% of the water that the trees use is retained in the fruits. Continuous use of fertilizers reduces water retention capability results in poor drainage of the soil. This leads to a lot of irrigation, affected water conservation negatively. When farmers employ organic practices such as mulching, they manage to minimize irrigation and hence conserve water.

Consumers prefer organically grown fruits not only in Kenya but also in other countries since they are tastier. The quality of the fruits is also different. Organically grown fruits are free from preservatives, harmful chemicals, and artificial flavors. Furthermore, the cost of organic fruit farming is relatively lower compared to non-organically grown ones.

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Challenges facing Organic Farming

The organic farming industry faces several challenges. For instance, farmers are not aware of the high demand for organic fruits and their market. Also, there is a lack of enforcement o organic farming, lack of certification by agricultural bodies and lack of proper inspection of fruit quality. The inappropriate use of chemical and high maximum residual levels (MRLs)  in the horticultural sector, for example, resulted in the European Union rejecting Kenya’s horticulture produce. This shows the importance of setting standards and certification of organic farming.

The demand for organically produced fruits has been rising not only locally but also in the export market. Some farmers are already amassing high incomes from organic fruits. Unfortunately, the number of organic farmers is still low and hence the demand is yet to be met. In Kenya, there are some supermarkets in Nairobi and other parts of the country which are stocking their shelves with organic foods. Apart from low chemical levels, organic fruits have health benefits to those suffering from serious diseases such as high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes.

If other farmers are amassing wealth from organic farming, why not you? For more information, you can consult Oxfarm.co.ke to get into the organic farming.

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“You are what you eat” Organic farmers encourage people to eat organic food

According to Sylvia an organic farmer from Ndeiya in Limuru, kiambu County, going to the gym and exercising daily is not enough. What you eat plays a major role in your health. She recommends organic food.

The term “organic” refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. While the regulations vary from country to country, in Kenya, organic crops must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers.

Organic livestock raised for meat, eggs, and dairy products must have access to the outdoors and be given organic feed. They may not be given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal by-products.

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What is the difference between organic and Conventionally-grown food?

Organic Grown Produce Conventionally Grown produce
Grown with natural fertilizers (manure, compost) Grown with synthetic or chemical fertilizers.
Weeds are controlled naturally (crop rotation, hand weeding, mulching, and tilling). Weeds are controlled with chemical herbicides.

Pests are controlled with synthetic pesticides

Organic Meat/Dairy/Eggs Conventionally Raised Meat/Eggs/Dairy
Livestock are given all organic, hormone- and GMO-free feed. Livestock are given growth hormones for faster growth, as well as non-organic, GMO feed.
Disease is prevented with natural methods such as clean housing, rotational grazing, and healthy diet. Antibiotics and medications are used to prevent livestock disease.
Livestock must have access to the outdoors. Livestock may or may not have access to the outdoors.

You can’t expect to fuel your body and achieve optimal health by eating food, laced with toxic chemicals, that your body doesn’t recognize. So, why settle for getting by when you can thrive?

The Advantages of organic food

How your food is grown or raised can have a major impact on your mental and emotional health as well as the environment. Organic foods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally-grown counterparts and people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods.

Organic produce contains fewer pesticides

Chemicals such as fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides are widely used in conventional agriculture and residues remain on (and in) the food we eat.

Organic food is often fresher

because it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer. Organic produce is often (but not always, so watch where it is from) produced on smaller farms near where it is sold.

Organic farming is better for the environment.

Organic farming practices reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. Farming without pesticides is also better for nearby birds and animals as well as people who live close to farms.

Organically raised animals are NOT given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal byproducts

Feeding livestock animal byproducts increases the risk of mad cow disease (BSE) and the use of antibiotics can create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Organically-raised animals are given more space to move around and access to the outdoors, which help to keep them healthy.

Organic meat and milk are richer in certain nutrients

Results shows that levels of certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, were up to 50 percent higher in organic meat and milk than in conventionally raised versions.

Organic food is GMO-free

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are plants whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding, most commonly in order to be resistant to pesticides or produce an insecticide.

Accrding to Sylvia, Kenyans are widely embracing organic foods. This is so because of the lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure, cancer etc..

Therefore, take time off, try organic food as you still exercise, and you will be healthy otherwise don’t go to the gyms, exercise daily and still eat unhealthy foods. You have to eat healthy.

Contact us for more details.

 

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Steps to follow when starting Organic Farming Business in Kenya

Below are a few tips that can help new startup farmers to successfully start an organic farming business in Kenya whereby this new agricultural business opportunities can create employment for thousands of Kenyan citizens.

Before the modern-day technology, agriculture was being done in an organic way which meant that whatever used in the Shamba be it fertilizers, pesticides etc. was natural and not genetically modified. This way agricultural produce gotten from organic farming had the essential nutrients and consumers didn’t have to worry about the effects it could cause.
Starting an organic farm in Kenya is applicable to every farmer, you can start new with this farming practice and for those already into farming you can gradually make a switch.

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How to Start Organic Farming in Kenya

  • First of all, you have to understand what an organic farm is, it is actually nothing of the ordinary just that you are being restricted to some certain things which you have to strictly adhere in your farming practice. Organic farming is an alternative agricultural system used in the production of both livestock and crops which do not in any way encourage or involve the use genetically modified organisms, fertilizers, growth hormones and even antibiotics in order to keep the crop and the soil in a healthy condition always.
  • Decide on what kind of farming or agriculture you want to engage in, make sure you have gained enough capital and knowledge so that you can be able to understand the challenges you can encounter, how to avert it and manage the farming operation very well.
  • Get a suitable land depending on the kind of farming business you choose, make sure that the land has a suitable soil for cultivation and sizeable enough for your farming needs. Check the pH value to make sure it’s normal and as well prepare the land using organic manure if the soil composition is not okay.
  • Before commencing this kind of farming business practice, there is something you must do, which is, you have to identify yourself with the right agency or organization that is responsible for certifying organic farmers in Kenya, you can get the right information from them and they will also help you to understand the farming practice and make sure that you adhere to their requirement and rule.
  • Identify with the Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Kenya which was formerly Kenyan Organic Agriculture Network, they create awareness on the benefits of organic farming and its practice.
  • Get the right seedling specifically from farms which encourage or practices organic farming, remember you should not use genetically modified seeds, therefore to make sure you get the right one you can also request of that from the necessary organization as mention above which will gladly help you in procuring the right organic seedlings.
  • Consider how to make your own manure, natural pest, insect and weed control, how to make animal feeds etc., depending on your agricultural practice which will help to reduce the cost which might be incurred in purchasing them. It is very likely that you cannot produce all the feeds, etc., as there are ones which have been done by professionals in the field which includes their medications and vaccines, so why you purchase their essential needs do the best you can to complement the ones you buy.

This kind of farming practice has so many advantages such as being environmental friendly, no worries of harmful effects from chemicals, improve the soil and more but it is pricey because you have to source for natural alternative of whatever you are looking for but yet people do still prefer organic foods and highly sought after it regardless of its price because of its health benefits.

For more information on the best organic fertilizers to use, contact us.

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Benefits of organic farming and organic foods

organic farming

This is a type of farming that which encourages against use of synthetic fertilizers, growth regulators, pesticides and other additives. Organic farming relies on crop rotation, animal manures, crop residues, legumes, green manure, mechanical cultivation as well as organic wastes/fertilizers. These methods improve soil productivity through improving plant nutrients and biological pest control, controlling weeds, insects and other pests.

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Almost all types of agricultural products can be produced organically, such a crop farming, dairy farming, poultry farming, flowers e.t.c. Thus, organic farming creates a sustainable lifestyle for generations to come. Organic farming increases soils fertility by improving the living component of the soil, the microbial inhabitants that release, transform, and transfer nutrients. Soil organic matter contributes to good soil structure and water-holding capacity.

Farmers through organic farming feed soil biota and soil organic matter with cover crops, compost, and biologically based soil amendments. These produce healthy plants that are better able to resist disease and insect predation. In organic farming, pests and diseases is prevented through good plant nutrition and management. Organic farmers use cover crops and sophisticated crop rotations to change the field ecology, effectively disrupting habitat for weeds, insects, and disease organisms. Weeds are controlled through crop rotation, mechanical tillage, and hand-weeding, as well as through cover crops, mulches, flame weeding, and other management methods.

Organic farming relies heavily on a diverse population of soil organisms, beneficial insects, and birds to keep pests in check. When, pests increase, farmers use a variety of strategies such as insect predators, mating disruption, traps and barriers.

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Importance of organic farming and organic foods

  • Organic farming can be learnt by any conventional farmer.
  • It eliminates the use of expensive synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, minimizing soil erosion by up to 50% and increasing crop yields up to five-folds.
  • Conventional farmers can adopt new, more effective organic farming methods easily through a well-planned transition strategy.
  • Organic farms can support substantially higher levels of wildlife especially in low lands and where animals can roam in pastures or graze on grassland. Not only does wildlife benefit, but entire ecosystems and ground water are improved by simply following organic farming methods.
  • This type of farming practices not only benefit farmers and consumers; but the dairies can benefit. When dairies feed their cows organic feed and graze them on organic fields, the cows experience better health, less sickness, diseases and ultimately produce better tasting milk for consumers.
  • Products grown organically are free from chemicals, preservatives that at times cost the consumers. The taste is just awesome.