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Why You Should Buy Your Seedling From Certified Nursery Operators

nursery mkulima wa nyeri farm

The fruit tree nursery certification scheme implemented by the Kenya Ministry of Agriculture has been promoted to enhance the supply of high quality fruit tree planting materials and reduce the number of dubious seedling market players. Inquire if your seller is a certified nursery operator under KEPHIS.

With the extensive reforestation efforts by the public and private sectors to cope with increasing fruit demands and address shortages of timber supply in Kenya  there is a strong increased in demand for seedlings of fruit and timber tree species.

A major disadvantage of not being a certified nursery operator is the fact that those nursery operators are barred from bidding for county government procurement contracts. Nursery operators in Mt Kenya region have stated that accreditation has resulted in increased sales because they have been able to participate in county government contracts that procure fruit seedlings in mass quantities (especially hass avocados and macadamia). A major advantage in the accreditation process is the prioritization of accredited nurseries in the seedling procurement of the region.

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

Mt Kenya Nursery operators states that the only disadvantage of being accredited is the pressure on maintaining quality standards. Buyers expect seedlings from accredited nurseries to be of superior health and the most suitable varieties. On the part of buyers this is advantageous because they are able to put pressure on the nursery operators to only produce and sell high quality planting materials. The advantages experienced by nursery operators and the pressures by private buyers on them as well as the governments’ policy to procure seedlings only from accredited nurseries are all factors that persuade the fruit tree nurseries to adhere to the nursery accreditation system.

Opportunities for Certified Nursery operators

Macadamia from Certified Nursery operator
Macadamia seedlings at Oxfarm

There are numerous opportunities for nursery operators who are accredited. One is the fact that their nurseries are posted and advertised by KEPHIS on their records which increases their reach to customers (government and private) who may want to buy seedlings from their nurseries.

Individuals and corporations who come to the KEPHIS for assistance on planting fruit trees are constantly referred to accredited fruit tree nurseries when seeking seedlings to buy, which also enhances the opportunities for accredited nurseries. Other opportunities such as scions and seedlings given for free or sold at minimal cost to nursery operators by government, were also given exclusively to accredited nursery operators.

keep bees if you want 100% production in Avocados

Views of Mt Kenya Nursery Operators

Mt Kenya Accredited nursery operators have the view that the government should enhance  the accreditation scheme through improving the market for their seedlings. One way to achieve this is through educating seedling buyers about the advantages of buying seedlings from accredited nurseries only because of quality assurance.

They also suggest that there be established a model nursery by government alongside KALRO that would promote learning and entice other nursery operators to join the accreditation scheme. Mr Dickson Kahuro, Mt Kenya nursery Operators chairman suggests that since they help in increasing forest cover and fighting non communicable diseases through fruit planting, there be increased support such as handing out planting materials, fertilizers and pesticides for free as ways to persuade nurseries to subject themselves for accreditation.

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Basic Characteristics of an agri-preneur

Agribusiness is important to global food supplies and developing economies. However, getting agricultural products from re-mote rural areas into larger markets has its challenges. These include a lack of intermediaries to develop relations between vendors, purchasers and contract systems. Other problems include inconsistent product quality and supply of products because of poor infrastructure. There is also competition in domestic markets from transnationals that can sell their products for less than domestic producers can. This is where an agri-preneur comes in; sees a problem and thinks of a solution.

What is agri-preneurship?

Agri-preneurship is a key factor for the survival of small-scale farming in an ever-changing and increasingly complex global economy. But what is agri-preneurship? How does it relate to small-scale farmers who operate on the edges of the economy?

Agri-preneurship is one way in which small-size farmers can confront issues such as under-employment and need for new jobs. Opportunities exist for farmers to create value-added agricultural products that are sold in local markets. For example, Oxfarm adds value to tree-tomato fruits to make juice and jam. Rural agri-preneurs can compete against larger corporations through a business cluster that controls significant quantities of local farm products.

Agri-preneurship motivations are important in understanding how the agri-preneur operates their business or defines success. Traditionally, the definition of an agri-preneur is an individual who starts a new business, cognizant of associated risks and ambiguities, for profit and growth. The agri-preneur takes advantage of opportunities and gathers resources, usually money, and other necessary non-monetary resources to turn their ideas into reality. Motivation for agri-preneurship, its meaning and measures of success differ among people, as well as countries, and by income level.

In addition, agri-agri-preneurship is tied to personal identity. Each agri-preneur seeks to legitimize their identity through business activities and thus their goals reflect the environment and social norms. For example, an agri-preneur in a developing country may view success as the ability to support oneself and one’s family. In contrast, another agri-agri-preneur may be competitive, seeking to be the largest and best in order to reach their goal to be a profitable self-supporting business, independent of others.

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

Agri-preneurship dynamics

Successful agri-prenuers in Kenya are highly knowledgeable, contacts with various people, innovates and adopts improved practices in agribusiness. However, there are many challenges that these farmers face: social barriers, economic barriers, regulations, access to finance and information, and their own managerial capacity to cope with risks and changes and to seize opportunities.

 Characteristics of an agri-preneur

  • An agricultural agri-preneur should be able to think purposefully in terms of farm activities. This is perhaps, the hardest task most farm agri-preneurs face. Most of the farm people find it easy to do, to act, to perform. Most farm people have difficulty, however, in thinking clearly about farm development. An Agricultural agri-preneur must be able to think.
  • An agri-preneur should be able to express himself clearly. The best conceived idea is worthless, unless it can be communicated. An Agricultural agri-preneur must communicate to farm laborer effectively.
  • An, agri-preneur in the farm sector must possess competence in farm operations. This does not mean that he must be a technician. But rather, he should possess the technical competence necessary in his field to enable him to manage the farm effectively.
  • Farm entrepreneur should possess the ability to think broadly. He should be able to see the overall, not miss the forest because of the tree. Broad comprehension is necessary so that he can see the effect of each proposed action on the whole of the farm activities.
  • An agri-preneur must know the actions and reactions of different farm people engaged by him in his farm or in the hired farm which he is managing, and he should have the tact, intelligence, foresight, etc., to channelize such actions and reactions for greater interest of farm activities in which he is engaged.
  • Agri-preneurs must take appropriate decisions with regard to farm activities from its very first stage till the last stage and he should know how to coordinate various stages of farm operations so that new result is encouraging.
  • He should know how to get various facilities extended by the government, semi-government and: other departments, institutions and organizations in time and in right quantity. This is a quality he must have to have for being successful in his farm activities.
  • He should also be able to think how his land can be used in the best possible way through multiple-cropping or double cropping and to make proper arrangements so that he gets maximum prices for his farm products. Production and marketing of farm products should be well coordinated.
  • He should be able to maintain daily records of the …..costs including depreciation costs of his farm activities and should make all possible efforts to reduce costs to the minimum and to have maximum return after selling his farm products. There should be a detailed costs and revenue accounts of his farm.
  • He should be able to think the feasibility of starting an agro-industrial activity to supplement his farm income. He should also see how he can earn more through subsidiary occupations.
  • He should work in such a way that he can minimize jealousy, rivalry etc. Among his neighbors so that his farm operations are least disturbed.
  • He should be tactful enough to avoid political pressure, if any, to influence his farm decisions.
  • He should foresee vested interests to disturb his farm activities beforehand so that he can take appropriate steps at the right time to minimize such influences, if any.
  • He should be dynamic. This is a trait that is characteristic of leaders and is essentially needed in a changing economy. This trait is a desire to move ahead, to change, to break new trails, to do bigger and better things. It is not an obvious personality trait. It is not a high-pressure personality. In fact, it may not even show on the surface. But it is desirable and usually spells the difference between passive agri-preneur and dynamic agri-preneur.
  • He should possess skill in human relations in the farm sector and have insight into human motivation and behavior, this enables him to lead, not drive, his farm workers.

Read: Ksh 2000 for an Apple? Here are the most expensive fruits in the world

In the process of farming the farm agri-preneur will require to decide on the best size of his enterprise, the storage facilities needed, and the amount of credit required to implement the production plan. Similarly, the methods for land preparation, planting, weeding, irrigation, fertilization of land, controlling pests and diseases, harvesting, threshing and cleaning of produce need to be decided in advance. Decisions on all these issues are vital as they very much influence the productivity of an individual farm. Nevertheless, a serious obstacle is to be found in the shape of imparting appropriate training, to farmers in order to make them capable of taking decisions of various types, so that the farmer of tomorrow may also become a good agri-preneur.

 

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How To Start A Lucrative Fruit and Vegetable Farming Business In Kenya

Kenya has a vast abundance of land, resources, and climate variations that allows it to produce different varieties of food and cash crops in its agricultural sector. This industry goes on to employ up to 70% of the Kenyan workforce, while contributing about 80% of the country’s GDP.

In the light of the economic output agriculture contributes to the economies of various African nations, the widespread demand and consumption of fruit and vegetable products in fast growing urban and rural areas has made fruit and vegetable farming in Kenya or Africa a lucrative agribusiness to venture into.

This opportunity is driving knowledgeable farmers living in Kenya to take advantage of the fast-growing market by either expanding their fruit and vegetable farms or to setup fruit and vegetable farms as one of their agribusiness subsidiaries.

What Is Fruit Farming About?

Fruit and vegetable farming is the cultivation of fruits and vegetables for human consumption. They can be grown by planting them in hanging baskets and window boxes or sown into dry or moist ground, and are widely consumed in many places around the world.

Facts and Benefits of Fruit Farming

Fruits and vegetables are one the world’s most popular source of food.

  1. China is the world’s largest producer of vegetable crops.
  2. fruits and vegetable farming is a great source of employment.
  3. Some fruits like tomatoes are very high in the carotenoid Lycopene. This means that eating them can lower your risk of cancer.
  4. A large amount of the nutrients in potatoes are just below the skin layer.
  5. Most vegetables don’t have to be stored in a fridge, but should be kept dark and dry.
  6. The Green-Yellow-Orange vegetables are rich sources of vitamin B-complex, vitamin-C, vitamin-A, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and beta-carotene.
  7. Fruits and vegetables are nutritious no matter their variant.
  8. Fruits and vegetables have a lot of fiber.
  9. Some fruits and vegetables contain toxins.
  10. Apples give an average human more energy than coffee.
  11. Tomatoes are botanically fruits because they have seeds.
  12. The skins of most fruits and vegetables are the most nutritious, and so, are better than the actual fruit.
  13. Orange peels are healthy because they contain a lot of fiber.

Business Opportunities in Fruit and Vegetable Farming

1). A Great Source of Food:

Fruits and vegetables have been feeding both humans and animals as far back as history has recorded. They’re highly nutritious and can serve as emergency meals in situations where cooking certain meals may take a long time to complete.

Some commonly consumed fruits include:

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Mangoes
  • Strawberries
  • Avocado
  • Tomatoes
  • Water Melons
  • Paw Paws

2). Consumer Goods:

Asides just serving as a great source of food, fruits and vegetables are also used in the production of consumer goods like hair dye, olive oil, jam, foot rub, and metal polish.

 

Setting Up Your Fruit and Vegetable Farming Business

1). Select the Fruit And/or Vegetable Crop You Intend to Cultivate:

The first step in starting a fruit and vegetable farming business is to decide what type of fruits or vegetables you intend to grow. As earlier stated, there are vast numbers of fruits and vegetables to choose from, and picking the right one or set is critical to growing a successful fruit and vegetable farm.

Some questions to ask yourself in your decision-making process are:

  • How resistant is this crop to pests and diseases?
  • Is there a large demand for this crop?
  • What are the risks of growing this crop?
  • Where and how will the fruits and vegetables be sold?
  • What volume of this crop should I first produce?

When you’ve answered the questions to the best of your knowledge and are satisfied with the preliminary results your fruit or vegetable crop of choice may fetch you, you can go ahead to start a fruit or vegetable farming business in that regard.

2). Choose A Suitable Farmland:

Depending on the type of fruit and/or vegetable crop you’ve decided to plant, you should choose a farmland that’d work perfectly for it. Some factors to consider in choosing a farmland include:

  • Access to sunlight
  • Topography
  • Demographic
  • Availability of water
  • Soil type

Every fruit and/or vegetable crop has the best type of soil or conditions in which it can grow, and your second job as a farmer is to choose the best farmland that’s suitable for the fruits and vegetables you’ve decided to grow.

3). Apply Manure and Start Planting:

Mix a soilless mix and a balanced manure that contains equal percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium with the soil. Soilless mixes are sterile and will help rid the soil of weed and diseases, and provide great drainage for the vegetables.

Next, separate each vegetable per container and plant the seeds at the correct depth. Also ensure there’s enough spacing between the plants.

4). Irrigate

Water the plants carefully, at least once a day to keep the soil moist, and re-fertilize the soil when the plants begin to grow.

5). Harvest & Market:

After a couple of months, depending on which type of fruit and vegetable farming business you ventured into, the next step is to harvest your crops, keep them in optimal storage locations, and sell them through your supply chain network.

Challenges of Fruit and Vegetable Farming

Some of the challenges of fruit and vegetable farming in Kenya and many parts of Africa include:

1). Lack of experience

2). Land tenure insecurity

3). Low and unstable investment in agricultural research

4). Financial Constraints:

  • High interest rates.
  • Inaccessible credit due to tough conditions.
  • Expensive for manually irrigated and controlled environment.

5). Storage Constraints:

  • Poor storage methods.
  • Lack of post-harvesting preservation skills.
  • Theft.

6). Farm Inputs Constraints:

  • High prices of farm inputs.
  • Choice of variety to use.

7). Infrastructural Constraints:

  • Inaccessible roads.
  • Poor market facilities.

8). Marketing Constraints:

  • Price fluctuation.
  • Presence of middlemen.
  • Competition.

 

Fruit and vegetable farming in Kenya or Africa, is one agricultural sector with a lot of highly profitable sub-sectors. Whether you choose to focus on growing a fruit or vegetable, there’s an abundant market for the products, both locally in the country and for exportation to many parts of the world.

Book your seedlings today.

 

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Agri-business in Kenya: Fighting Poverty and Hunger

Kenya is witnessing a quiet revolution which holds out real hope of banishing poverty and hunger and driving economic growth through Agri-business.

This transformation is not in sectors like oil and gas, minerals or tourism, which grab global headlines, but in Agri-Business, which remains the backbone of the continent’s economy.

Agri-Business Is the Major Sector in Kenya

Despite the rapid growth in the services sector, Agri-Business still accounts for more than a third of its GDP. Kenya is urbanizing rapidly, but Agri-Business still employs two-thirds of the workforce. Evidence has shown that growth in Agri-Business is up to 11 times more effective in reducing poverty than growth in any other sector. If we want to end poverty and hunger in Kenya by 2030, Agri-Business needs to be right at the heart of the strategy.

Kenyan Agri-Business and small-scale farmers have too often been forgotten. The result is that Africa, despite the hard work of its farmers, does not grow enough to feed its own people. One in four of the continent’s population is undernourished, a huge barrier to better health and development. There is a direct economic cost, too, with $35bn spent on importing food annually – a figure which could almost triple by 2025 unless Africa increases agricultural productivity.

Related Content: Why Hass Avocado is the new Cash Crop

How to Fight Hunger and Poverty Through Agri-Business

Agri-business is the only way of maximizing profits
A passion fruit Farm in North Rift

First, over the last decade, Agri-Business has received growing attention from governments and investors. For example, through African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) – a forum which Koffi Annan helped launch a decade ago – $30bn worth of political, financial and policy pledges were made; the largest-ever commitment to the continent’s Agri-Business. This was a turning point. Now, Africa is taking steps to turn these pledges into results. At 2016 AGRF in early September, there were signing of many agro-business deals amounting to more than $6bn.

Second, smallholder agri-business farmers are becoming recognized for the small businesses they are. Initiatives like the Farm to Market Alliance, which help smallholder farmers secure long-term buyers for their produce, are gaining momentum. This gives them the confidence to invest and grow their businesses knowing they have a market when they harvest.

Third, Africa is changing the way it works together. New partnerships are emerging, like the recently launched, multimillion-dollar Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA). It aims to increasing incomes and improve the food security of 30 million smallholder farm households across Africa by 2021. It is the first time Africa has seen some of the largest funders of agricultural development pooling their resources and efforts towards a common goal. This represents a new way of doing business. Though supporting small-scale farmers, Africa can free itself from hunger.

Fourth, with climate change threatening food production as never, Africa is prioritizing efforts to help farmers adapt. By embracing, for example, solutions such as drought and heat-tolerant crops, modern weather information systems, and efficient irrigation systems, farmers can cope with the changing weather conditions.

Fifth, Africa is putting a much bigger emphasis on the quality of its diets, rather than just focusing on quantity. In sub-Saharan Africa, millions lack the nutrients needed for proper health and development. One of the ways we are tackling malnutrition is by making crops more nutritious.

Africa Taking Control Through Agri-Business

These signs of progress rarely make the global headlines, but they are slowly and surely transforming economies and improving lives of millions across the continent. Africa is taking control of its own agricultural transformation. This is essential if the continent is to ensure African farmers and companies enjoy the full benefits of its growing food market, which is projected to be worth $1 trillion by 2030.

In the end, this progress will only continue if Africa focus on Agri-Business as its path to prosperity, monitor its progress and hold itself to account.

We shall reap what we sow. By supporting Kenya’s smallholder farmers, we can build a Kenya free from hunger. We can build an Africa free from poverty. We can build an Africa proud to be economically strong and able to feed itself. That is the bountiful harvest that together we can and must achieve.

For better fruit farming methods and seedlings, call us today or visit our offices.

By Koffi Annan