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Sustainable Farming Methods A Substitute For Pesticides

Emerging reports show that Kenyan farmers are over-relying on crop protection products that have continuously hindered soils functions and ecosystems. Instead farmers should adopt better alternative farming practices, according to FAO and ITPS, 2017 report.

Producing more food from the same or less land, while at the same time seeing the available crop protection options diminish due to regulation and resistance remains a key challenge for food producers.

Effective disease control remains central to profitable farming and to minimize the cost / tonne of production through increased yields. Varietal choice and the use of inherent disease resistance should be a primary consideration when deciding on cropping plans. Seed treatments help manage the threat posed by seed or soil-borne pests and diseases, and play an increasingly important role, for example in managing viruses transmitted by aphids.

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PPPs are pesticide products used to prevent, destroy or control any pest that can cause harm during the production, processing, storage, transport or marketing of food, agricultural commodities, wood and wood products, according to the FAO Report. According to experts, research is needed in addressing the issue of PPPs in Africa as African soils have low levels of organic matter.

According to report, PPPs have become widely used in farming and many other settings such as urban gardens and parks, with their sales projected to increase annually by almost six percent, and reaching US$68.5 billion by 2017. But the report adds that the use of PPP could be reduced through soil-specific measures such as the reduction of runoff by improving soil structure or preserving plant residues and measures such as vegetated buffer strips or constructed wetlands. The report indicate that crop rotations which include phases such as pastures that require little or no PPP application also reduce overall usage.

The report was based on a review conducted by the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) of scientific papers and reports with a focus on assessments of impacts of plant protection products on soil organisms.

Daniel Pennock, chairman of the ITPS of the FAO, tells indicates that sustainable soil management is of significance but only if the implemented practices reduce the amount of PPPs applied to soils while maintaining plant production levels.

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More research required on Crop Protection

African governments, institutions, and policymakers should create initiatives and capacity building programs to help identify research gaps in pesticides use and impacts. For instance, a well-designed scientific research on PPP in representative African soils should be carried out to address pesticide fate in African farming systems.

More importantly, studies on integrated pest management appropriate for African conditions should be supported and completed so that environmentally sound and socially acceptable method of pest control can be developed, which may or may not have a place for PPP.

Research on PPP and integrated pest management are of direct benefit to farmers if crop losses due to pests can be minimized and higher yields of crops are produced.



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What to consider when starting a dairy farm

Whatever your experience and background, there are a few things you should know before you begin milking dairy animals.

Build up a Business Plan and SWOT Analysis

Remember that a dairy farm is a business. Advancement of detailed marketable strategy and a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) of your plan and the assets you readily have will be basic to the accomplishment of your business. What number of cows will you milk? Where will you sell your milk? Will you hire workers? What amount of cash do you have to live on after the dairy bills are altogether paid? Your marketable strategy ought to incorporate an income plan that will enable you to set sensible projections for your expenses and cost of production.

Consult the Experts

Regardless of whether you experienced childhood with a dairy cow and figured out how to cater and milk cows from your folks and grandparents it is imperative to seek guidance from specialists in the dairy business as you build up your strategy for success and plan your management framework. Other dairy producers are awesome resources. Attend field days and open houses on dairy farming in your general vicinity and different parts of the county or country. When going to different homesteads find out what has functioned admirably on those farms and what has not worked, but rather remember that since something worked well at one farm does not mean it will work for you on your homestead.

Notwithstanding farmers, converse with veterinarians, nutritionists, agronomists, brokers, expansion tutors, and others that can give alternate points of view on management of your dairy. Lack of milk and milk products in Kenya is a genuine concern. Luckily, this implies business visionaries and farmers can consider this to be a lucrative investment they can attempt. Basically, knowing how to take off in this financially valuable undertaking is the most basic factor.

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Availability of Land

Dairy farming can be practiced on a piece of land ranging from 0.1-1,000,000 acres, depending on the scale of farming. This is the first requirement that any prospective farmer ought to meet.

Dairy farming can be done on a land running from 0.1-1,000,000 acres, depending upon the size of the scale of farming. This is the primary prerequisite that any forthcoming farmer should meet.

Distinguishing the Right Livestock Breeds

There are different variety of dairy cows in Kenya including both local and exotic breeds. For more returns, a farmer should go for exotic breeds, for example, Friesian, Ayrshire, Jersey and Guernsey. The farmer should consider acquisition and upkeep expenses, and possible returns given a specific breed. A decent dairy cow may cost between KSh. 100,000-500,000.

Getting Money (Capital)

Dairy farming is a genuine business venture. Capital is, in this way, obligatory for purchasing domesticated animals, farm equipment, establishment of structures and purchasing of animal feed, among other basic prerequisites. You can draw this from a bank account, wage or loan.

Setting Up Necessary Structures

Dairy cows must be kept under favorable living conditions free from rains, winds and unnecessary human interference. This calls for establishment of suitable structures

Supply of Feed

Feeds are the most basic prerequisites for any fruitful dairy farming undertaking. It is essential to have a solid source of animal feed even before the animals get onto the farm.

Other than the above, a farmer needs to acquire adequate information the care of the animals and general maintenance of the farm.

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