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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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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.

Integrating liquid fertlizers through Fertigation into irrigation systems

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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Integrating liquid fertlizers through Fertigation into irrigation systems

Most areas in Kenya do not receive adequate rainfall for growing crops, hence farmers need to get creative. Water is a scarce resource that needs to be preserved. In the process of getting water to the crops, farmers are affected by winds and evapotranspiration. This results in wastage of water, especially in areas where farmers rely on man-made sources or seasonal rivers.  Irrigation systems play a vital role in commercial farming, especially in areas where farmers rely on irrigation to grow their crops and plants. The agricultural sector keeps advancing, coming up with sophisticated irrigation technology that promote agriculture even in dry seasons. Drip irrigation systems have resulted to an increase in the production of fruits and vegetables as more farmers try to tap the high demand in the local and international markets. Apart from irrigation, drip irrigation systems can also be used for fertigation. However, one should be careful when designing an integrated irrigation and fertigation systems.

How to succeed in Drip Irrigation system

Fertigation
Drip Emitters

The success of the system depends on the quality of the equipment. Irrigation systems should be installed in a professional way to minimize malfunctioning in certain parts. Drip irrigation systems help in delivering more water to the plants in a controlled manner, minimizing wastage and saving up to 60% of water consumption compared to sprinkler and flood irrigation systems. Some drip irrigation systems can be automated which can save you manual labor and time. When integrating drip irrigation and fertigation systems, one requires system pumps to control the flow of water and liquid fertilizers, drip tubing for pressurized distributing of water and fertilizers, emitters for distributing water to the farm, fittings, and emission devices. Emission devices are based on the crops grown and the type of soil on your farm. Filters are required to separate solid particles such as sand from the water before delivering it to the farm.

Fertilizers are added to the soil to supplement supply a certain number of nutrients to the crops.  For instance, plants need nutrients such as potassium, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, and magnesium. If these nutrients are not present in the soil, the plants would be forced to only survive on carbon dioxide in the air and hydrogen, oxygen and carbon from the water. Using fertilizers, farmers can boost the health of the plants and in the process increase the overall yield by 30-50%.

Fertigation

Fertigation is the application of irrigation water together with fertilizers. Once they are prepared in stock tanks, the concentrated fertilizer solutions are then injected into the irrigation systems using fertilizer injectors. In Kenya, this is done through drip irrigation systems. With fertilizer injectors, drip irrigation users have an advantage for they can easily apply to their crops. The irrigation system is composed of emitters and tubings which supply water to the plants. Using the same delivery system, fertilizers can be injected and applied to the plants’ root zone where they are needed. When coming up with an integrated irrigation system, farmers should first know the size of the area to be irrigated, the quantity and quality of the available water, the crop water requirements, and the soil type. This will help the farmers to know how to disinfect, filtrate and oxidate the water, and what nutrients should be added for better crop growth. The efficiency of the fertigation program depends on the water management techniques implemented. The crop’s water requirement is based on the type of crop, climatic conditions such as wind, humidity, and temperature, and stage of the crop. To maximize the crop’s health, growth and yields, farmers should take close care to the concentration of liquid fertilizers and the timing of the system. In some units, especially the smaller ones, the injection rate of the fertilizer is proportional to the water discharge rate. Once the system has been run, it cannot be adjusted hence farmers should look keenly at the feed ratio.

To prevent the fertilizing agents from getting back to the water supply, the drip irrigation systems should be fitted with a backflow preventer. Filling a fertilizer injector is done by unscrewing a fill cap, emptying the water in the unit and filling it with the undiluted fertilizer before it is injected into the irrigation water. To prevent clogging in the drip emitters, only water-soluble fertilizers should be used.

Save Every Drop Through Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation impacts the environment positively since it helps in improving crop production, water use efficiency and reduces CO2 emissions brought about by water pumps and reduces soil erosion, which is common in flood irrigation.  Integrating irrigation and fertigation is an important advancement that can benefit both small scale and large scale farmers.  Whether you are growing fruits, horticultural crops, you need a drip irrigation system integrated with a fertigation system to help you. There are many suppliers of these systems and it would be disappointing to buy something that doesn’t work for you. For Irrigation kits and installation contact us.

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Huge discounts this august 2019 – Oxfarm packages

The discount ends on August Saturday 31st 2019.

Oxfarm Package

We were the first company to start fruit tree farming packages in Kenya. We have been engaging many farmers on our fruit tree packages for years, where we assist in supply of quality certified seedlings, planting services and also marketing of the produce. Most of our clients are busy and committed in their work either in offices or overseas, we make their wish on fruit tree farming a reality.

We help them establish their orchard by bringing professionalism in the farms that guarantee a strong start for successful projects. The idea rose as we had encountered such challenges as unreliable seedlings, lack of reliable information/guide on establishment, unskilled labor, and we were unsure of market. This was when we were starting our orchards. We have various packages and their cost vary depending on the type of fruit tree to be farmed per acre farm. We also have quality certified seedlings for our clients.

 

What is inclusive of the Oxfarm fruit tree packages?

  • Certified Fruit tree seedlings
  • Organic manure (earthree) per holes (Equivalent to a bucket of normal manure).
  • Absorber KM per plant (Reduces irrigation frequency by 50%).
  • Labor (measurement and digging of planting holes, mixing and soil treatment, planting)

What is required from the farmer?

  • Clearing of the farm for any weeds and bushes.
  • Paying the agreed amount on time.

 

August 2019 discount on;

  • Unit cost discount for fruit trees -20%
  • Discount for organic fertilizer -30%
  • Labor (digging holes, planting) – 50%

 

We have discounted prices for our fruit tree packages for August 2019.

Contact info@oxfarm.co.ke or 0706222888 for quotation.

 

Additional Cost

  • Transport cost; Ksh 20 per Km from Nairobi or Eldoret town whichever is convenient.
  • Farm preparation.
  • Payment is 80% of the package + Transport and 20% to be paid on material day.

 

Other additional cost to consider

  • Field visits and consultation from agronomist.
  • Irrigation and its system.
  • Management of the farm

 

We also assist farmers get the best type of irrigation for their farms. Either drip irrigation or bottle irrigation.

 

WHY SHOULD YOU ENGAGE ON FRUIT TREE FARMING

There is a huge demand of fruits as more people are becoming healthy conscious, There is increased population driving the demand of food higher, Due to numerous challenges while farming traditional crops like Maize and other cash crops like coffee and tea, the trend favors fruit tree farming. There is also a decline in major fruit producing countries in southern hemisphere like Mexico and South Africa due to climate change which is favoring countries in tropics like Kenya. Due to enhanced bilateral trade between Kenya and other countries like China and US the demand will continue to rise due to enhanced ease of doing business and exports.

 

THE PACKAGE HAS THE FOLLOWING.

  • Certified Fruit tree seedlings

We have Quality healthy seedlings Certified by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service – KEPHIS and we are registered by Horticultural Crop Directorate – HCD

We have discounted our seedlings at 20% for August 2019.

 

 

  • Organic components

EARTHLEE – Is an ultra-concentrated, extremely pure, naturally occurring 80% Humate powder which contains no traces of sodium or heavy metals. EARTHLEE supplies to crops the active ingredient of Organic Matter i.e. humus which is readily available in an easy to use and cost effective dry powder form.

EARTHLEE accomplishes the normal function of organic matter and there by reduces the need for bulk application of organic matter in the soil. Over time, EARHTLEE will enhance nutrient transfer; increase the Soil Cation Exchange Capacity, water-holding capacity and structure of the soil, as well as its aeration, tilth and workability.

Earthree saves the farmer huge cost of adding farm yard or compost manure which is bulky and more costly. The 20g of earthree is equivalent to a bucket of common manure per hole.

Organix limited

 

  • Absorber KM (Reduces irrigation frequency by 50%).

Absorber is a water retainer that, when incorporated into a soil or a substrate absorbs and retains large quantities of water and nutrients. Unlike most products that become hydrated, Absorber has the property of easily releasing the absorbed water and nutrients, thereby allowing the plant to have water and nutrients available at will as a function of the absorption – release cycles.

We add 20g per hole for every plant. Absober saves on cost of irrigation, better fruit tree establishment and minimizes leaching of soil minerals and fertilizers.

Organix Limited

 

  • Labor

We come with our own labor to your farm; we have professionals who know how to carry out even biggest of the projects. We start first by measurement and digging of planting holes, mixing and soil treatment with organic materials, and later we plant the seedlings)

We also give agronomy advice with visits to our clients farms.

 

About us

OxfarmAg Ltd is an award winning company registered in Kenya comprising of young energetic youths who are ready to take agriculture to a whole new level. We work hard to make OxfarmAg ltd the most sort out by farmers for our products and service delivery.

We are certified to provide agricultural inputs mostly seedlings of high quality. We have qualified agriculturists in most part of Kenya who are involved in management of various agricultural projects.

We believe nowadays Money grows on trees.

 

P.O. Box 3552-00100 Nairobi-Kenya

Contacts: +254 706 222 888 or +254 723 662 773/

Whats app link – here

Email; info@oxfarm.co.ke

Website; http://oxfarm.co.ke/  or www.oxfarmorganic.com

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Strawberries Farming in Kenya

Strawberries are sweet, red heart shaped fruit which has a delicious taste and has numerous nutritional benefits. Packed with vitamins fiber, and particularly high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols, strawberries are a sodium free, fat free, cholesterol free, and a low calorie food. Eight strawberries provide more vitamin c than an orange.

Health Benefits of Strawberries

  • Reduce high blood pressure. Strawberries are rich in potassium and magnesium and low in sodium which helps in reducing high blood pressure.
  • Boost immunity. Strawberries are highly packed with vitamin c.
  • Help in preventing cancer. Have many flavonoids that act as excellent antioxidants.
  • Boost brain function. Rich in vitamin c, iodine and phytochemicalswhich help in maintaining the proper functioning of the nervous system.
  • May lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Reduces the risk of eye related ailments.

 June-bearing Strawberry Varieties:

June-bearing Strawberry Variety

June bearers are tremendously popular and common. They typically produce the largest strawberries, and do so over a period of two to three weeks, on average. Most June bearing strawberry varieties produce a harvest around the month of June, hence the name. However, strawberry varieties are further classified into Early Season, Midseason, and Late Season. By selecting strawberry plant varieties that produce during different parts of the season, you can prolong your harvest and enjoy fresh strawberries for an extended period of time.

Ever-bearing Strawberry Varieties:

Ever-bearing strawberries aren’t really “ever bearing.” They generally produce two harvests per year: one in the spring and another in the late summer or fall. Under ideal conditions, it is possible for some ever bearing varieties to produce three berry harvests. In general, overbearing varieties put out less runners than the June bearing varieties, as most of the plants productive energy is directed toward producing multiple strawberry harvests.

Inter-cropping and Mulching in Tissue Culture Banana Farming

Day-neutral strawberry varieties:

Day-neutral Strawberry Variety

Day neutral strawberry plants are unique. Unlike June bearing varieties, day neutral strawberries will produce a good yield in the first year they are planted. They will still be producing fruit in October during milder years. The drawback to day neutral strawberry plants is that they produce smaller strawberries than do the June bearing and ever bearing strawberry varieties. Their fruit is usually small to medium in size, rarely exceeding one inch.

Best Performing Strawberries

Here are some of the best performing types of strawberries,

Albion – Very resistant to disease, large, firm fruit, numerous runners (Day Neutral)

Tillamook – Resistant to some disease, fruit is excellent for preserves or eating out of hand (Early)

Northeaster – Large fruits and high yield (Early)

Elsanta – Not resistant to some diseases but large, firm, sweet fruit (Day Neutral)

Jewel – Big firm fruit, some resistance to leaf disease, moderate runners (Everbearing)

Earliglow – Resistant to leaf and root diseases, very flavorful berries (Early)

Quinalt – Resistant to many diseases, large, soft fruit (Everbearing)

These are but a few varieties from which to choose, but your local extension or nursery can arm you with the optimum choices for your region. In addition, you may prefer to plant native strawberries. These make excellent ground covers and are hardy and resistant to most diseases. Native strawberry types include:

a) Alpine strawberry

b) European strawberry

c) Fraises de Boise

d) Woodland strawberry

e) Wild strawberry

Strawberry plants are usually planted 18 to 24 inches apart in rows 36 to 48 inches apart. Spacing decisions depend on the size of your land. Growers should purchase cultivars resistant to red stele and verticillum wilt from a reputable nursery.

Flower blossoms should be removed during the first season. This practice sacrifices the first year’s crop, but it enables growers to establish a bed of vigorous plants. It is especially important to closely monitor and control pests in the first year.

Yields of day-neutral varieties are typically higher than those of June bearers because of the extended harvest season.

Strawberries must be picked and handled very carefully. Berries are harvested at least three times per week. The fruit must be firm, well colored, and free from rot.

When harvested at the right time and handled properly, strawberries will remain in good condition for a few days.

Several insect pests and diseases can cause crop losses; therefore, it’s important to monitor and control pests. Some pests affect the flowers and fruit, while others attack the foliage, stems, crowns, and roots of the plant. Proper scouting and efficient monitoring must be enhanced.

Weeds must be controlled, as strawberries have shallow root systems that put them at a disadvantage when competing for water and nutrients. Proper and timely weeding should be put into practice. Strawberry farming is very profitable when planted under ideal conditions.

 

 

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Former Teacher Earning Millions from Hass Avocado Farming in Tetu Nyeri

In this life, one has to plan for his future after retirement. At the outskirts of Nyeri county in Tetu Sub-county, Githakwa Village, you will find One Mr Kabue a former primary school teacher who after retirement decided to venture in Hass avocado farming. Mr Kabue has made life out of avocado farming and we have been following him since engaging us in 2014.

Why Did You Decide On Hass Avocado?

“Unlike old days, farming is different today. most farmers especially in Tetu used to grow tea, coffee and maize, if there was an avocado it would be in a corner somewhere. Nobody cared about it, nobody even remembered it until it matured. It was purely peasant farming with no intention of making money. That avocado probably wasn’t not planted or cared for. However, farming has adopted a different meaning for commercial purposes especially when it comes to Hass avocado farming”, Mr Kabue said.

He further explained that after visiting a few avocado farmers and doing his own research, he decided to try a few trees.

Where Did You Get Your Hass Avocado Seedlings From?

Hass Seedlings at Oxfarm.co.ke demo at Ridgeways Nairobi

Mr Kabue did a thorough analysis of the market and his land and decided to contact hass avocado seedling sellers. He had several options but later decided to buy 200 seedlings from Oxfarm.co.ke in 2014. He says that seedlings from Oxfarm are certified and are the real hass and that they (oxfarm) offers extension services advising farmers on how to do sustainable farming and the best way to go about tree fruit farming. He recalls, our officers going to his farm regularly to monitor the progress. compared to other sellers, Oxfarm will guide you and eventually connect you with the market.

Improving banana farming in Kenya through Value Addition

How Much Do You Get From Your Hass Avocado Trees?

Hass avocado
Mr Kabue’s Hass avocado trees

Mr Kabue says he cannot compare what he is getting now from Hass avocado and previous farming. His returns has increased tremendously and being a member of TEHU (Tetu-Huhoini) avocado farmers group, in 2018, all the members were able to sell their fruits at Ksh 12. Mr Kabue projects that the future of avocado farming in Kenya will rise and the prices can only go higher.

What Would You Tell Farmers?

Farmers should think business when it comes to farming. the traditional way of doing things has been overrun by events.” Why would someone keep on growing coffee hoping for better returns year in  and out?” Mr. Kabue Posed.  Although tea and coffee farming used to be good in their heir days, it has now deteriorated and cartels have taken charge of once central province economic power crops.

Many farmers venture into farming without key information and the project flops in less than an year. To avoid that scenario,  Mr Kabue reads widely on avocado farming like this and visits successful avocado farms. His focus was how to tend to avocado seedlings from day one to maturity, transplanting, monitoring, disease management and marketing matters.

Mr Kabue wants to have more than 600 Hass avocado trees by the end of 2020, a dream he says is achievable and will make him not just a millionaire but a force in matters farming in  his village. Imagine having 600 hass avocado trees where one can give you at least 1000 fruits, that loosely translates to 600,000 fruits. if one fruit can sell at a minimum of Ksh 10, Mr Kabue in just one harvest would have Ksh 6 million. How many kenyans earn that kind of money in an year??

 

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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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keep bees if you want 100% production in Avocados

When you think of what bees produce, you probably think of honey. But bees also indirectly produce one-third of the common fruits and vegetables we eat, via pollination. Getting good crops of avocados in Kenya is not always easy, and pollination is part of the problem. Avocado growers find it hard to provide a regular supply of fruit because the trees only give a good crop every second year. However, if we all kept bees, avocado production can increase tremendously, below is an explanation on why bees are necessary.

While other fruits have simple ways of flowering and self pollination, avocados are different. Each avocado tree can be covered by almost hundreds of thousands of tiny flowers. Flowering process is complex and generally occurs over a two-day period. Under normal climatic conditions, the flower first opens in the female stage, when the stigma (the female part of the flower) is receptive. The flower closes overnight and on the second day the male stage occurs when the pollen is shed. Overlap between male and female phases may also occur under certain climatic conditions. Due to the difference in timing of the female and male stages, therefore, a means of transferring pollen from an individual flower to another flower (within the same tree or adjacent trees) is required. The avocado flower, therefore, requires a vector to effect pollination, which is a necessary first step in the process of fruit set. A vector is an external agent that is capable of causing the transfer of pollen grains from the anthers (the pollen bearing male part of the flower) to the stigma. Numerous pollen grains need to be deposited onto the individual stigmas for the avocado tree to have the potential for a good crop. The avocado flower is adapted to visitation by most flying insects as is evident by its open morphology and the easy access to the nectar. Therefore, flies, wasps, honey bees, stingless bees, bumblebees and other insects are potential pollinators of the avocado flower. To date, the honey bee has been the only commercially introduced pollinator in avocado orchards.

Why You Should Buy Your Seedling From Certified Nursery Operators

Why you Should Plant Different Cultivars (Hass and Fuerte avocados)

Avocados flowers are pollinated by insects, so growers bring honey bee hives into the orchard in the flowering season. Most avocado orchards have two different cultivars so that, when some trees have flowers at the female stage, other trees have male flowers. This means the bees need to collect pollen from male flowers of one cultivar (called the polleniser) and transfer it to females of another cultivar.

Avocado trees may have hundreds of thousands of flowers, but for some reason, not many of them produce fruit.

Preparation of Bees

For a hive to be able to adequately pollinate fruit blossom, it must be above certain strength in bee numbers. It is fundamentally difficult to build a population of honey bees during cool conditions, particularly if there are no naturally occurring sources of pollen and nectar. Thus to have healthy bees early in the season, for avocados pollination, the preparation and management of bees should be a major priority between march and June.

Attractiveness, Nutritional Value Of Pollen And Nectar

Honey bees visit both female- and male-stage avocado flowers. Usually, they collect nectar from both flower stages and pollen from the male stage. However, they sometimes collect pollen only and will not visit the female flowers. The attractiveness of the avocado flower to honey bees is low, in comparison to the flowers of numerous species that may be in bloom simultaneously, such as various citrus species and species. In many cases, foraging honey bees from hives that were placed in the orchard for pollination
purposes abandon the avocado flowers in favor of competing bloom. It is quite evident, therefore, that the avocado flowers are not as well adapted to supply the honey bees? needs, when compared to the flowers of many other species.

Not Just for Money; Why you Must Plant an Avocado Tree

Availability Of Bees For Pollination

Avocado blossom coincides with a number of nectar-producing flowering eucalyptus species that have the potential to provide alternative economic gains for the beekeeper in the form of honey crops.

Any serious avocado farmer who wants to make good money must  keep bees. The bees not only help in increasing production, sweetness and size of fruits but also produce pure organic honey every three months.

 

 

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Ultimate guide for beans farming in Kenya

Beans farming in Kenya is not as common as maize. However, it is one of the common grown crops in Kenya. In fact, it is often inter-cropped with the main crop for maximum absorption of nutrients by both plants. Our guide will help interested parties, both farmers and traders to have a clear mind on beans farming and how they can get money as far as beans are concerned.

Varieties of beans grown in Kenya

Beans popularity in Kenya may be due to the fact that bean recipes are numerous and beans are consumed almost with everything and contain quite a considerable amount of protein. Before venturing into beans farming, it is advisable to look at the different varieties available. If a farmer knows the different types of beans he will be able to choose the best based on its performance. Below are the several varieties;

  • Rosecoco beans Kenya
  • Mwezi moja beans
  • Chelalang beans
  • Mwitemania beans

Do your research well as a farmer and identify which variety does well in your area and guarantees high yields.

Yield per Acre of Beans

The hybrid varieties nowadays are very impressive and has a high yield compared to the traditional varieties. Most of the improved varieties produce about 20 pods for each plant, which translate to about 25, 90 kg bags per acre. Notably, this crop is high yielding when all the conditions are optimal.

Dry beans market

Beans are source of proteins which makes Kenya depend highly on them. The market for beans is overwhelming, both locally and international. Depending on quality and type of beans, the prices per 90 kg bag of beans ranges between Ksh 7,000 and Ksh 12,000. Particularly, beans fetch better prices when it is not harvesting period. Some varieties are also more expensive than others. The rose coco and kidney beans, for instance, are a bit pricey compared to the other varieties which are available in large quantities. Beans with a high supply across the country will fetch a lower price compared to those that thrive in specific areas. Irrespective of the type of beans, the market for beans is always there and since it’s a grain, you can store it and sell when the prices are high.

Price of beans in Kenya

Just like any other agricultural product, prices for beans fluctuate depending on a number of factors including demand and supply. The crop will tend to be expensive when they are in high demand, which is often around planting time when farmers need seeds for planting, and also during periods with no new crops. The cost may also depend on the region you are in and when you are buying or selling. So different areas in Kenya register varying prices of beans. Averagely, beans prices in Kenya range from Kshs. 7,000 to Kshs. 12,000 in major towns of

Kenya from low to high seasons. The best thing to do when scouting for better rates is to check the indices often provided by trading companies and the government on the prices of beans in major towns including Eldoret, Nakuru, Kisumu, Nairobi, and Mombasa. It is not suprising that each town could register a different price for the same variety of beans. This is because different factors play out when determining the prices.

Beans production

It is always good to have a projection before embarking on planting the crop. This is where you consider farming as a business and have a clear business plan. You will need to have a structured plan on what to expect through the farming period and how to counter different eventualities. Your projections against the real data will give a vivid picture of whether or not to proceed with the venture. Apart from this, knowing exactly what to do is necessary. Below are some tips that might help you with your business plaa;

  • Know the appropriate beans planting season in Kenya
  • Choose the best beans varieties in your area
  • Consider ideal ecological requirements – This includes temperatures of about 20 to 25 degrees, altitude of between 1,000 m to 2,100 m above sea level, rainfall of between 900 mm to 1,200 mm per year and a soil pH of 6.5 to 7.5

Although the market for beans is always there and appealing, beans farming is not an easy task especially if you are to do it commercially. However, it is always possible to register good yields if you do it right and follow the above steps. You also need to have achievable goals.

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Facts about Moringa (Oleifera)

Moringa  also known as drumstick, Ben oil tree, horseradish or the miracle tree etc. is a fast growing, drought resistance tree, native to tropical and subtropical regions of Asia. It’s widely cultivated for its young seed pods and leaves used as vegetables and for traditional herbal medicine. It’s also used for water purification.

Key Nutrients of Moringa;

  1. Proteins
  2. Iron
  3. Magnesium
  4. Vitamin C
  5. Riboflavin (B2)
  6. Vitamin B6
  7. Vitamin A etc.

Facts about Moringa

Oleifera pods
  • It contains 30 times more magnesium than eggs
  • It contains 17 times more calcium than milk
  • It contains 15 times potassium than bananas
  • It contains 12 times vitamins C than oranges
  • It contains 10 times vitamin A than carrots

Edible parts of the plant

They include;

  1. Leaves- They are dried and ground into moringa leaf powder. The dried leaf powder can be added to dishes, drinks and soups to increase the nutritional value of a meal.
  2. Pods
  3. Roots
  4. Bark
  5. Flowers
  6. Seeds
  7. Fruits

Health Benefits of Moringa.

  1. Rich source of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Has vitamin A, C and E, Calcium, Potassium and Protein.
  2. Anti Cancer agent. Fights free radicals; leaves extracts have higher antioxidant activity, free radical scavenging capacity and higher inhibition of lipid, protein and DNA oxidation.It also contains antioxidants called flavonoids, polyphenols and ascorbic acid in the leaves, flowers and seeds. It reduces cancer cell growth and promotes cell death in several cancers.
  3. Contains anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties.Inflammation can lead to chronic diseases like diabetes, respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and obesity. It reduces inflammation by suppressing inflammatory enzymes and proteins in the body. Lowers inflammation in the cells.
  1. Helps reduce some diabetes symptoms. It’s effective at reducing lipid and glucose levels and regulating oxidative stress in diabetic patients.
  2. Protects the cardiovascular system. It prevents plaque formation in the arteries and reduces cholesterol levels.
  3. Supports brain health. Supports brain health and cognitive function because of its antioxidant and neuro enhancer activities. Its high content of vitamin E and C fights oxidation that’s leads to neuron degeneration improving brain function
  4. Protects the liver. Has high concentration of polyphenols and thus protects liver against oxidation, toxicity and damage. Can reduce liver damage, fibrosis and reverse oxidation in the liver. Moringa oil can restore liver enzymes to normal levels, reducing oxidative stress and increases protein content in the liver.
  5. Contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. It’s effective against types of fungi that cause infections on skin and strains of bacteria that are responsible for blood and urinary tract infections and digestive problems.
  6. Enhances wound healing. Has blood clotting properties
  7. Could protect against arsenic toxicity.

How to use Moringa;

Add moringa powder to your smoothie or drink it as a tea.

-has mild flavor.

-Stay clear of seed extract consumption, as they have shown a level of toxicity in immune cells.

-Has laxative effects if taken in large quantities.

-it should be ½ to 1 teaspoonful per day.

 

For more information about Moringa and other tree fruits feel free to contact us.