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Steps to follow when starting Organic Farming Business in Kenya

Below are a few tips that can help new startup farmers to successfully start an organic farming business in Kenya whereby this new agricultural business opportunities can create employment for thousands of Kenyan citizens.

Before the modern-day technology, agriculture was being done in an organic way which meant that whatever used in the Shamba be it fertilizers, pesticides etc. was natural and not genetically modified. This way agricultural produce gotten from organic farming had the essential nutrients and consumers didn’t have to worry about the effects it could cause.
Starting an organic farm in Kenya is applicable to every farmer, you can start new with this farming practice and for those already into farming you can gradually make a switch.

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How to Start Organic Farming in Kenya

  • First of all, you have to understand what an organic farm is, it is actually nothing of the ordinary just that you are being restricted to some certain things which you have to strictly adhere in your farming practice. Organic farming is an alternative agricultural system used in the production of both livestock and crops which do not in any way encourage or involve the use genetically modified organisms, fertilizers, growth hormones and even antibiotics in order to keep the crop and the soil in a healthy condition always.
  • Decide on what kind of farming or agriculture you want to engage in, make sure you have gained enough capital and knowledge so that you can be able to understand the challenges you can encounter, how to avert it and manage the farming operation very well.
  • Get a suitable land depending on the kind of farming business you choose, make sure that the land has a suitable soil for cultivation and sizeable enough for your farming needs. Check the pH value to make sure it’s normal and as well prepare the land using organic manure if the soil composition is not okay.
  • Before commencing this kind of farming business practice, there is something you must do, which is, you have to identify yourself with the right agency or organization that is responsible for certifying organic farmers in Kenya, you can get the right information from them and they will also help you to understand the farming practice and make sure that you adhere to their requirement and rule.
  • Identify with the Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Kenya which was formerly Kenyan Organic Agriculture Network, they create awareness on the benefits of organic farming and its practice.
  • Get the right seedling specifically from farms which encourage or practices organic farming, remember you should not use genetically modified seeds, therefore to make sure you get the right one you can also request of that from the necessary organization as mention above which will gladly help you in procuring the right organic seedlings.
  • Consider how to make your own manure, natural pest, insect and weed control, how to make animal feeds etc., depending on your agricultural practice which will help to reduce the cost which might be incurred in purchasing them. It is very likely that you cannot produce all the feeds, etc., as there are ones which have been done by professionals in the field which includes their medications and vaccines, so why you purchase their essential needs do the best you can to complement the ones you buy.

This kind of farming practice has so many advantages such as being environmental friendly, no worries of harmful effects from chemicals, improve the soil and more but it is pricey because you have to source for natural alternative of whatever you are looking for but yet people do still prefer organic foods and highly sought after it regardless of its price because of its health benefits.

For more information on the best organic fertilizers to use, contact us.

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10 Reasons Why You Should Grow Your Crops Organically

There is nothing like biting into a fresh ripe apple plucked your Shamba. This is just one of the pleasures you can enjoy when you grow your own crops. There was a time when people didn’t give much thought about the foods they buy in the grocery stores. Food safety is one of the main reasons for growing more of our own organic foods, but there are so many other reasons too. Here are the top 10 reasons to grow your own organic crops:

Superior Flavor

There is nothing like biting into a fresh ripe tomato or snacking on string beans plucked from the vine as you putter through the garden.

Many of the varieties of fruits and vegetables sold in grocery stores are adapted for commercial farming. Through selecting and breeding specific traits, these strains are developed to produce more per plant, be ready for harvesting all at once, have a longer shelf life, be uniform size and shape, ship without bruising, and often times finish ripening on trucks during shipping. Even when you purchase organic vegetables, this breeding can compromise flavor. The taste and texture of a grocery store tomato cannot compare to one that is freshly picked from a plant growing in your own garden.

Read: How To Establish An Arrow Root Farm

More Variety

Growing from quality transplants from your local nursery or starting your own seedlings under lights allows you to select from so many different varieties that offer greater flavor and texture than what is available in the grocery stores. You can choose from hundreds of varieties based on flavor, shape, and color. When you grow your own, you can select varieties that are adapted to your growing area or mature in a short period.

No Chemicals

You control the growing environment of your garden. There is no need for chemicals and pesticides in your backyard garden. If you have problems with disease or pests, there is usually an organic remedy to solve it. In worst-case scenarios, you simply chalk that particular crop up to a loss, pull the plants, and plant something else in its place.

These are some of the easiest garden vegetables to grow in your own backyard garden without using pesticides.

Food Safety

Growing and harvesting food from your backyard garden ensures you know where your food came from. I cringe every single time I hear about a food-borne illness on the news and there have been many since my eye-opening experience back in 2006.

Healthier Eating

Tending to your garden and growing your own food will teach you to eat in season when flavors and nutrients are at peak. When you have a lot of harvests to use up, you tend to eat more vegetables and think of creative ways to prepare them so nothing goes to waste. Since they are harvested fresh, the natural flavors of the vegetables shine and do not need additional oils, salt, or other additives to make them taste good.

Fruits and vegetables that ripen naturally in the garden and are consumed within days of harvest have more nutrients than store-bought vegetables. Most of the vegetables that line the grocery store produce section are picked early, shipped to warehouses, distributed to the stores, and stay in storage or on the shelf for a while until you purchase them. Over time, the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables declines. Not only do freshly picked fruits and vegetables taste better, but they also have a higher nutritional value.

Read: Success on bee keeping this is what you need to know

Outdoor Exercise

During the growing season, gardening gets you out in the fresh air and sunshine regularly. There are a lot of different movements in gardening that require strength or stretching. Digging, planting, weeding, and other repetitive tasks are excellent forms of low-impact exercise.

Did you know that 45 minutes of farming burns the same amount of calories as running 1.5 miles in 15 minutes? Regular physical activity can help you feel better and improve your well-being because it relieves stress, boosts energy and releases tension.

Reduction in Food Waste

None of the fruits and vegetables harvested on our property go to waste. We make every effort to eat or preserve all the food harvested from the garden. Whatever scraps or trimmings we don’t consume is either fed to our hens or added to the compost bin to be returned to the garden again as nutrients. We also give away excess harvests if we are unable to use it.

Saves Money at the Grocery Store

Many will challenge that gardening saves money. When the garden bug hits, it is easy to find yourself purchasing cute pots, plant stakes, and gardening gadgets on the market. If you stick to the basics, gardening really doesn’t cost much in supplies in comparison to the amount of food it produces.

Even if you grow a small garden for fresh eating, you will save money. For example, a package of organic kale greens cost at least Ksh10 at my local grocery store and is usually only enough for a few servings. If you grow your own from a package of good-quality organic seeds, it costs half that and produces for a longer period of time yielding about 6 Kilos of greens.

Food Security

The World Health Organization states that food security is achieved when “all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.”

Growing your own food garden contributes to your food security by providing direct access to food that can be harvested, prepared and fed to your family daily during the growing season. If you learn how to preserve your harvest, you will be able to stock your Pantry and feed your family even when the growing season is over.

Sense of Pride

Planting a seed, watching it sprout and grow to produce food for you, and your family is one of the most gratifying feelings. Sure, many of us work hard to earn a living and provide for our family, but the close association of this simple effort and direct reward is fulfilling.

I love the feeling of pride as I look over a meal I prepared with vegetables from my garden. I revel in the sensation of accomplishment as I stock with potatoes, onions, garlic, other storage crops.

Also Read: 7 Requirements Of Successful Bee Farming, Number 3 Is The Most Important

 

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ONE ACRE INVESTMENT UNDER PAW PAW FARMING

Scientific name: Carica papaya

Local names:

English: Pawpaw; Swahili: papaya. Pawpaw is a widely cultivated fruit tree in the tropics and subtropics. General Benefits of Pawpaw Ripe papaya is a favorite breakfast and dessert fruit that is available year-round.

It can be used to make fruit salads, refreshing drinks, jam, jelly, marmalade, candies and crystallized fruits. Green fruits are pickled or cooked as a vegetable.

Suitable Growth Condition

Papaya thrives in warm areas with adequate rainfall and a temperature range of 21-33°C. Its altitude range is similar to that of the banana, from sea level to elevations at which frosts occur (often around 1600 m). However they grow best in areas below 1000 m.

The quality and yield are low at higher altitudes. Frost can kill the plant, and cool and overcast weather delays fruit ripening and depresses fruit quality. Fruit tastes much better when grown during a warm sunny season. Evenly distributed annual rainfall of 1200 mm is sufficient if water conservation practices are employed.

Papaya grows best in light, well-drained soils rich in organic matter with soil pH of 6.0-6.5. It can tolerate any kind of soil provided it is well-drained and not too dry. The roots are very sensitive to water logging and even short periods of flooding can kill the plants.

 

RELATED: Why Africa offers growing opportunities for agricultural products

 

PLANTING

Papaya is propagated by seed. To reproduce the desired characteristics it is best to get seeds through controlled pollination. Use of sterilized soil minimizes losses resulting from nematodes and damping-off fungi. Germination takes 2-3 weeks.

Another practice is to sow the seeds in sterilized nursery beds and to prick out at the 2-3-leaf stage, transferring 3-4 seedlings to each container. Seedlings are transplanted about 2 months after sowing when they reach the 3-4-leaf stage or 20 cm height, preferably at the onset of the rainy season.

During transplanting, take care not to disturb the roots. Older seedlings recover poorly after planting out. Papaya needs adequate drainage and is often planted on mounds or ridges. Transplants must be watered regularly until they are established. Field spacing are in the order of 3 x 2 m to 2.50 x 1.60 m, giving densities of 1667 and 2500 plants/ha respectively.

Thinning to one female or one hermaphrodite plant per hill is done when the plants reach the flowering stage. In the absence of hermaphrodite plants, 1 male plant per 25 – 100 female plants is retained as pollinator.

Papaya plants grown from seed produce fruits of different shapes, sizes, colour and even taste. Vegetative propagation of papaya provides a solution to most of these problems. The clone is selected for higher productivity and good quality fruits besides agronomic qualities such as dwarfness for easy harvesting and good resistance to diseases.

Planting holes of 2*2*2 ft are prepared with 1 bucket of compost and is mixed in with the dugout soil and returned around the plant. Firm the soil and water liberally and add mulch around the young plant.

The farmer can choose to grow the crops conventionally or do organic farming.

 

Inter cropping

Papaya grows best when planted in full sunlight. However, it can be planted as an inter crop under coconut, or as a cash crop between young fruit trees such as mango or citrus. Low growing annual crops such as capsicums, beans, onions and cabbages are suitable good inter crops.

Harvesting

The stage of physiological development at the time of harvest determines the flavor and taste of the ripened fruit. The fruit matures at 9 months after transplanting. The appearance of traces of yellow colour on the fruit indicates that it is ready for harvesting. Fruits harvested early have longer post-harvest life, but give abnormal taste and flavor. The fruits also tend to shrivel and suffer chilling injuries when refrigerated. The fruit is twisted until the stalk snaps off or cut with a sharp knife. Yields per tree vary from 75 to 150 fruits annually, giving 35 to 50 tons of fruit per ha per year. A papaya plantation can be productive for over 10 years but the economical period is only the first 3 to 4 years. It is therefore advisable to renew the plantation every 4 years.

 

COST AND RETURNS FROM ONE ACRE

Number of seedlings in one acre at a spacing of 6ft*9ft 800-900 plants.

For 800 plants.

Item description Unit cost (800) Total cost
Manure One bucket per hole @30 24000
Holes Digging, transport of manure to the hole, mixing and planting @30 24000
Seedlings Certified @50
Fertilizer N.P.K

C.A.N

@70

@70

800

1500

Pesticides Entire season 5000
Fungicides Entire season 5000
Water Entire season 20000
Management farm manager, (Weeding, splaying etc) @7000 for 9 months 63000
Misleneous 7000
TOTAL COST 150000
Return per year.
75 fruits per plant

150 fruits per plant

With 800 plants

With 800 plants

@30

@30

1.8 million

3.6 million