Posted on

Healthy benefits of Macadamia nuts

Macadamias are an underestimated nutrient-powerhouse. A rich source of essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, iron, B vitamins, and folate. They also have a little protein and pack a healthy dose of good fats and antioxidants.

Commonly featured in more indulgent desserts rather than thought of as an everyday health food, macadamias are often skipped for almonds and cashews for a daily snack. But these 10 fascinating health benefits of macadamias will show you why they’re worthy of a regular spot in your healthy nut rotation:

Helps To Keep Your Heart Healthy!

These nuts are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats which are said to be cardioprotective by reducing cholesterol level and help to clean the arteries. Macadamia also lowers the level of triglycerides, which is a kind of body fat and reduces the risk of coronary disease.

They Fight Free-Radical Damage Leading To Cancers

Another health benefit of macadamia comes from their high flavonoid content. Flavonoids, which are found naturally in these plants help to prevent cells from damage and protects from environmental toxins. These flavonoids convert into antioxidants in our body. These antioxidants search and destroy free radicals and protect our bodies from various diseases and certain types of cancer which include breast, cervical, lung, prostate and stomach cancer.

They Curb Your Appetite!

The fat content of macadamias helps to curb your appetite much longer than a sweet treat. Macadamias are also a source of palmitoleic acid which increases fat metabolism and reduces fat storage – bonus! You only need a few to feel satisfied as a snack, so despite their price, you won’t need many to get a hunger-busting, nutrient-rich fix.

They Strengthen Your Hair, Skin, And Nails

Macadamias are an excellent source of protein, calcium, potassium, dietary fiber and antioxidants. They are also very low in sodium. all of these factors make them a fabulous beauty food, giving your hair and nails a healthy sheen and your skin a nourished glow!

Supports Your Gut Health

That’s right, macadamias contain around 7% dietary fiber, and both the insoluble and soluble types, helping to not only promote satiety, but provide roughage sweeping toxins out of the body, and aiding digestion.

Strengthens Your Bones

Phosphorus and magnesium are abundant in macadamias, and play a variety of roles including bone and teeth mineralization, metabolism, absorption and transportation of nutrients. Calcium also helps in the formation of teeth and bones. Manganese in macadamias also help the body to deposit new bone tissue so that the skeleton stays strong as you age.

They Look After Your Brain And Nervous System

Macadamias contain copper, B1, magnesium, and manganese which helps to make healthy neurotransmitters, the chemicals which our brain cells use to send chemical signals, and nourish the brain. Copper also helps to ensure proper growth of the body, efficient utilization of iron, proper enzymatic reactions, as well as improved health of connective tissues, hair, and eyes!

They’re Lower In Inflammation-Causing Omega-6’s

Consuming too many omega-6 fatty acids in our diet can be a contributing factor to chronic inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a variety of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other life-threatening conditions. A handful of nuts a day, or a spread of nut butter in your smoothie is a great way to get added protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. But most nuts tend to be higher in omega-6 fats than omega-3s, which can tip our body into an inflammatory state if we don’t balance it out with omega-3s from other foods too. Macadamias, on the other hand, are much lower in omega-6s. For example, pecans contain 3.7g per 100g, almonds 3.4g, and cashews 2.2g compared to 0.36g macadamias.

The incidence of heart disease is significantly lower in people who eat nuts regularly (more than five times per week) than in those who eat nuts less than once a week. So why not include some of these nutritious macadamias and start reaping their benefits today!

Macadamia nuts are widely grown in central and upper eastern province in Kenya.

Overtime, the nuts have peaked momentum and they are now among the best selling nuts in the country. At Oxfarm Organic Ltd, we have the modern grafted Macadamia nuts that we sell to our farmers at an affordable price. Book Your Now!!!

Posted on

How to improve your fruit harvest

Growing your own fruit means that you can enjoy the pick of delicious varieties fresh from the tree or bush, turn them into pies, jellies and jams or store for future use. And you don’t need a lot of space, either – in small gardens, you can grow fruit as cordons or trained trees. You can also grow fruit in containers.

With a little care throughout the year, you can enjoy the best possible harvests – here’s how.

Plant at least two fruit trees

Plant at least two fruit trees so that they can cross pollinate. Where space is limited, choose self-pollinating varieties that fruit on their own, or try family trees with several varieties grafted onto a single trunk.

Protect blossom

Protect blossom from frost if possible, by covering with fleece. Remove the covers by midday so that pollinating insects can get in, then recover at night.

Mulch

Mulch around the base of plants with well-rotted organic matter in autumn, to lock in nutrients and water into the soil, and suppress weeds. Use pine needles around berries as they create the acidic conditions they love. Scatter slow-release fertiliser, such as chicken manure, each spring onto moist soil.

Water regularly

Water new fruit plants regularly until they are established, and continue to water any plants in pots. Water all fruit plants when they have ripening fruit, but be careful not to over-water as this can lead to tasteless fruit and can leach nutrients from the soil.

Related Post: drip irrigation in fruits

Pick off fruits

Pick off baby fruits from newly planted fruit trees in their first season. It takes willpower, but it allows the tree to concentrate on establishing well. Mature trees will drop fruits early in the season (called the ‘June drop’) but it’s a good idea to thin fruits growing too close together so that those remaining have room to mature.

Underplant with flowers

Underplant fruit with nectar-rich flowers such as nepeta, lavender or annual flower mixes to attract bees and other pollinating insects – they’ll pollinate your blossom at the same time.

Let fruit ripen fully

Let fruits ripen fully on the plant or tree, so that they have more time to build up nutrients. But pick them before they become overripe as they may rot and spread disease – and will attract wasps too.

For more information, visit our offices, and book your seedlings early enough.

 

 

Posted on

Hass Avocado farmers reap big in Muranga

This year hass avocado farmers have shared Sh20 million as their annual bonus following direct contact with a processor. Through negotiations by the Muranga county government and multi-national Kakuzi Ltd, 3,000 farmers drawn from 60 co-operative societies delivered their quality fruits for processing.

In the past three years, avocado farmers have been benefiting with annual bonus from the processors depending on production, quality and size of the fruits. In 2014, the farmers, after they complained of exploitation by middlemen, made Governor Mwangi wa Iria to scout for a market before settling on Kakuzi and other players.

On Friday, 8th December Governor Wa-Iria witnessed the Kakuzi assistant general manager Paul Mbugua declaring the annual bonus to thousands of farmers drawn from four counties in the region. Quality fruits in the negotiated contract, the company buys a four-kilo carton of quality fruits at Sh420.  According to Mr. Mbugua, this year, production of avocado remained low due to prolonged drought that led to better payment in the international market. Payment is made to farmers a week after delivery at the factory in Makuyu. Farmers should employ strategies to increase production to supply the growing market locally and internationally.

Read Also: The benefits of certified fruit seedlings

Viability

Avocado fruit business is growing rapidly in Kenya with small-scale farmers reaping profits from this investment. It is viable with benefit-cost ratio>1 and affordable initial capital requirements. Demand projections for the consumption of Kenyan grown Hass avocado fruits locally and internationally is increasing due to its inherent characteristics and adherence to Organic production.

This agri-enterprise is ideal for Kenyan farmers and buyers finds them at their growing regions. The cost of production is low as it requires less labor, it is a perennial crop, resistant to diseases and pest which gives Kenyan farmers comparative advantage and well placed for organically grown Hass avocado.

The governor lauded the achievement following partnership between his administration and Kakuzi that has benefited the small-scale farmers who had been exploited by middlemen. Before 2013, our farmers were greatly exploited by brokers who bought an avocado at one shilling but presently they are reaping better payment.  Wa-Iria said that his administration will not entertain brokers who had been a threat.

As an agricultural organization, we work to enhance diverse seed access to our farming communities. For more information Contact our offices.

 

Posted on

Mango Farming in Kenya: The best way to do it

Mango Farming in Kenya needs time and patience. Oxfarm grafted mangoes take less time to mature.

Mango Farming in Kenya: Planting

Land should be ready by deep plowing followed by levelling with a mild slope. Spacing varies from 5m x 5m, within the dry zones where growth is in smaller amount, 8m x 8 m, in substantial downfall areas and rich soils where rich vegetative growth happens. New dwarf hybrids like Amrapali is planted at nearer spacing. Holes are stuffed with top soil mixed with 20-25 kilo well rotten mature.

One year previous healthy, straight growing grafted mangoes from Oxfarm is planted at the center of holes in conjunction with the ball of the intact soil throughout season in such a simplest way that the roots aren’t distended and the graft union is on top of the bottom level. Plants should be irrigated forthwith when planting. Within the initial one or 2 years, it’s better to produce some shade to the young plants and additionally stake to create them grow straight.

Mango farming in Kenya: Irrigation

Young plants are more opt for correct institution. Just in case of full-grown up trees, irrigation at ten to fifteen days interval from fruit set to maturity is useful for up yield. However, irrigation isn’t counseled for 2-3 months before flowering because it is probably going to market vegetative growth at the expense of flowering.

Mango Farming in Kenya: bury Cropping

Inter crops like vegetables, legumes, short length and dwarf fruit crops like papaya, guava, peach, shrub, etc. betting on the agro-climatic factors of the region is full-grown. The water and nutrient necessities of the bury crops should be met singly.

 

Mango farming in Kenya: harvest and yield

Mango faming in Kenya

The yield of mango varies greatly, relying upon the variability and agro-climatic conditions prevailing in an exceedingly region. Grafted mango trees begin bearing from the second year onward. However, phanerogam trees might take 5-8 years. At the beginning of bearing at the age of two – three years the yield is also as low as 10-20 fruits (2-3 kg) per tree, rising to 50-75 fruits (10-15 kg) within the succeeding years, and to regarding five hundred fruits (100 kg) in its tenth year. within the age group-20- forty years, a tree bears 1,000-3,000 fruits (200-600 kg) in a year. The productive age of a grafted fruit tree is sometimes 40-50 years, when that the yield declines.

 

Related Content: Why Hass Avocado is the new Cash Crop

 

Mango Farming in Kenya:  Post Harvest Management

 Storage

Shelf life of mangoes being short (2 to three weeks), they should be cooled as soon as they are attained to storage temperature of thirteen degree Celsius. Several varieties will stand up to storage temperature of ten degree Celsius. Steps concerned in post-harvest handling embody preparation, grading, washing, drying, waxing, packing, pre-cooling, palletization and transportation.

Mango Packaging

Mangoes are typically packed in furrowed fiber board boxes 40cm x 30cm x 20cm in size. Fruits are packed in single layer eight to twenty fruits per carton. The boxes should have decent variety of air holes (about V-day of the surface area) to allow sensible ventilation.

Banks in Kenya have additionally developed mango funding schemes in potential spaces for enlargement of area below mango. Individual mango development schemes with farm infrastructure facilities like well, pump set, fencing and drip irrigation system etc. have additionally been thought of.

Contact Oxfarm now and be advised on a way to best grow mangoes. In addition, book your mango seedlings now because the demand for mango seedlings is incredibly high and we would really like all our customers to have the primary priority.

 

Mango tree seedling

Posted on

Tree-tomato farming made easy in Kenya

For those of you who might not have the greenest of thumbs, here may be a good productive plant for you to start growing, tree-tomato. Learn more now!

The tree-tomato, typically referred to as the tamarillo, may be a member of tomato family, that additionally includes different staples like regular eggplants, capsicums and potatoes.

It isn’t all that acknowledged here in Kenya. However, if you raise a relative or friend from Central Kenya, they’ll presently need to be your best buddy after they hear you have got a tree that is roofed with these delicious fruits. Firstly, they originated from South and Central America. Tamarillos were introduced to Kenya by Asia back within the late 1800’s.

The Tree-tomato may be a quick growing, however short lived tiny tree, lasting solely five to seven years. However, fruit are often expected in eighteen months from planting. You don’t get a lot of quicker results than that once it involves perennial plants. For a longer-lived tree (approximately fifteen years) grow a grafted tree-tomato.

When planting tree-tomato, it’s vital to understand that they’re a shallow non-moving. Choosing for a sunny spot that has some protection against hot wind and smart clearing is crucial. If you reside in a frosty space that drops below -3ºC, think about putting a lightweight cowl over your tree in winter time. If there’s any injury to the soft fleshy growth, simply tip out these shoots and your tree can recover easily. Tamarillos may also be fully grown in giant pots. Expect your tree-tomato to induce roughly 2-3 metres tall and 1-2 meters wide. Lop seed plant fully grown plants at the 1m tall stage, as they have some encouragement to grow bushy.

Related post: What To Do To Tree-tomatoes Affected By Nematodes

Planting Stage Continue reading Tree-tomato farming made easy in Kenya

Posted on

Fruit grafting provides better varieties

Fruit grafting provides better varieties

Keen gardeners could already be at home with a farming technique referred to as grafting. For hundreds of years, orchardists, rosarians, nursery homeowners and different growers have used this method to form plants with improved malady resistance and strength, increased yields and distinctive physical forms, and to form fruit trees that bear multiple varieties on a similar tree.

Though there are many sorts of graft, in its simplest kind, graft attaches the shoot system (the scion) of 1 plant to the basis system (the rootstock) of a separate plant. The 2 are grafted along in a very straightforward procedure, and once the graft union has cured, the 2 plants grow joined.

Fruit grafting permits growers to mix the positive attributes of 2 varieties into one fruit tree. In most cases, the descendant and rootstock should be from a similar species (or, sometimes, a similar family) so as for them to be compatible and for the graft union to require. But, you’ll graft associate apricot with a fruit tree because they are within the same stone-fruit family.

Related Content: apple farming in Kenya: mitigating risks

How Fruit Grafting is Done

Avocado Fruit grafting

The technique of fruit grafting permits farmers to possess dwarf fruit trees (the dwarfing attribute is carried within the rootstock), apples that bear 5 varieties on a similar tree, and a “fruit cocktail tree” that grows many styles of fruit, every on its own branch.

The rootstock chosen for graft is usually chosen for the intensity or malady resistance of that individual selection. The shoot system, or scion, is chosen for flower color, fruit production or distinctive growth kind.

Grafting is kind of common among fruit and decorative trees, particularly those with distinctive or specialized forms. As an example, several weeping trees are created by graft a nodding shoot system onto a straight-trunked form of a similar plant, and a few maples is also grafted onto totally different rootstocks to enhance their winter strength.

One slightly newer means the technique of graft has found its means into our gardens is thru vegetables. Some seed catalogs carry grafted tomatoes, peppers, melons and different vegetables. Although these plants are commercially fully grown in different components of the globe for several years, they are just finding a direct the us.

Grafted fruits are created by choosing a great-tasting, heavy-yielding selection and graft it to a rootstock with improved malady and gadfly resistance, early maturity, drought tolerance, and/or vigorous growth. the thought is that these grafted plants can perform higher and turn out sooner than those fruits that are un-grafted.

Keep in mind, though, that graft is helpful just for the generation of plants on that it had been performed. The enhancements created through graft aren’t carried to ensuing generation via saved seeds or perhaps by taking cuttings of the plant. graft cannot lead to improved issue like purposeful plant breeding can; it’s just a noteworthy thanks to mix the positive attributes of 2 plants into one.

If you need any help towards in sourcing grafted seedlings, planting instructions and other technical advice, Visit our offices or contact us.

Posted on

AMAZING BENEFITS OF GRAPES

From being used in dishing out sinful desserts and refreshing fruit bowls to being renowned as the primary ingredient in the wine making process, it is not without reason that grapes are known as the queen of fruits. Classified under the family of berries, grapes come in different varieties as well as colours – green, red, blue, purple and black. While majority of the production of grapes in the world are used by the wine making industry, the remaining lot is consumed as fruits and a small portion is used in making dried fruits.

Tracing its roots, it is said that grapes were first domestically cultivated in the Middle East, where it soon became popular when the city of Shiraz started using it to make wine. Eventually, other countries also started growing it and using it in the wine making process.

grapes farming
Grapes farming

Grapes are easily available in the markets throughout the year. The vine containing the cluster of berries are not only pretty to look at and delicious with its sweet and tasty taste, but are loaded with essential nutrients that work for the well-being of the body.

Why Grapes are Good for You?

Researchers and many studies have found that including grapes in one’s diet can be good for health as it has numerous health benefiting properties –

1.  Loaded with Antioxidants
Grapes are a powerhouse of antioxidants – they contain a wide range of phytonutrients right from carotenoids to polyphenols. Studies have revealed that these phytonutrients help in preventing certain kinds of cancers and help in maintaining heart health. Among polyphenols, resveratrol is known for its miraculous properties such as inhibiting the formation of free radicals that could cause cancer and dilating blood vessels to ease blood flow and lower blood pressure. Point to note: The antioxidant content is the highest in the seeds and the skin. So, do make use of them.

2. Prevents Skin Problems
It is found that resveratrol prevents signs of ageing and other skin problems. According to a study conducted by the team at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), resveratrol, when combined with a common acne medication benzoyl peroxide, fights the acne causing bacteria.

3. High Source of Potassium
The nutritional breakup of grapes reveals that per 100 grams of the fruit contains 191 mg of potassium. High intake of potassium and lowering sodium content can help your body in numerous ways. Potassium also counteracts excess sodium. A low-sodium-high-potassium diet has proven beneficial for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart health in most cases. A bloated stomach can invite many health-related problems. Cutting down on salt intake and focusing on potassium-rich fiber can help in getting a flat stomach.

  1. Good for the Eyes
    According to a study done by University of Miami, Florida, grapes promote eye health from signaling changes at the cellular level to directly countering oxidative stress. Including grapes in the diet results in lower levels of inflammatory proteins and higher amounts of protective proteins in the retinas, which is the part of the eye that contains the cells that respond to light, known as photoreceptors.5. Boost Brain Power
    Certain studies have found that resveratrol helps in increasing blood flow to the brain, thereby it could help speed up mental responses and prove to be beneficial for those suffering from brain related ailments like Alzheimer’s. A study done by the University of Switzerland also found that resveratrol can help remove plaques and free radicals, which affect the brain.6. Good for the Knees
    A study done by Texas Woman’s University has established that daily intake of grapes can help get relief from knee pain, especially the ones triggered due to symptomatic osteoarthritis. Grapes are high on antioxidants, most important and beneficial one being polyphenols, which help in improving the flexibility and mobility of joints.

    7. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
    It has been found that grapes contain certain enzymes which bring about anti-inflammatory effect in our body. As such it brings about relief to the arteries, promotes heart health and helps in other repair functions of the body.

How to Include Grapes in Your Diet

Besides all the health benefits, grapes are also loaded with vitamins and essential minerals such as Vitamins A, B-6, B-12, C and D, calcium, iron and magnesium. However, one shouldn’t overload on grapes as they also contain sugar. It is said that berries should be included at least 3-4 days in a person’s weekly diet plan. And one should always consume a mix of fruits for better benefits. Although if you are consuming only grapes alone, then the serving per day could be 2-3 cups, considering each cup contains about 15-20 grapes.

Related Story: Apple farming in Kenya: mitigating risks

Cooking with Grapes

The juicy flesh and the sweet and tasty flavor make this fruit an ideal ingredient to cook with. Enjoy them whole by adding them to fruit bowls and summer salads. Try and get your hands on the different colored grapes (blue and red) to add some drama to your dish. Team them with pearl barley, lettuce, chopped cucumber, capsicum – choices are aplenty!

Coming to baking, you can use them to make berry tarts and clafoutis, top them on pavlovas or pannacottas, roast them along with chicken, or make tea cakes. You could also use them to make sweet and spicy chutneys, compotes and sauces; shake up some refreshing cocktails; or even use them to make sorbets.

Why not plant grapes today?

Posted on

Peaches: A Wonder Fruit for Kenya

Those who have had the privilege of eating a tree-ripened peach know that there are few gastronomic experiences to equal it. Peaches that are available in the local grocery stores will never achieve a high level of quality because they are harvested early, extremely firm, and somewhat immature, making it impossible for them to achieve a high level of quality.

Soil and Location
Peaches can be grown on a wide range of soil types but they prefer a well-drained sandy loam that retains adequate moisture. Root rot diseases may become a problem if the soil is heavy and does not drain well.

Soil Preparation and Planting
Peaches should be planted in well-worked soil having an adequate supply of nutrients and with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. A soil test prior to planting is a good investment. Deficiencies should be taken care of before planting.

Variety Selection
Unlike most fruit trees, peaches do not require two varieties for adequate pollination. However, peaches usually ripen over a 7 to 10-day period. If you select 3 varieties that ripen about 10 days apart, you will be able to harvest peaches over a 4-week period. While there are many new and excellent varieties available to choose from, I suggest that one variety that you select should be `Red Haven’. It is the most popular, and one of the most reliable varieties grown in the world.

Planting
Trees should be planted as early in the spring as the soil can be worked without causing compaction. Holes should be large enough to accommodate the entire root system, and deep and wide enough so that roots can rest on the bottom. Allow at least 10 feet between trees. Plant trees so that the largest root is pointing toward the prevailing winds and tilt the tree slightly in that direction. Soil amendments such as compost, composted manure or top soil may be added judiciously.

Chemical fertilizers should not be put in the planting hole since research has shown that it is not beneficial when added now and, frequently, it retards root 2 development. The graft union should be 3 to 4 inches above the soil line after planting. When the soil settles it will then be about 2 inches above the soil.

Tree quality from the nursery varies, so specific pruning recommendations are difficult. In general, trees should be headed back to 36 to 40 inches in height. Three to four well-spaced lateral branches should be retained and others removed. Branches that form a sharp angle with
the central leader should be removed, even if they are large. They will always be weak branches that will undoubtedly break in the future under the weight of maturing fruit.

Pruning
Pruning of peaches is more important than for any tree fruit. They are pruned more severely than any other fruit tree under cultivation for several reasons. Pruning increases growth and flower bud formation for the following year. Peaches usually set an excessive number of fruit.
Pruning helps reduce crop load, improve fruit size and reduce limb breakage and tree damage due to excessive crop load.

Fertilizing
Peach trees can be fertilized with a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10. Application should be made in the spring before bloom and the amount should not exceed 5 pounds equivalent on a mature tree and not less than 0.5 pounds under a young tree. Spread the 10-10-10 uniformly within the drip line of the tree.

Mulch and Water
Grass and other competing vegetation reduces growth of peach trees and reduces fruit size. We recommend applying some type of mulch, such as hay or straw early in the season. This should be renewed each year. Frequently, mulch is pulled back from the tree in late summer to prevent the buildup of mice and to hasten hardening off.

This is then reapplied the following spring. Supplemental water may be required during the summer, especially during dry periods like we are experiencing this year. Adequate water is critical during the two weeks prior to harvest, since this is the time that peaches increase in size most rapidly.

Harvest

Peaches generally ripen over a 7 to 10-day period. During this period fruit increase in size rapidly, soften, and the ground color changes to yellow orange. Usually 2 or 3 harvests will be necessary. Flavor does not improve after peaches are harvested. Therefore, it is best to wait
until fruit soften to the touch before harvesting. Why don’t you plant early, so that you can enjoy fruit at its finest from next year?

 

RELATED: Fruit Grafting Provides Better varieties

 

 

Posted on

PEST AND DISEASE MANAGEMENT IN MANGO FARMING IN KENYA

In organic farming systems, preventive methods based on proper crop and habitat management are encouraged. Direct methods of control are reserved for emergencies only. Synthetic insecticides and fungicides are not allowed in organic mango production. The most destructive mango pests are the mango seed weevil and the mango fruit fly, common nearly in all mango producing areas.

ants on a mango
  • Mango seed weevil (Sternochetus mangiferae)

Mango seed weevil, also called the mango stone weevil, is one of the major pests of mangoes in sub-Saharan Africa. The larva, which is the damaging stage of the pest, enters the fruit by burrowing through the flesh into the seeds, where it feeds until pupation, destroying the seed. Early attack (when the fruit is forming) leads to premature fruit fall. If the attacks occur at a later stage, fruit infestation is very difficult to detect, since there are no external signs of infestation. When the adult emerges, it tunnels through the flesh, leaving a hole in the fruit skin which may serve as an entry point for secondary fungal infections, greatly affecting the quality of the fruit. This is particularly a problem because, in many instances, weevil attack remains undetected in the field, and is first noticed in storage or when cutting the fruit.

The weevil spreads into clean areas through the movement of infested fruit for propagation or consumption. It can, however, be managed by:

  • Continuous monitoring to ensure timely intervention is important, for instance, a weevil attack can be detected by monitoring for egg-laying marks on young fruit. Regular fruit scouting is important to detect adult activity during fruit growth.
  • Ensuring good orchard sanitation by collecting and destroying all scattered mango seeds and fallen fruit. All collected fruit and seeds should be buried deeply (about 50 cm deep).
  • Ensuring orchard quarantine by restricting movement of fruit from old orchards or areas known to have mango seed weevils to areas where young orchards, free of seed weevil, have been established.
  • Applying sticky bands at the upper end of tree trunks when the trees start flowering to reduce migration of weevils to branches for egg laying.
  • Mango fruit flies (Bactrocera invadens)

Female fruit flies puncture the fruit skin and lay eggs that develop into maggots (larvae) in the flesh of the fruit after hatching. The larvae feed on the fruit and cause it to drop prematurely and destroy the pulp of the fruit. Generally the fruit falls to the ground as, or just before, the maggots pupate. In fruit for export, fruit flies cause indirect losses resulting from quarantine restrictions that are imposed by importing countries to prevent introduction of fruit flies. Nearly all fruit fly species are quarantine pests. Fruit flies attack soft, fleshy fruit of a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Management strategies of fruit flies include:

  • Continuous monitoring of fruit flies to determine when they arrive in the orchard and to decide when treatment is needed. Monitoring can be done using bait traps like the ‘bucket trap’ (Also see transparency 4-18). The farmer should, however, be able to identify fruit flies from among other trapped insects. Pheromone traps are also available to attract male fruit flies, hence reducing reproducing populations.
  • Orchard sanitation is important as poorly managed or abandoned orchards can result in buildup of fruit fly populations. All fruit with dimples and oozing, clear sap should regularly (e.g. twice a week for the entire season) be removed from the tree as well as all rotten fruit from the ground. The maggots are killed by burning or tying collected fruit in black plastic bags and exposing them to the heat of the sun for some hours. The fruit can also be buried deep, at least 50 cm (about two feet), to prevent emerging adult flies from reaching the soil surface.
  • Several natural enemies can contribute to the suppression of fruit flies. Major natural enemies are parasitic wasps (e.g. Bracon spp.) that attack the maggots of fruit flies and predators such as rove beetles, weaver ants, spiders, and birds and bats. In particular, weaver ants have been shown to be very efficient in protecting fruit trees from pests, including fruit flies. These ants pray on fruit flies, but most importantly, their presence and foraging activity hinders the fruit flies from laying eggs, resulting in reduced fruit fly damage, as shown in mango orchards in Benin. Although natural enemies alone do not give satisfactory control of fruit flies, efforts should be made to protect them, and to complement their effect on fruit flies with other management options. Dill, parsley, yarrow, zinnia, clover, alfalfa, parsley, cosmos, sunflower and marigold are flowering crops that attract the native wasp populations and provide good habitats for them. African Organic Agriculture Training Manual Module 09 Crops Unit 22 Mango 11 ­ ­ Mango fruit fly damage.
Mango rose flower beetle.
  • Biopesticides such as a spray pyrethrum solution is effective in controlling fruit flies. Other plant extracts like neem, garlic, chilli and tephrosia can also be used. The biopesticides can also kill beneficial insects like bees if they are sprayed directly. Therefore, it is best to spray in the evenings after most of the bees are back in their hives (after 6 pm).
  • Bagging prevents fruit flies from laying eggs on the fruit (See also transparency 4-19). In addition, the bag provides physical protection from mechanical injuries (scars and scratches). Although laborious, it is cheap, safe and gives a more reliable estimate of the projected harvest. Bagging not only protects fruit from fruit fly damage, but protects the fruit from physical damage improving the market appearance of the fruit. However, it is only practicable on small trees. Other common pests of mangoes include scales, mealy bugs, aphids and mango flies.
  • Scales suck the plant sap. Feeding by scales may cause yellowing of leaves followed by leaf drop, poor growth, dieback of branches, fruit drop and blemishes on fruit. Heavily infested young trees may die. In addition, soft scales excrete honeydew, causing growth of sooty mould. In heavy infestations, fruit and leaves are heavily coated with sooty mould, turning black.
  • Mealy bugs (Rastrococcus invadens) suck sap from the leaves, branches, flowers and fruit. They excrete honeydew that develops into black sooty mould.
  • Whiteflies and Blackflies (Aleurocanthus woglumi) can also be regulated through the beneficial insects. They suck sap from leaves and may weaken the plants when numbers are high. They excrete large amount of honeydew where sooty mould develops. High numbers of these insects can almost blacken trees, reducing photosynthesis and may cause leaf drop. >
  • Mango Aphids (Toxoptera odinae) live in clusters sucking sap on the underside of young leaves, on petioles, young branches and fruit. Their feeding causes slight rolling, or twisting of the leaf midrib. Sooty mould growing on honeydew produced by the aphids may cover leaves, twigs and fruit, reducing its market value.

These are all sucking insects that live on leaves, young branches and buds and can cause great damage. However, all of them have natural enemies such as lady beetle larva, wasps, spiders and parasitic fungi. Therefore, improving diversity, by planting wild flower strips in the orchard and hedge rows, will enhance the beneficial insects. By wrapping a smooth, slippery plastic band around the trunk or any sticky substance will also restrict the movement of the mobile pests. In case of heavy infestation it is possible to control by spraying a 1 % soap solution with 1 % pure alcohol, with an application of paraffin oil (white oil) as a 3 % water emulsion or with a plant extract of neem or other botanicals.

Most diseases of mango are caused by either fungi or bacteria. The first preventive measure is, therefore, to obtain healthy vegetative propagation material free of these infections.

  • Anthracnose is caused by the fungus Collectrichum gloeosporioides and is the most common disease of mango, especially in regions that have high rainfall and heavy dews. It affects leaves, stems and floral panicle, but the fruit receive the most damage. The fungus causes brown spots on leaves and black spots on fruit and flowers and makes the young branches brittle. The infestation can be reduced if dead material (branches, leaves and infested fruit) is removed from the orchard. After harvest, anthracnose can be controlled if the fruit is given a water bath for 3 to 5 minutes at 55° C.
  • Bacterial infection with Erwinia spp. can infect the stem, branches, flowers and young fruit. The symptoms are similar to the spots on the fruit and leaves as in anthracnose. These bacteria can survive in the soil. When it rains, the bacteria spores get under the leaves and fruit through rain splash (when soil particles get pushed into the air on contact with raindrops). Cover crops reduce rain splash, thus reducing the infestation of the leaves and fruit. An active and living soil can also reduce bacterial multiplication because Erwinia spp. does not explosively propagate in soil.

  • Powdery mildew (Oidium mangiferae) can damage young fruit and flowers. This fungus appears mostly in warm, humid weather (temperature of 22° C and relative humidity of 65 %). In severe attacks, the entire blossom panicle may be involved and fruit fail to set (affecting yields). An open, well-ventilated and faster drying orchard that is regularly pruned hinders the mildew infestation.
  • Leaf spot disease (Cercospora mangiferae) – causes spots on leaves and fruit. An open, well-ventilated and well-drained orchard is the best preventive measure against Cercospora infestation. Infested fruit is not marketable.
    leaf mango spot

    African Organic Agriculture Training Manual Module 09 Crops Unit 22 Mango 13 ­ ­ ­ ­ Handling mangoes for marketing of fresh fruit Discussion on postharvest handling Inquire among the farmers how they commonly utilize mangoes. Do they sell to the fresh fruit market, dry the fruit or produce pulp or juice? Discuss for all uses what the best harvest time is and how postharvest handling is best managed. In acute cases, mildew, anthracnose and leaf spot diseases can be regulated with sulphur or copper preparations, which are allowed in organic farming. However, in case of certified organic mango production, the farmers should consult their certification body for guidance before applying any of those preparations.

 

Posted on

TIRED OF GROWING MAIZE AND BEANS, TRY HASS AVOCADOS

TIRED OF GROWING MAIZE AND BEANS, TRY HASS AVOCADOS

Avocado farming in Kenya presents a good opportunity not only for farmers, but a growing population of youths to venture into. The Kenyan market both domestic and export is growing but limited by the production capacity of the current farmers. The most popular variety for the export market is the HASS avocado. Kenya produces an estimated 115,000 metric tons of avocado annually, 70% of which is grown by small-scale farmers. Some years back, most of the avocados were sold in local markets, but this has drastically changed today, where three quarters of the avocado fruit grown is exported to other countries.

CONSUMPTION OF HASS AVOCADO

Global avocado consumption is growing by about three percent every year; however, production growth remains a little behind. For now, the market is big enough for all players involved. Consumption is growing rapidly especially in North America and Europe. At present, Europe is recording high prices due to slow supply. In America, prices remain at a reasonable level. China is a major import market. Worldwide investments in the product are on the rise.

Hass avocado does well in altitudes between 1000m to 2000m. The fruit is generally bigger in cool areas as compared to warm areas. The optimum temperature is 20 to 24 degrees Celsius. Although avocados are resistant to drought, well-distributed rainfall of between 1000-1200mm is adequate for proper crop development. They also require well-drained soils to avoid root rot. The best soils are sandy or alluvial loam with pH ranging from 5 to 7.

Traditionally Kenya is known to grow maize, potatoes and beans, but Kenyans are taking a different path, specializing in growing the Hass avocado variety, which can be intercropped with beans and vegetables in a bid to diversify agribusiness. Beans are known to fix nitrogen in the soil, thus, making it rich for the avocados besides making you as a farmer utilize your farm well and make more money.

YIELD OF HASS AVOCADOS

Hass avocados yield depends on numerous factors which include plant density, disease control, soil fertility among others.

The yield depends on several factors such as proper pest and disease control, plant density, and soil fertility among others. Generally, the average yield of Hass avocados in Kenya is 90,000 fruits per hector.

There is great potential for Hass avocado production in Kenya, especially for export. Some regions especially the central region and the rift valley region have impressive climatic conditions to produce this fruit.

The biggest challenge, however, remains lack of understanding among some farmers on the pesticides minimum residual levels (MRL) guidelines by the European market. Without this crucial information, there is a danger of farmers producing fruits only for them to be rejected by the export companies.

Every effort should be made to sensitise the farmers about these guidelines to ensure the highest export quality of Hass avocado that is produced in Kenya. Oxfarm Organic has experts who will advise on the best ways of cultivating Hass avocados from land preparation all the way to harvesting to ensure maximum returns.

With only Ksh 40,000 investment per acre, Oxfarm Organic can make you earn 10 million in less than 10 years.

Also Read Tree tomato farming made easy in Kenya