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Why You Should Farm Organically?

As our knowledge of the harmful effects of agricultural chemicals grows, more and more farmers and consumers are rediscovering their organic history, returning to the methods of old, such as plucking insect pests and weeds by hand and hoe, and amending soil with natural fertilizers—compost. The joy in growing your own food is the joy in savoring its delicious flavor and in providing good food for others to enjoy. Discover how to rebuild your garden with an organic foundation and produce the vegetables, fruits and herbs that will nourish your family and the families of those who purchase your produce.

The general principles of organic production, include the following:

  • protect the environment, minimize soil degradation and erosion, decrease pollution, optimize biological productivity and promote a sound state of health
  • maintain long-term soil fertility by optimizing conditions for biological activity within the soil
  • maintain biological diversity within the system
  • recycle materials and resources to the greatest extent possible within the enterprise
  • provide attentive care that promotes the health and meets the behavioural needs of livestock
  • prepare organic products, emphasizing careful processing, and handling methods in order to maintain the organic integrity and vital qualities of the products at all stages of production
  • rely on renewable resources in locally organized agricultural systems

Organic farming promotes the use of crop rotations and cover crops, and encourages balanced host/predator relationships. Organic residues and nutrients produced on the farm are recycled back to the soil. Cover crops and composted manure are used to maintain soil organic matter and fertility. Preventative insect and disease control methods are practiced, including crop rotation, improved genetics and resistant varieties. Integrated pest and weed management, and soil conservation systems are valuable tools on an organic farm

Organic farming presents many challenges. Some crops are more challenging than others to grow organically; however, nearly every commodity can be produced organically.

Related content: Pomegranate fruit Farming: Find Out About Diseases in Pomegranate

Why Farm Organically?

The main reasons farmers state for wanting to farm organically are their concerns for the environment and about working with agricultural chemicals in conventional farming systems. There is also an issue with the amount of energy used in agriculture, since many farm chemicals require energy intensive manufacturing processes that rely heavily on fossil fuels. Organic farmers find their method of farming to be profitable and personally rewarding.

Related Content: How To Become A Successful Grape Farmer in Kenya

Why Buy Organic?

Consumers purchase organic foods for many different reasons. Many want to buy food products that are free of chemical pesticides or grown without conventional fertilizers. Some simply like to try new and different products. Product taste, concerns for the environment and the desire to avoid foods from genetically engineered organisms are among the many other reasons some consumers prefer to buy organic food products.

Organic farming can be a viable alternative production method for farmers, but there are many challenges. One key to success is being open to alternative organic approaches to solving production problems. Determine the cause of the problem, and assess strategies to avoid or reduce the long term problem rather than a short term fix for it.

For more information, kindly visit our offices or call us. Also book your seedlings early enough for the next rainy season!!

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AVOCADO EXPORT FLOURISHING IN KENYA

Kenya is known to support its budget through agriculture majoring on exports of tea, coffee, flowers. However, Hass avocado is now getting a lot of attention. Kenya is in an ideal location for Avocado production since it’s in subtropical climates and avocados do well in such conditions.

South Africa and Kenya are major exporters of Avocados in Africa, with hass, fuerte, and pinkerton varieties. There is a countless potential for hass avocado production in Kenya due to its climatic conditions especially in central Kenya, upper eastern and rift-valley areas. Most avocado farms are near Nairobi, where packing factories are located for export.

Main avocado seasons for the Kenyan avocados is march to September but the fuerte one starts as early as February while the Hass is normally available from May. Nonetheless, due to the difference in climatic conditions and different avocado growing zones in Kenya, there are fruits throughout the year although in smaller quantities which are mainly sold locally.

Also, Kenya enjoys a competitive advantage over other exporting nations mainly because the hass avocado variety harvesting period extends later in the year than Peru’s, thereby granting Kenya a window of opportunity in the global market. Hass avocados from Kenya sell in European markets at roughly three times their domestic price, making the export options extremely very attractive.

 

Also Read: Hass avocado farming: Suitable Counties

More than 115,000 metric tons of avocado are produced in Kenya annually, where 70% are normally grown by small-scale farmers. Sometimes back, most avocados were traded locally, however, this trend has tremendously changed over time where now over three quarters of the produced avocados is exported overseas.

This drastic change can be attributed to technological advancements called `reefer` introduced by Maersk lines has made it possible to transport Kenyan avocados beyond the middle east to Europe markets.

Most farmers who grow Avocado are commonly found in Muranga, Kiambu, Nyeri, Kisii, Meru as well as Mt. Kenya regions. Over the years, Kenya has seen a sharp increase in the number of counties interested in Kenyan Avocados, and these countries are, Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, France, Egypt, Spain, Iran, Libya and many more. Leading exporters from Kenya include Mt. Kenya Avocado Farms.

The nutritional benefits of avocado are another boosting factor to its demand. All over the world people knows about its benefits and the wide variety of its uses. Guacamole food, with avocado as its main ingredient is very popular especially in America, greatly increases avocado consumption and importation.

Muranga county government through its Governor Mwangi Wa-Iria has started an initiative of encouraging its residents to embrace farming of hass avocados as a way of eradicating poverty as well as boosting their health. The national government of Kenya has also initiated programs that help in boosting the avocado industry to fully comply with the global requirements. Bodies like KEPHIS are actively involved in monitoring as well as educating farmers and exporters. In addition, other county governments are also helping farmers get good market rather than struggle with brokers who offer them low prices.

As you read this article today, more and more farmers are compelled to start growing Grafted hass avocados, which will triple the country’s production rates for exportation. The sky is not the limit for our esteemed farmers. The future belongs to you farmer who is willing to make your hand dirty!

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Why You Should Try Our Grafted Tree Tomato Seedlings

Tamarillo best known as tree-tomatoes in Kenya is a fast-growing tree that grows up to 2-5 meters. Grafted tree tomato reaches peak production after 1-2 years while the normal ones reach after 3-6 years depending on the caltivar, and the life expectancy is about 12 years. The tree usually forms a single upright trunk with lateral branches. Grafted Tree-tomato produce 6-10 fruits per cluster. Plants can set fruit without cross-pollination, but the flowers are fragrant and attract insects. Cross-pollination seems to improve fruit.

CONDITIONS REQUIRED

Grafted tree-tomato prefers subtropical climate, they grow in many parts of Kenya with rainfall between 600 and 4000 millimeters and annual temperatures between 15 and 20 °C. It is intolerant to frost (below -2 °C) and drought stress. It is assumed that fruit set is affected by night temperatures. Areas where citrus are cultivated provide good conditions for tree-tomatos. Tree-tomato plants grow best in light, deep, fertile soils, although they are not very demanding. However, soils must be permeable since the plants are not tolerant to water-logging. They grow naturally on soils with a pH of 5 to 8.5. they are as well planted by irrigation as they also do well.

PROPAGATION METHODS

SEEDS
Most farmers in Kenya use seeds as a means of Propagation but its also possible by the use of  using cuttings. Seedlings first develop a straight, about 1.5 to 1.8 meters tall trunk, before they branch out. Propagation by seeds is easy and ideal in protected environments. Seedlings should be kept in the nursery until they reach a height of 1 to 1.5 meters for efficient growth.

CUTTINGS
Plants grown from cuttings branch out earlier and result in more shrub-like plants that are more suitable for exposed sites. Cuttings should be made from basal and aerial shoots, and should be free of pathogenic viruses. Plants grown from cuttings should be kept in the nursery until they reach a height of 0.5 to 1 meter.

NB! The above ways are not recommended since the plants are easily affected by nematodes and have a short life span.

Related Content: Tips on how to get over 20Kgs/Tree from Tree-tomato farming

THE EASIEST WAY TO GROW TREE-TOMATO IS THROUGH GRAFTED SEEDLINGS

 The tree grows very quickly and is able to carry fruits after 10 months though in some favorable conditions they carry fruits in a lesser span of time. The plant is day length-insensitive. The fruits do not mature simultaneously, unless the tree has been pruned.
A single tree can produce more than 30 kg fruits per year, an orchard yields in 30 to 40 tons per hectare. One single mature tree in good soil will bear more fruit than a normal family can eat in about 3 months.

PLANTING AND PRUNING

  • Spacing should be 6 by 6feet
  • Dig 2ft by 2ft Mix one and a half wheelbarrow of well-prepared compost (chickens and pig manure are preferred) with two spade-full of topsoil to plant the seed-lings.
  • Leave a shallow depression in every plant for placing the mulching material – only 1 feet of the tree tomato seedling should be buried while planting just enough to cover the root hairs.
  • Selection of planting site is very important.
  • An acre can be planted 1200-1500 tree seedlings.

 

PEST CONTROL & FERTILIZATION
When planting Tree-tomato’s approximately 200 grams of diammonium sulfate should be applied in each plant. After two months of planting each plant should be supplied with Ammonium nitrate or urea (the white fertilizer) in 250 grams per plant in a span of 4 months for 6 years.

Tree tomato is resistant to most diseases and pests. However, the tree is prone to powdery mildew, which causes the leaves to fall off. Application of copper oxychloride (allowed in organic farming) can control the disease. Neem extracts can also be used to control the disease. The main pests that attack the tree include the aphids, thrips whiteflies and nematodes. Pests can be prevented by continuous application of plant extracts (chilies, African marigold, garlic, neem) at least three times.

A kilogram of tree tomato fruits sells between Ksh 100-150.

 

For more information about tree-tomato and other fruits

 

Grafted Tree Tomato Seedlings

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Why Grafted Tree Tomato

Cost analysis of planting 200 grafted tree tomato seedlings.

Variety: Red oratia.

Space: 6000sqft

Preparation of land (digging ,fallowing) to attain fine tillage 1000
Buying of seedlings from reputable dealers @100 each 20000
Digging of holes 2ft by 2ft @10 each 2000
Buying and application of manure per hole @50 per bucket 10000
Planting, mulching of seedlings 500
Fertilizer for the entire season 4000
Chemicals for the entire season 7000
Water expenses (for irrigation) 10000
Management and miscellaneous. 20000
Total cost 70500
Expected output 65kg -120kg per tree @100 for one year

65*100*200

120*100*200

 

1.3 million

2.4 million

 

  • The plant take 8-10 months to mature and depends on location.
  • The cost of seedlings can vary depending with your dealer Oxfarm Organic ltd sells their seedlings at Ksh 100.
  • Cost of manure, labor and management can be greatly reduced if you do the work.
  • Prices of a kg of tree tomato vary from various markets from 80-150.

Related Post: Amazing health benefits of tree-tomato

GRAFTED TREE TOMATO

What to do.

  • Require a spacing measuring 6ft by 6ft, then dig dip holes measuring 2ft by 2ft this helps in roots penetration and also to be able to accommodate enough manure.
  • Add a bucket of well rotten manure into per hole and mix well with top soil.
  • Plant your grafted seedlings by first ensuring you have watered your soil well or plant during rainy season. Add mulching to every stem of your plants.
  • In case of a dry season apply irrigation either drip irrigation or bucket irrigation.
  • Add fertilizer after one month of planting this will ensure faster growth and rood development.
  • Protect you plant from pest and deceases from early stages by splaying at a good interval depending with the rate of infestation with pesticides and fungicides both protective and curing ones.
  • Splay your plants with foliar feed to ensure faster and stronger plants and also during flowering to boost more flowers and ensure they do not drop.

 

These are just costs and output, on how to achieve this you need to learn the best methods that work to achieve these outputs. Come visit us in our demonstration farm in Nyeri or visit our offices.