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What are the key pros and cons of using pesticides in our Farms?

Kenyans have now adopted use of pesticides and herbicides in the recent times. Pesticides are a mix of chemicals that are widely used on plants and crops to prevent damaging insects and animals from destroying them. The introduction of pesticides came around during the Industrial Age and completely changed the agricultural industry. They have created immense benefits and streamlined the harvesting process, however they also have had some significant negative damages to our health and environment. Let’s discover how these frequently used chemicals benefit and effect us by looking at all of the pros and cons associated.

Advantages of Pesticides

More Plentiful Harvest

Unwanted pests like mice and insects eat plants at their early stages and destroy their chances of producing fruits or vegetables. They also come in an contaminate entire plants that have already bloomed, which still renders them useless. They helps to keep all of these destructive pests away from crops, which results in more plants surviving and a larger harvest.

Very Easily Available

All types of pesticides are available in stores around the world and relatively affordable prices. This makes it a great way for people to simply protect their own personal gardens and plants from intrusive little critters.

Weeds Out The Weeds

Another huge benefit of pesticides is that they also take out pesky plants, like weeds. Weeds grow in gardens and fields and take up precious soil space, drink the water meant for the other crops, and can choke out the root systems of them as well.

Lowers The Cost Of Food

Farmers typically include the cost of their losses into the price of the food that they sell to the supermarkets. This cost is then transferred down to the consumer. Losses are much less significant with the use of pesticides.

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Major Disadvantages of Pesticides

Health Concerns

The mix of chemicals that are in pesticides are not safe for human ingestion, but they are still sprayed onto the food that we eat. This raises some major concerns about the health and safety of pesticide use.

Harms Animals and the Environment

Pesticides are designed and made to kill living things, which makes them dangerous to the things that they are not intended to kill. Many animals are killed from consuming plants that have been sprayed. Other types of plants, like grass and flowers, are also greatly affected by the use of pesticides.

Worse For Children

It is highly recommended to not use pesticides in any area that a child will be playing or present frequently. This is because their vital organs are still developing, which causes them to breathe at a faster rate than adults, thus breathing in more of the pesticides. They are also much closer to the ground, which is where the chemicals and danger are.

Home Use Is Not Recommended

One of the most common places that they are used is the residential home. People assume that since they are sold, they are safe. This is not true at all. The effects of pesticides can harm pets, kill good insects and animals that you need around your home, as well as harm your children’s health.

They Build A Resistance

Just like other living things, pests can build up a resistance to the chemicals that are used in the pesticides. This means that you would eventually have to begin using more and more of the product, making it even more dangerous.

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Access To Poison Is Not Always Good

Pesticides are poison, not only to insects and pests, but to other warm blooded animals such as dogs and humans. A person can go to the store and buy these poisons, and use them on many different things that they are not intended for. Every year 7 people die from a poisoning associated with pesticides.

Facts about Pesticides

  • Scientists say that there is a link between mental illness and long term exposure to pesticides. They are saying that this is the cause of many farmer suicides.
  • Those that have been deemed unsafe remain in the soil and plants for many years, even after they are not used any longer.
  • There are many different types of pesticides, each targeting a specific groups of pest. They include rodenticides, fungicides, and herbicides.
  • The production of crops increase nearly 30 percent when they are used.

If you  can grow plants organically, then that is the best way to go!! In addition, contact us if you need any type of fruit seedlings!

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7 Things To Consider Before Leasing Land for Farming

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

Discover Your Market

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

Land around Semi and Urban areas

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

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

Grapes Farming: What you need to know

Facts about Rural farming

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

A lot of Networking

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

Ask for Help

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

Online Marketing

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

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

Lease For Long

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

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

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

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End of year Kenyan Farm Tour and Training – Kenran Dairy – 12th December 2018

omigo magera farm

Theme: How to run and manage a modern day dairy farm on a small piece of land.

The farm that started with 6 dairy cows in 2016 is to day the hub of 85 dairy cows comprising high yielders, low yielders, in-calf heifers, and unweaned heifers housed in different sections of the unit depending on age and development stage. Utilizing modern innovation technology in milking and preservation, Kenran Dairy is one of the most technological advanced farm in Kenya today.

*From the high investment in computerised milking machines, to the high standards of hygiene practiced by the farmhands; everything spells Europe-style class here.*

The cows here listen to slow jam & classic music, undergoes pedicure, shaving to keep them clean and sleeps on cow mattress to ensure comfort hence more milk production.

 

Related: 6th Mushroom Training – Bannie-El Mushroom Farm in Limuru – 24th November 2018

 

That is what best describes former South Mugirango MP Omingo Magara’s farm tucked deep inside Ongata Rongai. His one-acre farm is an example of how to run a modern-day dairy unit.

One of the biggest headaches for large-scale dairy farmers is safe milk preservation and boosting their milk yields while maintaining their profit margins. Because majority of them lack affordable milk preservation equipment and machines, some end up using dubious methods to achieve this goal.

The farm, having partnered with EuroDairy supplies innovative dairy equipment’s such as coolers and milking machines from Muller — a farm equipment company in Netherlands. Hon Magara also runs a fully stocked state of the art facility that stocks modern dairy farming equipment’s, spare parts and general cow comfort such as cow brushes, cow shaving machines, hoof cutters, cow magnets and detergents for washing milking machines, all which are key to boost milk production

Expect to learn on the following

• Dairy farming as a business
• Production and herd structure
• Housing
• Spacing
• Animal health
• Calf rearing/young stock management
• Feeds/feeding management
• Groupings and requirements (lactating, dry cows, calves and heifers)
• Cow comfort and efficiency
• Herd management
• Adoption of technology
• Socio-economic management
• Staff management
• Challenges

 

Payment Details
Farmers Trend
Mpesa Till Number 201677
Then send confirmation details to +254 706 222 888

Charges per head 4,000/=

Inclusive of transport from Nairobi, writing materials and meals

 

 

More Details about the farm. Omingo Magara The Dairy Farmer

 

MORE PHOTOS OF THE FARM

 

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6th Mushroom Training – Bannie-El Mushroom Farm in Limuru – 24th November 2018

Mushroom-Farming-Business. kenya

To learn more on Mushroom farming we have organized the 6th mushroom training and farm tour at  Bannie-El Mushroom Farm in Limuru.

In broad, the mushroom training will cover the below details:-

  • Cost of production
  • Structure design
  • Preparing compost
  • Substrate preparation and mixing ratios
  • Sterilization/pasteurization (decontamination) of substrate
  • Inoculation (spawning) and conditions
  • Incubation
  • Maintaining conditions
  • Soil casing
  • Management
  • Fruiting process
  • Harvesting
  • Storage
  • Marketing
  • Challenges in production and marketing
  • Cooking preparation recipe

CHARGES PER HEAD

  • 3,000/= Exclusive of transport
  • Payable to Farmer Trend mpesa till number 201677

check more about the farm HERE

CONTACTS: 0790-509684

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How to Choose the right market for your farm produce

market for fresh produce

Small scale farmers in Kenya tend to plant first and look for market afterwards.

It is important to locate the target market and establish the degree of competition before a farmer puts the crop in so that his/her rewards can be fully reaped with the harvest.

Farmers in Kenya ought to decide where they will sell their produce, what the market wants from them and how this fits into their budget.

There are several different pathways fresh produce might follow to the end consumer. It all depends on the choice of market the farmer chooses.

Indirect Selling

If a farmer has a more introvert personality and don’t like dealing with a lot of people, this might be his/her preferred option.

Indirect sales institutions have strict requirements for producers, and may require Global G.A.P. certification, where a farmer must produce according to a strict set of regulations that applies to the pesticides a farmer uses, fertilizer, water quality and labor conditions. There could be a delay in payments when using indirect methods.

How Long Should Your Farming Enterprise Take To Become Profitable?

Wholesale Marketing

With wholesale marketing a farmer is selling all his/her crops to one place, like a store, restaurant, co-op or market. This is one of the fastest ways to sell your harvest, but it won’t bring in the same profits compared to more direct methods.

At terminal wholesale markets in urban areas your agricultural produce is traded to the buyers. These markets have the advantage of high concentration for supply and demand, with larger volumes traded.

It is important to note that wholesale buyers expect high quality, consistency, timely delivery, sorted crops and clean products. This market is more vulnerable to variability.

When a farmer plants seasonal crops, it means a farmer will compete with several other producers in the market, leading to lower prices.

At wholesale markets, a farmer competes with several other farmers and their produce, and the price a farmer gets depends on the current market demand and might vary from day to day.

Processing Markets

Processing is quite costly, and this means most of the processing of fresh produce is done by large companies, since processors need to keep their unit costs low to stay competitive. Expect to sell his/her produce at lower prices.

When a farmer produces for a processing market, a farmer usually has to deliver according to a contract that was set up before planting that specifies the type and amount of vegetables or fruit a farmer produces and deliver.
It is a sure way to sell his/her  produce, with a fixed income at the end of the season and it allows a farmer to plan ahead for the next planting season. Processing plants need large volumes of produce for processing, and usually at a cheaper cost.

Supermarkets and Food Retailers

Food retailers are normally interested in locally produced vegetables, as it promises the freshest product on their shelves, and shows community support.

These markets vary from farm stalls, independent, locally-owned grocery stores to large grocery chains.

Large chain stores have defined methods of buying in their products and have specific requirements. It might be challenging to persuade his local chain store to sell his produce, since purchasing usually requires approval from regional or central management.

The prices are also likely to be linked to regional prices rather than local prices. High quality is expected, and produce might be rejected if it is not up to standard at delivery.

The advantage is that a farmer can sell his produce in bulk, on a weekly basis. Depending on the crops a farmer plant and the size of the farm, a farmer may have to spend extra time and money on cleaning and packaging as well as branding.

When a farmer is selling his produce at a local produce, remember that the name of the brand of the supermarket is also at stake. Therefore, farmer’s produce must be fresh and of good quality.

What are the basic characteristics of a successful farm manager?

Food Service Buyers or Institutions

These include schools, colleges, nursing homes, hospitals or prisons that have to produce food at low cost which translates into low prices for farmer’s produce. These institutions usually have requirements and food safety regulations that must be kept up.

It does provide a farmer with a secure end point for his/her produce.

Restaurant Sales

Most restaurants will pay a premium for quality local products, especially for specialty produce that are not readily available in local supermarkets.

A good personal relationship with the chef is important to ensure they turn to a farmer for their fresh produce need. The chef must be regularly updated with your planting and harvesting schedule, since they run a tight schedule. Quality is of key importance, as well as reliable, timely delivery.
Remember chefs are busy, and try to contact them outside of mealtimes or when they are preparing for meals.

Direct Sales

This is a direct method used to sell your product to customers and can be very time consuming for farmers. If a farmer is a good planner and like to talk to people, this method can work for you. Remember, someone should permanently man the stand, like you, the farmer, a family member or someone hired at extra cost, to do the selling.

There is no middleman involved that eats away at your profits, but there could be a rental cost. This method is more profitable, and a farmer gets paid directly, but takes up more time.

Farmers’ Market or Community Market

Many people go to these markets to get the freshest vegetables available. Ensure the market is popular with locals and located in a busy place. The market must also be clean and well managed.

A farmer will compete with other farmers and their displays, so be sure that his/her offer stands out with variety, quality and freshness as well as something extra like a sauce or product made from his/her vegetables.

Note:

  • Display is very important; group all same colored vegetables together. Bright colors like yellow or red will catch the eye of your customer.
  • A farmer can also make up some packages, recipes or staple vegetables in bargain packages.
  • Add a sign with the name of your farm or name of your business, so people can recognize your stand or see the pricing for your products. Be creative.

There you go, before embarking on this noble course of feeding people, ensure you have identified your market and the other things will be easier to do.

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How Long Should Your Farming Enterprise Take To Become Profitable?

fruit and vegetable farming

Farming can be successful but for you to be successful, you have to think critically and out of the box. You must think like a modern tech farmer and not as that conservative traditional farmer. You must do away with the traditional methods and think as a business person, the traditional methods no longer work.

Most of the new farmers struggle because they follow passion instead of viewing farming as a business and a carrier. Whatever prevents you from getting into farming and succeeding can be done with. Let’s see what you can do to be successful if farming and how long it will take you.

Best methods to improve your farm profitability

Conduct Market Analysis First

If as a farmer you grow any type of crop without first knowing a specific market, you are bound to fail. Sadly, that’s what most people do. They rush into farming business without validating the market potential of their given crop.

Don’t look at what your neighbors are growing and decide, do your own analysis. Competition kicks in and the only way to stand out, is through lowering your prices. But that’s the best scenario, the worst case scenario would be the marketing dictating what price you get.

No one wants to lose control of how they price their commodities. But that’s what you’ll get when you fail to look for a market upfront. You’ll pay for the mistake by squeezing your margins dry. To be on the safe side, start by approaching all probable market outlets about your farming ideas and then choose an enterprise based on the feedback you receive. That way you’ll be sure that the market really needs what you intend to grow.

Hass Avocado and Macadamia farming will Improve Lives “ Kiraitu Murungi”

Make Sure You Choose The Right Crop

If you want to optimize on your probability, make sure you go for the right crop. Choosing the right crop to plant is the first step to optimizing farm profitability.

In any given market, consumers will demand more than one enterprise. As an entrepreneur under such circumstances, you’re face with a decision on what enterprise to select. My advice is simple, choose the one that has a higher market value.

The reason I say this is because the cost of production is almost the same across various enterprises. For example, whether you need to grow tree tomatoes or hass avocado you’ll require land, same land preparation, and same operation cost. But the difference is determined by how the market values a given crop.

Always Plan in Advance

Planning is important in all fields and those who ignore it do so at their own peril. It’s a fact that all professionals have plans – For instance, doctors follow a treatment plan, airline pilots follow a flight plan, and soldiers follow a military operation plan.

While we can’t guarantee your success – in fact no one can, having a plan dramatically increases your probability of success. The reason why most farming ideas no matter how great never live to see the light of day, is that they neglect this vital step.

Knowing this gives you unfair advantage over the rest of the folks. When you take your time to write a detailed farm plan, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration trying to figure what to do next.

And as with any agricultural produce, time is a luxury you cannot afford. Given the perishable nature of most horticultural produce, you’ll be messed up if you lack a plan of action.

Diversify Your farming Enterprises

Don’t try to specialize in farming. There are some other instances where specialization is paramount, but if you want farm profitability badly, you can’t afford to specialize.

You have likely heard the expression “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

For example, if you’re growing passion fruits for income, it could be a good idea to intercrop them with other vegetables such as, strawberries, onions, and spinach.

These intercropped short-term crops will enable you to earn some income before your main crop.

Stick to Your Plan

Starting a farm of your own is a fantastic way to give yourself some control and possibly earn an extra income at the same time.

Farming is risky, challenging, and not for the fainthearted. Farmers and agripreneurs deal with unpredictable situations, such as crop failures and market fluctuations. One year may produce a bountiful harvest, while another may bring total devastation and little or no income.

This is all part of the business of agriculture. Now, when you face such situation, the last thing you need to do is switch plans.

While some challenges might require a change of plans, it’s better to stick to your plan and learn from your mistakes. It’s all part of the process that eventually leads to farm profitability.

Invest in Yourself

You need to continually invest in yourself to become better at what you do. Grasp any learning opportunity to help you make better farm decisions.

While you do this, don’t worry about being perfect. If you worry too much about being perfect, you’re never going to get anything done. Get your farm set up as soon as you can, and you can worry about learning the ins and outs of the trade later. Learning events such as field days, open days, and libraries are all good sources of information. ​

Don’t Take too Many Short Cuts

Farming entrepreneurs have a role to play. A role to protect the integrity of the industry and restore faith in the quality food standards. Taking short cuts defeats the whole logic of protecting the industry’s integrity.

Compliance to quality standards and other farm operations is key. Therefore, to safeguard your farm profitability, you need to adhere to those standards.

Keep Clear Book Records

Always ensure you keep current, accurate records. Pay attention to details. Know where your money is generated and spent. Storing receipts in a shoebox and waiting to post figures at the end of the year is not a recommended recordkeeping system.

Good records will help you to measure your cash flow as well as to estimate the profitability of the enterprises. ​

Ensure Food Safety in Mind

Remember that you’re growing food for human consumption. And as such, food safety is key. The only way to ensure that you’re growing safe and high quality produce, is by following the best agricultural practices.

Internationally producers and consumers are embracing the practices and. It’s not just a requirement but an important component in enhancing food safety. Consumers will pay you more when you’re accredited and certified against such standards.

Seek Help

No one is perfect when it comes to farming. Therefore there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t ask for help when you need it. Many people, including oxfarm, are happy to help people out.

Conclusion

Farming takes time, therefore be patient and persistent. Follow the above few tips and you will be surprised how first your farming enterprise will grow.

 

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DAIRY GOAT – Farm tour & training 10th November 2018

Our November farm tour and training will focus on DAIRY GOAT FARMING as business in Kenya. The training will be held at Shamba Dairies – one of the leading and well managed dairy goat farm in Kenya.

The farm located in the heart of Kangema town is the home of 40lts of dairy goat milk per day, with the champion goat producing 5litres of milk per day – a feature many dairy goat farmers in Kenya dream off.

The farm has three breeds of goats namely Alpine, Toggenbergs and Saanens.

Shamba dairies is among the few farms in Kenya that completes the entire value chain, It has a small yoghurt processing unit fully dedicated to goats’ milk yoghurt production.

Feeding, which they mostly grow on the farm includes proteins such as desmodium, lucerne, calliandra, green leaves, which is constantly in their cages.

This tour and training offers those with an interest and new entrants to goat farming an opportunity to learn the success behind Shamba Dairies.

 

Read Also: How to make Silage for your Dairy Cows in Kenya

 

The event is organized by Farmers Trend in collaboration with Oxfarm Organic. We are dedicated in promoting agri-tourism in Kenya, showcasing the success of this modern farms that started from a humble background.

 

Contact us for details, bookings and any clarification
John Kiruthi: 0790-509684
David Gitonga: 0722-481838

 

See more details on the poster below

 

 

About Dairy goat farming :

 

 

Pictures

   

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Macadamia nuts help release stress and it will strengthen your hair

Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts have many health benefits which are worth planting for. Macadamia nuts take care of your heart or they can keep you upbeat all day. These nuts are fruits of the macadamia tree which is native to Australia. They are commercially very important. Macadamia belongs to Proteaceae family of plants and it can reach as high as 40 feet but the grafted hybrid variety is shorter. Its leaves are elliptical and are usually arranged in whorls of 3 – 6.  Its flowers are slender, and are about 10 inches long.

Macadamia nuts are extremely hard and woody. They have a pointed apex and have 1 or 2 seeds. If you take macadamia nuts in excess amounts, then they can cause skin allergies like rashes and other allergies like coughing. If you bought macadamia nuts that are salted, then they can elevate your blood pressure. This is a reason why you should eat unsalted natural variety. In addition, macadamia nuts are good source of fiber but if you take them in excess amounts, then they can cause gastrointestinal problems like bloating, diarrhea and gas.

Macadamia nuts health benefits

Strengthens hair

Macadamia nuts are rich in palmitoleic acid. They can help to treat hair and it can strengthen the hair roots. When you are massaging your hair regularly with macadamia nut oil, then it can make it shiny, stimulates hair growth and it can rebuild hair elasticity. This oil can also prevent the hair breakage by penetrating the scalp and it can improve the strength of the hair follicles. Also it can control the frizz. It will hydrate your hair as well.

How to make Silage for your Dairy Cows in Kenya

Macadamia nuts Improve skin health

Macadamia nuts have essentially fatty acids which are playing an important role in the skin health. It has palmitoleic acid which can hydrate the skin, support the health of cell membranes and promotes skin healing. You should apply macadamia oil to your skin because it can render a youthful glow. It is thick, but it gets absorbed by your skin very easily. It is important to know that there is some amount of palmitoleic acid which is naturally happening on our skin and as we are getting older, it diminishes. When you apply macadamia nut oil on your skin, then it can replenish your skin with this essential acid. Also this acid can delay the skin aging. It will prevent the early onset of the signs of aging like age spots and wrinkles.

Macadamia nuts can help Relieve stress

There are some studies in which are shown that macadamia nuts can help to relieve the oxidative stress in people. They are rich in antioxidants which can help to beat the stress as well. Antioxidants fight against the free radicals and if you have high levels of free radicals in your body, then it can lead to oxidative stress and an increased risk of disease. Also these nuts have high – quality protein but it is in small amounts. There are some studies in which are said that when we consume a handful of macadamia nuts due to their high – quality protein content, they can keep the blood sugar levels in check and they can provide a steady flow of enhanced energy and mood.

Boost metabolism

Macadamia nuts have monounsaturated fatty acids which can accelerate fat metabolism. When you are consuming 3 nuts, then they can reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome.

 Offers energy boost

Macadamia nuts have complex carbs and they can spike your energy levels. It is known that fats sustain the energy.

Macadamia nuts Aid in anemia treatment

These nuts have some amount of iron which can help to treat the anemia and it can prevent this disease. But you should include other foods that are rich iron such as spinach. Also when you are including Vitamin C in your diet, then it can improve your iron absorption and this can help to prevent anemia.

Now if you area farmer in Kenya and you want a tree that can give you money, think Macadamia. As we have seen the above benefits, macadamia nuts are highly sourced all over the world.

 

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Significance of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

Hass avocado has continued to be number one success story in Kenya.

Both local and foreign investors have been putting up avocado factories in the country and have therefore improved prospects among local farmers.

Each year, more than 1500 avocado containers are shipped to Europe and the Middle East. New markets in Asia- specifically Russia and China are opening up opportunities for farmers and exporters, according to key industry players.

This has boosted the country’s profile as a top avocado producer among their other producing nations of Mexico, Chile, Peru and South Africa.

In recent years, the World Economic Forum has recognized Kenya’s avocado success story. Kenya has about 10000ha under the crop with more than 70 per cent of total avocado production coming from smallholder farmers. Increased investment by the county governments has come as a boon to many farmers who previously had to suffer low prices from ravenous brokers-fleecing farmers of their incomes. Contract farming has also encouraged farmers to improve their farming and replace old less productive trees with modern varieties.

tree tomato Pruning and why it’s important

Diversification Through Hass Avocado Farming

Farmers and especially in central Kenya where land has been subdivided many times becoming too small for commercial purposes have been force to diversify their thin king and they have over the recent years adopted hass avocado farming and macadamia farming.

With an acre of land carrying 150 avocado trees, and a single tree producing over 1000 fruits on maturity each retailing at an average of Ksh 10, a farmer is assured of 1.5 million from a single acre.

Production usually starts two and a half years after planting. Hass avocado and Fuerte varieties are the most sought-after. The latter is said to be a good pollinator popular with exporters while the former is more popular in Europe.

Countries that buy avocados from Kenya include United Arab Emirates, the UK, Egypt, The Netherlands, France, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Spain, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Germany and Hong Kong.

The government under CS Agriculture Mr Kiunjuri plans to expand to emerging markets such as Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.

What are you waiting for, we have told you before and we will continue emphasizing that hass avocado farming is the way to go.

Contact us for more details.

 

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What are the Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds?

If you are in a mood for a chewy snack that doubles as an exceptional food, look no further than pumpkin seeds. With a good sort of nutrients starting from manganese and magnesium to copper, protein and zinc, pumpkin seeds are nutrition powerhouses committed in a very tiny package. They additionally contain plant compounds referred to as phytosterols and free-radical scavenging antioxidants, which might offer your health another boost.
Because these are high-fiber seeds, they’re ready to boost your fiber intake, serving to you reach the best quantity of 50 grams per 1,000 calories consumed. Better of all, since pumpkin seeds are extremely portable and need no refrigeration, they create a superb snack to stay with you whenever you are on the move, or they will be used as a fast anytime snack at home as well. Below are different healthy benefits of pumpkin seeds.

Heart Healthy Magnesium

One-quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly half of the recommended daily amount of magnesium, which participates in a wide range of vitally important physiological functions, including the creation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the energy molecules of your body), the synthesis of RNA and DNA, the pumping of your heart, proper bone and tooth formation, relaxation of your blood vessels, and proper bowel function.

Magnesium has been shown to benefit your blood pressure and help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke, yet an estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in this important mineral.

Zinc for Immune Support

Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc (one ounce contains more than 2 mg of this beneficial mineral). Zinc is important to your body in many ways, including immunity, cell growth and division, sleep, mood, your senses of taste and smell, eye and skin health, insulin regulation, and male sexual function.

Many are deficient in zinc due to mineral-depleted soils, drug effects, plant-based diets, and other diets high in grain. This deficiency is associated with increased colds and flu, chronic fatigue, depression, acne, low birth weight babies, learning problems and poor school performance in children, among others.

Plant-Based Omega-3 Fats

Raw nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds, are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3s (alpha-linolenic acid or ALA). We all need ALA, however, ALA has to be converted by your body into the far more essential omega-3 fats EPA and DHA — by an enzyme in which the vast majority of us have impaired by high insulin levels. So, while pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of ALA, I believe it is essential to get some of your omega-3 fats from animal sources, such as krill oil, as well.

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Prostate Health

Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as an important natural food for men’s health. This is in part because of their high zinc content, which is important for prostate health (where it is found in the highest concentrations in the body), and also because pumpkin seed extracts and oils may play a role in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, or enlarged prostate). Research suggests that both pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin seeds may be particularly beneficial in supporting prostate health.

Anti-Diabetic Effects

Animal studies suggest that pumpkin seeds may help improve insulin regulation and help prevent diabetic complications by decreasing oxidative stress.

Benefits for Postmenopausal Women

Pumpkin seed oil is rich in natural phytoestrogens and studies suggest it may lead to a significant increase in good “HDL” cholesterol along with decreases in blood pressure, hot flashes, headaches, joint pains and other menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women.

Heart and Liver Health

Pumpkin seeds, rich in healthy fats, antioxidants and fibers, may provide benefits for heart and liver health, particularly when mixed with flax seeds.

Tryptophan for Restful Sleep

Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin, which in turn is converted into melatonin, the “sleep hormone.” Eating pumpkin seeds a few hours before bed, along with a carbohydrate like a small piece of fruit, may be especially beneficial for providing your body the tryptophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin production to help promote a restful night’s sleep

Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Pumpkin seed oil has been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects. One animal study even found it worked as well as the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in treating arthritis, but without the side effects.

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What’s the Best Way to Consume Pumpkin Seeds?

pumpkin seeds
Roasted pumpkin seeds

In order to preserve the healthy fats present in the seeds, pumpkin seeds should be eaten raw. If you choose to purchase seeds from a bulk bin, make sure they smell fresh – not musty, spoiled or stale, which could indicate rancidity or the presence of fungal mycotoxins. Organic pumpkin seeds are preferred, as they will not be contaminated with pesticides or other harmful chemicals.

However, most nuts and seeds have anti-nutrients like phytic acid that can make all the previously discussed important nutrients less bio available when you consume them. So if you plan on consuming seeds or nuts on a regular basis, it would be wise to soak or sprout them. To make them more palatable, you can then dehydrate them in your oven, or better yet and more cost effectively in a dehydrator. There are many dehydrators on the market, but Excalibur is generally considered the best. I have used one for over 20 years.

If you prefer to eat the seeds roasted, do so yourself so you can control the roasting temperature and time. Raw pumpkin seeds can be roasted on a low heat setting in your oven (no more than 75 degrees Celsius), sprinkled with Himalayan or other natural salt, for about 15-20 minutes.

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