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How is The Future of Agriculture and Agribusiness

Agribusiness in Kenya

The importance of agriculture to the Kenyan economy cannot be underestimated. It is well documented that agriculture is key to economic growth and contributes to socio-economic development of the country. The sector accounts for around 25 percent of the country’s GDP and contributes over 70 percent of the national export earnings.

Agribusiness sector is undergoing sort of a technology revolution period. Many  people are working towards streamlining the process for agricultural business. We need to cap the losses this industry suffers due to poor management and illicit commission agents. Because the future of the Kenyan Agribusiness sector depends on farmers and traders. Seeing as how farmers are ending their lives or succumbing to debts, we need solutions which will ensure the future of the sector. Its worrying seeing our counterparts from north lift always complaining about maize prices. Although we have been telling them to diversify, they need to feel that their land will continue giving them value.

The Future of Farming is  Agribusiness and farming Smart

The area of land available for agriculture in Kenya and the entire world has decreased. If Kenya for example wants to expand or maintain its current food output it needs to increase its productivity – without imposing an additional burden on the environment. More with less, welcome to the world of Smart Farming

What is Smart Farming?

Smart Farming is a farming management concept using modern technology to increase the quantity and quality of agricultural products. Farmers in the 21st century have access to GPS, soil scanning, data management, and Internet of Things technologies. By precisely measuring variations within a field and adapting the strategy accordingly, farmers can greatly increase the effectiveness of pesticides and fertilizers, and use them more selectively. Similarly, using Smart Farming techniques, farmers can better monitor the needs of individual animals and adjust their nutrition correspondingly, thereby preventing disease and enhancing herd health.

Goat Farming in Kenya: how to start & make money

What are the requirements for Smart Farming?

Knowledge and capital are essential for any innovation. New farming technologies require more and more professional skills. A farmer today is not only a person with a passion for agriculture, he or she is also a teacher, a doctor, a politician, a lawyer (to find their way through a growing maze of regulations) and a part-time accountant (making a living from selling agricultural produce requires bookkeeping skills and an in-depth knowledge of market chains and price volatility).

Furthermore, Smart Farming requires capital. Thankfully, there are a wide range of options available. From using low capital investment smart phone applications that track your livestock to a capital-intensive automated combine. In principle, implementing Smart Farming technologies can be easily up scaled.

Blogs and companies such as Oxfarm provides farmers with information and helpful insights that farmers can rely on.

 

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Want To Become A Serious Farmer? Do These Things!

Conduct Market Survey

Most farmers rush into farming without validating the market capability of their particular crop. Growing any type of crop without a particular market in mind is suicidal. Funny enough most farmers do that.

Her in Kenya, farmers are worse, they have become a “me too” farmer. They certify what to grow by looking at their neighbors.  due to this kind of behavior, the market becomes saturated with similar goods.

the aftermath, is that competition starts to happen forcing the forces of economy to take place, that is the supply is more forcing the prices to come down.

No farmer want such a scenario. however, that’s what you will get if you fail to look for a market upfront. You’ll pay for the mistake by squeezing your margins dry. for you to be outstanding, start by approaching all probable market outlets about what you intend to grow and then choose an idea based on your results.

By so doing you will be able to know that what you intend to grow is what the market really needs.

What Is The Future Of Organic Farming

Make Sure you Go for the right crop

For you to optimize farm profitability, choose the right crop. In any market, the end users will demand for more than one commodity. As a farmer in such circumstances, you have a decision to make. Our stand therefore would be, choose the crop that has a higher market value.

This is so because the cost of production is almost same across many crops. For instance if you want to grow Macadamia, Hass avocado, Oranges or Mangoes, you will require land, same land preparation and same operation cost.

The difference among all these fruits is the market value. In our case it favors hass avocado in which case you should go for tomatoes.

Make Sure you plan well in Advance

They say if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. ignore planning at your own peril. No one can guarantee your success in farming but if you plan well you increase your chances of becoming successful.

Most farmers ignore this important factor and by so doing most of their ideas never see the light of the day. If you know and adhere to this, you have an advantage over the rest of the folks.

When you clearly take your time to write a detailed farm plan, you will definitely save yourself a lot of time and frustration trying to figure out what to do next.

Any farmer can’t afford the luxury of time. Given the perishable nature of most horticultural produce, you will have a problem if you lack a plan of action.

​​Diversify your ventures

Did you know that most successful people in Africa are also farmers. Not just farmers but in many avenues, for example, President Uhuru is a dairy farmer, a coffee farmer, cotton farmer, sisal farmer e.t.c,. Don’t just plant maize, diversify with other more profitable crops such as Macadamia, Avocados and dairy.

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

For instance if you are growing tree-tomato fruits, you could also intercrop them with other vegetables such as kales, spinach, pilipili hoho e.t.c,..

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

thorn melon farming in Kenya: Farmers smiling all the way to the bank

​​Be Patient and Stick to the Plan

Although farming is a good way of earning some income and having control, it’s not magic that you plant today and all over a sudden you become a millionaire.

I will tell you farming is not for fainthearted, its challenging and requires patience and resilience.

In farming there are several uncertainties, 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.

Ensure You Keep Clear And Traceable Records

Ensure your records are up-to date and accurate. Pay attention to details. Know where your money is generated and spent. Storing receipts in a shoe box and waiting to post figures at the end of the year is not a recommended record keeping system.

Good records will help you to evaluate your cash flow as well as project the profitability of your venture.

Having said all that, success in farming depends solely on you. what we have told you combined with what you know can give you massive profits, work towards your destiny.

 

 

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How To Make Your Own Success Story In Farming

Hass Avocado farming

Each and every farmer in Kenya has a dream and especially the small-scale farms which are the backbone of Kenyan economy. Here in Kenya, you must develop and answer some few questions honestly before you start your success journey. Follow the following tips and you might just be one of the most successful farmer in Kenya.

Value Your Customers

In any business, customers are the most valuable resource. Know what your customer needs and wants. Truly care about the customer’s health, well-being and satisfaction. Everyone deserves fair and honest treatment. Today’s trends focus on healthy, local and good tasting food. Provide the customers with high value products, service and experiences. A high quality product brings the customer back.

oxfarm.co.ke/tree-fruits/tree-tomato-farming/importance-of-value-addition/

Be Resourceful

You need to think out of the box and use what you already have. You do not have to be large or have all new equipment. Identify what you might have as assets like your location, soil and farm buildings. Also, inventory your skills, ability and passion. Your farming venture needs to make economical sense. It needs to make a profit for you  and it needs to be a value for your customer. This requires a well thought-out business plan.

Believe in Diversification

Some people argue that it is not wise to put all your eggs in one basket and we believe so. The world and eating trends are changing day in day out. Demand and supply can cause feast and famine. Multiple income sources can guard against weather issues, changing trends and challenging competition.

Dream your dreams

This is very important. Farming is not as easy as people think, you have to be patient and consistent. Formulate a vision and develop goals. Put a plan in place and evaluate your progress. Make adjustments as needed

 

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How the Hass Avocado dominated the Universe

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

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

How Is The Global Demand For Hass Avocado

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

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

How did Hass come to Dominate the World

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

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

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

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

Lucrative Passion-Fruit Farming In Kenya

Advantages Over Other Varieties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kiwi-Fruit Farming: New Money Maker for Farmers

More Research Required

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source (Brian Handwerk , smithsonian.com )

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

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

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

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

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

Influential Kenyans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small-Scale farmers in Kenya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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How Demonstration Farms Can Revive Farming in Kenya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where Does Demonstration farms Work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

State of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

What Should be Done

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

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

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

 

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How Can Kenya Boost Agricultural Productivity?

How to boost productivity

Many countries have successfully developed after shifting resources from agriculture to manufacturing. Countries in East Asia and the Pacific witnessed a revolution in the 90’s but Kenya and Africa in general missed out and has overtime lacked progress in agricultural productivity which can be blamed for holding back the region’s overall economic growth.

So what can be done to boost Kenyan agricultural productivity? below are eight factors that are drawn from transforming Kenya’s agriculture to improve competitiveness.

Grow High-yield Crops

Kenya requires increased research into plant breeding, taking into consideration the unique Kenyan soils. If money is put in good use in this segment, according to world bank, 1ksh is capable of yielding Ksh 6 in terms of benefits.

Improve Irrigation

With the growing effects of climate change on weather patterns, more irrigation will be needed. Average yields in irrigated farms are 90% higher than those of nearby rain-fed farms.

Increase the use of Organic fertilizers

As soil fertility deteriorates, organic fertilizer use must increase. Governments need to ensure the right type of fertilizers are available at the right price, and at the right times. Fertilizer education lessens the environmental impact and an analysis of such training programs in East Africa found they boosted average incomes by 61%.

Enhance Regulations, Market Access and Governance

Improving rural infrastructure such as roads is crucial to raising productivity through reductions in shipping costs and the loss of perishable produce. Meanwhile, providing better incentives to farmers, including reductions in food subsidies, could raise agricultural output by nearly 5%. In recent times Kenyan government has had a tussle with maize farmers where the government insisted on buying a 90 Kg bag of maize at Ksh 2300 but the farmers wanted more. Eventually the government increased the amount up to Ksh 2500. Such fights with farmers will only deteriorate and make things worse as farmers will get tired of farming if the market is harsh for them.

State of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

Use of IT

Information technology can support better crop, fertilizer and pesticide selection. It also improves land and water management, provides access to weather information, and connects farmers to sources of credit. Simply giving farmers information about crop prices in different markets has increased their bargaining power.

Reform land ownership

Africa has the highest area of arable uncultivated land in the world (202 million hectares) yet most farms occupy less than 2 hectares. This results from poor land governance and ownership. Land reform has had mixed results on the African continent but changes that clearly define property rights, ensure the security of land tenure, and enable land to be used as collateral will be necessary if many African nations are to realize potential productivity gains. In Pastoralists counties such as Kajiado and Narok, land is owned by communities but recently some individuals have been grabbing it and making it theirs with no development. government should come up with policies that can help the common man.

Significance of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

Intensify integration into Agricultural Value Chains

Driven partly by the growth of international supermarket chains, Kenyan economy has progressively diversified from traditional cash crops into fruits, vegetables, fish, and flowers. However, lack of access to finance and poor infrastructure have slowed progress. Government support, crucial to coordinate the integration of smallholder farmers into larger cooperatives and groups, may be needed in other areas that aid integration with wider markets.

If the government, NGO’s, all agriculture stakeholders come together and do the above, we might reap as a country and as a continent. At Oxfarm we have been educating the public on the best farming methods and how to access the market, we expect the government to provide a fair and a good working environment for farmers.

 

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How To Make Farming in Kenya Profitable And Productive

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

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

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

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

Profitable pig farming in Kenya

Basic Policy Action

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Potato farming tips for beginners in Kenya

Potatoes are one of the staple foods in Kenya and some other African countries just like maize and it yields profits as well, though venturing into potato farming might be easier for those already in agriculture but for beginners it may not be the same because there should be a basic knowledge of what seasons and soil is best for its cultivation, how they are planted and the variety to go for.

Nyandarua County is the leading producer of Irish potato in Kenya. However, in other areas in Kenya, though potato is a high end product, potato farming isn’t practiced as much. According to 2018 statistics on  potato farming, farmers are able to make good money when they decide to produce potato commercially. Last year we witnessed lee production of potatoes which made a bag of 90kg to skyrocket. It is estimated that potatoes business exchange more than ksh. 50 billion in a single year.

Reasons Why Hass Avocado is Preferred over other Varieties

The below tips which guide anyone that aspires to go into potato farming with the basic steps he or she requires.

  • In starting this kind of business, you should know that though potatoes can grow well in many soil types that there those considered as the “best soil” type for effective cultivation of potatoes (soils that drains well),so it might be wise to inquire from other local farmers to know what kind you will be going for and the soil that best fits the species of potatoes available in your location. The soil type will also help you in selecting the best farm suitable for its cultivation.
  • Know the right time (season) for the kind of potatoes (sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes etc.,) you want to farm, though potatoes can grow well anytime, to plant it in the right season makes it yields better and also it will help to prevent or minimize the diseases that affect potatoes farming. Potatoes grow well during the rainy season but that doesn’t mean it can’t still grow in other seasons if there is a proper irrigation system available. The irrigation system is mostly used in the northern part of Kenya because of their low rainfall.
  • The startup capital in this kind of farming is really not much as expected once the land has been acquired except you are going into intensive farming that will require lots of farming machinery and equipment for the farming activities. So while going into potatoes farming just as any other kind of agricultural production, make sure you have an adequate amount of money that will sustain you till you start harvesting, and making a profit from the product sales.

Significance of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

  • Prior to the time of planting, make sure that you have already cleared the land and prepare it for the planting season; also make sure that you buy the right potatoes spud or seed potatoes for the kind of potatoes you want to grow. Buying the right seed will help you buy the suitable fertilizer as well as other weed and insect control chemicals needed such as insecticides and herbicides.
  • Knowing about all these, without having a basic knowledge on how potatoes are being cultivated is a big flop because planting wrongly will make all your struggles to be in vain as you will end up gaining eventually nothing. So while you are making all these plans make sure you know how to plant potatoes as they are grown best when in rows, this also includes the inches deep and wide, how to cut off the stems, when it harvest is to be due and lots more.

Potatoes farming yield profit in Kenya much than expected, but every farmer of such food crops should be on the lookout because they are easily affected by pests and other fungal diseases which might reduce its yield, but will the appropriate and basic steps as mentioned above, the profit made after sales will be as many times over than the starting capital.

In potato farming, success is almost guaranteed but you must pay attention and work hard.

 

 

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How to start Kienyeji chicken farming for eggs/chicks production

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

Introduction to Poultry Production

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

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

Constraints in poultry production include:

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

Systems of Management in Poultry Production

  • Free range
  • Semi-intensive
  • Intensive

Housing

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

Management of chicks

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

Physical features of a good Kienyeji layer chicken

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

Cost and returns of establishing successful dairy farm

Advantages in choosing Kienyeji chickens for farming

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

Limitations in choosing Kienyeji chickens for farming

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

How to Improving the production of Kienyeji chickens

Control of parasites and diseases

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

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 Feeding Kienyeji Chickens

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

The following should be done in rearing Kienyeji chickens:

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

Precautions to take during egg storage

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

Incubation by mother hens

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

 General Disease Control Practices

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

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

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

Signs of ill health

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

Record keeping

Records to keep include:

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