Main Menu

Friday, June 8th, 2018

 

UPDATE 1-Soccer-Ghana football boss resigns after being banned by FIFA

* Nyantakyi says resigned, apologises to president

* Ghana says planned to dissolve national federation (Updates with resignation, details)

ZURICH/ACCRA, June 8 (Reuters) – The head of Ghana’s soccer federation, Kwesi Nyantakyi, said on Friday he had resigned after he was suspended by global soccer body FIFA for possible ethics violations having been accused of taking kickbacks.

Nyantakyi, a member of FIFA’s decision-making Council, also apologised to Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo and the government for what he called his “indiscretion”.

“After a meeting of the Executive Committee this afternoon I decided to resign as President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA),” he said in a statement.

Nyantakyi, who has been GFA president since 2005 and was elected to the FIFA Council in September 2016, was filmed by an investigative journalist in a hotel room appearing to take a $65,000 bribe from a supposed businessman seeking to sponsor the Ghanaian football league.

FIFA said on Friday it was suspending Nyantakyi for 90 days. The Ghanaian government has begun a process to dissolve the national soccer body, Information Minister Mustapha Abdul-Hamid said on Thursday.

On Friday, Ghana’s police locked down the GFA offices, declaring the building a crime scene.

Segments of the recording by undercover journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas appeared to show Nyantakyi also demanding kickbacks to pass on to top government officials, including the presidency.

Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo has called for criminal investigations against Nyantakyi.

FIFA has not yet commented on whether any action will be taken over the government’s plan to dissolve the GFA.

The global soccer body does not accept any third party, including government, interference in its member associations.

It could respond by suspending Ghana’s membership, which would mean the country’s national teams could no longer compete in international competition.

Ghana, who have played at three previous World Cups, missed out on the this year’s tournament which starts in Russia on June 14. (Reporting by Brian Homewood and Kwasi Kpodo, Editing by Christian Radnedge and Toby Davis)


Poor eating habits among Kenyans drove budding journalist to organic farming

By PETER CHANGTOEK
More by this Author

He learnt about farming at an early age. However, it was not until 2016 that Mr Patrick Nzioka ventured into organic vegetable growing.

“I grew up in a family that adored farming. It is through my mother’s guidance that I have achieved this,’’ he says.

Mr Nzioka, who studied Mass Communication, quit professional hustles and jumped into the murky waters of farming in Lower Kabete, a few kilometres from the city.

He grows traditional vegetables organically: From amaranthus, black night shade, mrenda, sageti, miroo, kunde to pumpkin leaves.

Mr Nzioka makes ends meet by feeding his neighbourhood as well as Nairobi city residents.

He grows spinach, kale, red and white cabbage, cucumber, courgette, capsicum, hot chily, lettuce, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, herbs and several spices.

He also has coriander, parsley, dill, rosemary, sage, tarragon, mint and basil on the farm.

“I did not have much for a start. I bought collard sukumawiki and spinach and used the proceeds to purchase more seeds,’’ Mr Nzioka, who is in his early 30s, says.

Initially, he grew the vegetables in sacks but he has leased land in Machakos County as his business expands.

Mr Nzioka says he ventured into organic farming because he wanted to see Kenyans eat healthy.

“Many Nairobians do not eat healthy, clean or nutritious food. My intention was to bring back the culture of healthy eating,’’ he adds.

CLOSE TO SOURCE OF WATER

Before planting, Mr Nzioka prepares compost manure for use at the farm.

He also uses cow, rabbit, goat and chicken droppings as manure.

The farmer buys seeds from various parts of the country.

“I source most of the traditional vegetables from western Kenya. The rest can be found in agrovet shops across the city and during farmers’ workshops and seminars. I propagate most of the herbs to increase the harvest,’’ he says.

The young farmer relies on rain water to grow the vegetables and herbs.

Most of his customers come from Nairobi though he adds that he has begun getting orders from other parts of the country.

Caterpillars, aphids and whiteflies are some of the pests which attack his crops but he has found a way of containing them.

“I practise clean farming. This makes it very hard for diseases and pests to attack the crops,’’ Mr Nzioka says.

Despite agribusiness being lucrative, the farmer says he faces many challenges.

The first is getting land near Nairobi where the bulk of his customers come from. He prefers land that is close to a source of water such as a river.

The other is transporting his produce to the market.

His advice to potential organic farmers? “Carry out research first,” he says.

He hopes to open a store where he will buy and sell organically grown food.


City fair attracts 270 flower exhibitors

By LEOPOLD OBI
More by this Author

Kenya’s flower and horticultural industry eyes higher prospects as more than 270 exhibitors and hundreds of buyers arrived in Nairobi for the fourth edition of the International flower trade expo or Iftex.

Flower exports, the largest foreign exchange earner last year, brought in Sh82.24 billion, up from Sh70.83 billion in 2016.
The industry remains resilient despite climate change challenges.

There is excitement in the industry as the country prepares for direct flights to the US.

Trade PS Chris Kiptoo told flower and vegetable growers that the government would facilitate agreements with economic blocs and countries.

Kenya sells its flowers and vegetables to more than 60 countries.

“We are holding negotiations with several countries to urge them buy our flowers. We have signed the economic partnership agreement, which liberalises 100 per cent trade with the European Union and 82 per cent trade with African countries,” Dr Kiptoo said.

He added that the ministry is working hard to improve fair trade practices.

Kenya Flower Council CEO Clement Tulezi said he the country’s flowers remain competitive in the international market.
“We hope the direct flights will boost Kenya’s cut flower market share in the US from the current four per cent,” he said.

The US flower market is dominated by Colombia, which commands 70 per cent share.

Mr Tulezi said Kenya’s climate is ideal for flower growing.

Transporting flowers to the US has been a big challenge to exporters since they have to fly them through Amsterdam in the Netherlands, affecting quality.


Feedback: Where to get a market for rabbit urine and information on Brachiaria

By SEEDS OF GOLD EXPERTS
More by this Author

Help me get Brachiaria.
I’m looking for Brachiaria. Where can I get them?
Matthew

As dairy farmers intensify production systems in a bid to enhance milk production, so is the need to grow more fodder to meet the goal with lower costs.

Most farmers buy Boma Rhodes but meet challenges with quality and weight.

Brachiaria is one grass that can offer sustainable solutions to fodder challenges in Kenya. This grass is highly nutritious with fast recovery on grazing and harvesting.

It can be established from splits or seeds. In the rift region you can contact Menengai Agrovet (051-2214087) or Meya Agricultural Traders in Nakuru (051-2213972).

Felix Akatch Opinya, Department of Animal Science, Egerton University

Where is the market for rabbit urine?

I am a farmer looking for rabbit urine market. But before that, kindly advice me on the importance of this urine as a fertiliser.

Over the past few years, the demand of rabbit products has increased in Kenya, though, this is a fact some farmers are yet to agree with.

The challenge is that most rabbitpreneurs do not take quality time in market analysis to identify possible problems.

However, rabbit farmers can still tap into selling or using urine as a foliar fertiliser and biopesticide for crop production and cut costs on fertilisers and pesticides.

Results from previous research showed that urine contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and other micro elements but the contents vary, based on the diet fed.

The urine can also be added to a rabbit manure biogas digester to boost gas productivity.

Felix Akatch Opinya, Department of Animal Science, Egerton University

I am in need of fertilised eggs

Kindly link me with someone with fertilised eggs. I’ll prefer kuroila or kenbrow. At the very least, I won’t mind kienyeji. I’m in Voi, Taita-Taveta County. Thanks

Mdawana wa Mwabili, Mwatate

Poultry keeping an enterprise that is rewarding and has good returns on investment. However, it is critical to consider the following important concerns, target market of your poultry, source of feeds, cost of feed, amount of feed required per bird per day, acceptability of the product in the market, distance to the market, management skills required, cost of consultancy and medication.

Poultry keeping an enterprise that is rewarding and has good returns on investment.Poultry keeping an enterprise that is rewarding and has good returns on investment. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Established companies like Kenchic can effectively direct you to contracted farmers for fertilised Kenbro eggs.

Dennis Kigiri, Egerton University, Nakuru

I need knowledge on hydroponics
Hi seeds of Gold Kenya. Could you have any knowledge on hydroponics using pvc? I would appreciate if i got information on how to develop a homemade model at a low cost.
Lincoln Mugendi Ireri, Embu

Hydroponics technique enables one to grow fodder or vegetables over a short period of time, provided there is balanced supply of air, water and nutrients.

For vegetables, production can be timed more effectively to utilise market demands.

However, for fodder there are concerns over its sustainability, given the need dry matter and quantity cows consume for instance, vis a vis the ability to produce.

It is therefore advisable to exhaust research on viability of this system depending on crops you want to grow.

Contact Hydroponics Kenya on +254722956647 for more information.

Felix Akatch Opinya, Department of Animal Science, Egerton University

looking for a chest of deep freezer
Where can one get a chest deep freezer of capacity 500 litres and above?
Edwin Njoroge

Deep freezers are commonly used for storage of ice creams, frozen foods, mango pulp or any other food item or material.

Check reputed online platforms or electronic shops for deep freezers with a longer period of warranty.

Dennis Kigiri, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University


Kilifi farmer who left a ‘lucrative’ ICT job when he discovered fortune in lemons

Just kilometres from Mtomondoni Primary School in Mtwapa is the four-acre Faheem Farm.

Mr Faheem Aloo, 36 inherited the farm from his grandfather.

He says his grandfather started working on the land in the early 1960s. He planted a variety of vegetables and fruits.

“This was like the granary of Mtwpa during those days. They came here to buy vegetables, fruits and maize,” Faheem said.

Faheem quit his IT job in a transport company in Nairobi and went into farming. He has never looked back.
He grafts indigenous lemon trees to get quality fruits.

Faheem avoids chemical fertilisers “because it leaves the soil in a poorer state”.

He instead opts for organic fertiliser which is cheap and easily available.

When properly taken care of, lemon trees take three to four years to mature. A tree can be harvested for up to 20 years.

“Apart from lemon growing, I also keep goats and sheep whose dung I use as manure,” said Faheem.

He added that the lemons are loved by his customers, many who happen to be tourists.

A kilogramme of lemons goes for between Sh100 and Sh200, depending on season. He harvests about a tonne daily.

Faheem also grows tomatoes, pawpaws, cabbages and sukuma wiki.

“ I  work extra hard in order to satisfy the demands of  my customers and neighbours,” Faheem said.


Want to increase your stock? Try hormones

By IRENE MUGO
More by this Author

At the entrance of Mr James Karoki’s farm 34-acre piece of land in Gatitu village on the outskirts of Nyeri town, lush green Rhode grass welcomes us.

The roar of a chaff cutter grabs our attention.

Nearby stands Mr Karoki in a grey apron and black gumboots.

One of his seven workers is feeding napier grass and hay into the machine for his 85 cows.

“This is Gatitu Dairy Farm,” he said. “It started with just four cows in 2012.”

He is among the few farmers in Nyeri County who are using hormonal stimulators to synchronise their animals to be on heat at the same time.

The stimulators also help treat uterine and fertility problems.

The technology helps a farmer select a sire and choose when to administer it. It ensures cows conceive every year.
Mr Karoki keeps Friesian and Ayrshire breeds.

He resorted to hormonal technology when he realised the animals could go for up to two years without being on heat.
When they did, it largely went unnoticed.

“I could not take chances any more. I have been using this method for the three years now,” he said.

The use of hormonal stimulators is not new but many farmers are not aware of it.

“The benefits of stimulators far outweigh the cost,” the dairy farmer said.

The animals are usually clustered in six to eight groups.

“This makes it easy to manage the farm. It also ensures the animals conceive and calve down at almost the same time,” he said.

All his animals, including calves, are tagged. A tag has the name of the animal, the bull that sired it and the date it was born.

“I intend to be a breeder in two or three years and that is why many of my animals are heifers,” he said.

A male calf remains on the farm for three months before being sold for Sh10,000.

FOUR TYPES OF HORMONES

Thirty-seven of Mr Karoki’s cows currently produce 500 litres of milk per day. The farmer sells a litre at Sh34 to Wakulima Dairy in Mukurweini Constituency.

His workers clean the eight zero-grazing units three to four times each day.

“Urine and dung are removed from the animal resting areas to avoid infections like mastitis. The mixture is then spread in the maize farm,” he said.

Mr Karoki has 20 acres under maize silage and 12 under hay, which he uses to make fodder. He mixes the fodder with canola, lucerna, maize jam and other minerals.

“I harvest the maize plants at the combing stage and have them chopped. I then add molasses to the heap to speed up fermentation. Then I cover it with a plastic paper before burying it,” he said.

He milks his animals three times and feeds them twice a day. He mixes dry matter with wet material like napier.

“This kind of feeding makes the animals thirsty and ensures they drink a lot of water. This in turn makes them produce more milk,” he said.

He buys feeds directly from manufacturers.

“Counterfeits can cut milk production by up to 100 litres daily,” Mr Karoki added.

Dr Daniel Muturi, a vet, says four types of hormones are administered to the animals.

Karoki inspects one of his cattle.Karoki inspects one of his cattle. He milks his animals three times and feeds them twice a day. PHOTO | IRENE MUGO | NMG

Gonaldotrophin releasing hormone is naturally produced by the cows in order to release luteinising hormone, which in conjunction with follicle stimulating hormone, enhances growth of ovarian follicles that contain developing eggs.

While serving the animals, Mr Karoki gets a catalogue of semen in the market so as to analyse their traits and breeds.
“I have been using semen for local bulls, not sexed semen,” he said.

READILY AVAILABLE

Dr Muturi says sexed semen is mainly imported and a farmer has to pass through a rigorous process to get it.

“This reduces the chances of conception since the semen will be weak by the time it gets to its destination,” he said.

Sexed semen is good for a heifer but it is three times more expensive. Its price ranges from Sh6,000 to Sh15,000.

“High milk-producing animals usually have fertility problems. Sexed semen is best used on heifers,” Dr Muturi said.

The vet operates a programme that helps him choose what to administer to an animal, depending on the rate at which it is on heat.

Dr Muturi’s programme runs from day 0 to day 10, depending on his report on the animals’s reproductive system.

“The hormones are readily available but they have a time limit. They should be used within 14 days,” he said.

Vets charge Sh6,000 per animal for administering the hormonal stimulation but the cost goes down when a farmer has many animals.

During the ninth and tenth day when the cow is likely to show signs of heat, a vet inseminates it artificially.

The doctor then carries out a pregnancy test after two months.

“Not all animals in the cluster group will conceive,” Dr Muturi added.

He cautioned farmers against inviting quacks to vaccinate and administer the service to their animals as the wrong use of the hormone can lead to ovary cysts.

WHAT A FARMER OUGHT TO KNOW

  • Four types of hormones are administered to the animals.
  • A farmer should get a catalogue of semen from agrovets so as to analyse their traits and origin.
  • Sexed semen, on most occasions, Is imported. This, therefore, makes it more expensive than semen from local bulls.
  • Vets say sexed semen is good for heifers since high milk-yieldng animals usually have fertility problems. A pregnancy test is carried out after AI.

Brief news on farming and agribusiness from around the country

By SATURDAY NATION TEAM
More by this Author

University produces seeds that can resist striga weed

Farmers may soon put increase their maize, sorghum and millet yields following the development of hybrid seeds that are resistant to the the striga weed menace.

Prof Matthew Dida Otieno, who led a group of scientists develop the Maseno EH10, EH11, EH13 and EH14 maize variety in the 16-year-old research said it would a big relief to farmers. The finger millet developed is known as 60D.

Prof Dida said the seeds have natural component, which fights the destructive weed.

“Compared to ordinary seeds, ours have the capacity to suppress the growth of the weeds,” he said.

With the hybrid resistance seed, a farmer is assured of five tonnes of yield per acre, and not a tonne, the researcher added. The new varieties take shorter time to mature.

“The maize takes 120 days to mature. The new seeds work best in the western region,” he said.

According to the professor, the country suffers close to Sh6.7 billion in losses because of the striga weed destruction.

“When the weed invades maize or sorghum farm, it attaches itself to the plants, sucking all the nutrients. The weed also poisons the plants. It usually hides the soil and no amount of weeding can eradicate it,” he said.

The university plans to link up with Kenya Seed Company and make the seeds in bulk for the farmers.

Prof Dida urged farmers to buy the new seeds once they are in the market.

—Elizabeth Ojina

Trip to boost Irish-Kenya ties

KENYA HAS made a step in improving agriculture ties with Ireland, with the two countries organising trade visits.

This Saturday, Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo leads a delegation of agribusiness leaders and government officials to the European country.

“The delegation is made up of government officials, companies and associations involved in the agri-food industries. It includes stakeholders of the potato project in Nyandarua County,” Dr Vincent O’Neill, the ambassador of Ireland to Kenya, said.

Mr O’Neill said Kenya would learn a lot from Ireland. The country has transformed its agri-food industry into one of the most advanced in the world.

“The delegation will also work on developing business and institutional links between Kenya and Ireland in relation to potatoes, fresh produce and tea and coffee,” he said.

Dr Kiptoo and his group are expected to take part in a “Doing Business in East Africa” event organised by Enterprise Ireland.

“The visit will focus on the importance of agriculture to the Irish economy. The Kenyan delegation will also learn lessons on the support provided by government agencies that facilitated this,” said Mr O’Neill said.

—Rachel Kibui

Agency launches vaccine

Scientists have launched a vaccine against the deadly bovine pleuropneumonia livestock lung disease.

The CBPP vaccine is about 80 per cent effective. The Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute said it would license the commercial production of the vaccine which is expected to be in the market in 12 months.

Studies show that the disease kills more than 24 million cattle in Sub-Sahara. In Kenya, most of the deaths occur in the arid and semi-arid counties.

Dr Hezron Wesonga, a scientist at the Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organisation said the vaccine will be a relief to livestock farmers and the country in general.

The Sh659 million six-year CBPP study was funded by the International Development Research Centre, a Canadian aid organisation. Other major partners in the project included Kalro and the International Livestock Research Institute.

“The vaccine can tolerate high temperatures. It can also reduce number of severe reactions compared to the old one,” Dr Wesonga said. “It is 10 times cheaper than the old one and can withstand harsh transport environments.”

The scientist added Kalro would put in place the necessary regulations before commercialising the vaccine.

Kevapi chief executive Jane Wachira said her organisation would work with the department of Veterinary Services and county governments to ensure farmers get the vaccine. Dr Wachira said the country uses 13 vaccines and CBPP would be the fourteenth.

Dr Jemimah Njuki, a specialist in charge of agriculture and food security at the IDRC, said smallholder livestock farmers in Africa incur losses of up to Sh200 billion annually due to animal diseases.

—Leopold Obi


Why farmer won’t turn his back on coffee like peers

By RUTH MBULA
More by this Author

Wilfred Ochengo does not regret venturing into coffee farming a decade ago. It has been rewarding and he has even begun expanding his estate.

Mr Ochengo has about 8,000 coffee trees in his Rerutus Farms in Bonchari and Kitutu Chache North constituencies in Kisii County.

He started with three acres and embarked on large scale coffee production last year.

The greatest problem he faced when venturing into coffee growing was getting land.

Kisii County is densely populated and land size has been shrinking over the years.

“I bought more land last year and now have about 10 acres,” he says.

The farmer does wet mill processing with his pulping machine. This reduces deductions by Kisii Farmers Cooperative Union and Sasini Tea and Coffee Ltd, his main customers.

“After pulping, I get the shells back and incorporate them in the organic manure,” he says.

Mr Ochengo is able to monitor the quality of his berries and maintain a high grade.

He says every bush produces between five and seven kilogrammes of berries. Fifty kilos of clean beans go for at least Sh25,000.

With the three acres, Mr Ochengo would get up to Sh1.2 million per season.

“With continued improved farming practices, I expect to get 10 to 15 kilos per tree,” he says.

Marketing his coffee has never been a problem.

The challenge at times is the fluctuating prices. This depends on the international market.

Grafted coffee is best for the region whose soils are sandy-loam.

“We use Ruiru 11 as the stock and SL-28 the scion. The two blend well to produce high quality berries,” he says.

Ruiru 11 usually has shallow roots but when grafted with SL 28, it develops roots which go deep into the soil. It is resistant to common diseases and is highly productive.

Home

Why farmer won’t turn his back on coffee like peers

Saturday June 9 2018
Wilfred Ochengo inspects his coffee crop in his farm in Kisii.

Wilfred Ochengo inspects his coffee crop in his farm in Kisii. Mr Ochengo has about 8,000 coffee trees in his Rerutus Farms in Bonchari and Kitutu Chache North. PHOTO | BENSON MOMANYI | NMG 

By RUTH MBULA
More by this Author

Wilfred Ochengo does not regret venturing into coffee farming a decade ago. It has been rewarding and he has even begun expanding his estate.

Mr Ochengo has about 8,000 coffee trees in his Rerutus Farms in Bonchari and Kitutu Chache North constituencies in Kisii County.

He started with three acres and embarked on large scale coffee production last year.

The greatest problem he faced when venturing into coffee growing was getting land.

Kisii County is densely populated and land size has been shrinking over the years.

“I bought more land last year and now have about 10 acres,” he says.

The farmer does wet mill processing with his pulping machine. This reduces deductions by Kisii Farmers Cooperative Union and Sasini Tea and Coffee Ltd, his main customers.

“After pulping, I get the shells back and incorporate them in the organic manure,” he says.

Mr Ochengo is able to monitor the quality of his berries and maintain a high grade.

He says every bush produces between five and seven kilogrammes of berries. Fifty kilos of clean beans go for at least Sh25,000.

With the three acres, Mr Ochengo would get up to Sh1.2 million per season.

“With continued improved farming practices, I expect to get 10 to 15 kilos per tree,” he says.

Marketing his coffee has never been a problem.

The challenge at times is the fluctuating prices. This depends on the international market.

Grafted coffee is best for the region whose soils are sandy-loam.

“We use Ruiru 11 as the stock and SL-28 the scion. The two blend well to produce high quality berries,” he says.

Ruiru 11 usually has shallow roots but when grafted with SL 28, it develops roots which go deep into the soil. It is resistant to common diseases and is highly productive.


Civil servant harvests wealth from bananas

By VITALIS KIMUTAI
More by this Author

A maize plantation and tea bushes sit on the opposite sides of the homestead Mrs Emily Sawe practices mixed farming.

Sandwiched between the tea and maize is an acre with rows of dark green tissue culture bananas in different stages of growth.

As we enter the plantation, two workers are harvesting mature bunches of bananas weighing between 140 and 160 kilogrammes.

The civil servant and mother of two says when she was transferred from Nairobi to Bomet six years ago, she made a decision to plant food crops on domestic and commercial scale.

“I used to buy all food while in Nairobi. I decided that the only thing I would buy in the village would be what I could not grow,” Mrs Sawe said at her farm in at Koita village in Sotik.

Agricultural officers advised her to plant tissue culture banana.

“They showed me how to mix the soil with manure and plant the seedlings. I planted 250 seedlings which took 18 months to mature,” she said.

To make maximum returns, Mrs Sawe has devised a that does not involve brokers.

“I harvest at least 10 bunches a week and ripen it before taking them to the market. It takes five days. I used to sell green bananas after harvest, but I realised I was making losses,” she says.

She built a ripening chamber in her store. Mrs Sawe sells the bananas to schools, hospitals and fruit vendors.

“When I was selling the bananas to brokers, a bunch could fetch an average of Sh350 to Sh500. A ripe one goes for between Sh1,200 and Sh1,500,” she said.

She sells a ripe fruit for Sh10. A bunch has an average of 120 to 150 fruits.

FAST GROWTH AND RESISTANCE TO DISEASES

Mrs Sawe hopes to triple the earnings in a year due to the increased number of suckers which have grown from parent trees.

“Two people carry a bunch. At least two people are required to harvest it, with one holding the bottom part as the other cuts the stem and supports it,” Mrs Sawe said.

If it is not supported, the bunch could hit the ground and be crushed.

“After harvesting the fruits, I slice the leaves and trunk. I feed them to my cows. The banana stems and leaves come in handy, especially during dry season. The main stalk is not fed to the animal immediately. It is left to dry for hours,” she said.

According to Mr Eric Boinnet, a horticulture officer in Bomet County, farmers should adhere to a spacing of three metres from plant to plant and four metres from row to the next when planting the bananas.

“One acre of land should accommodate 330 tissue culture banana seedlings. Tissue culture banana seedlings are recommended because of its fast growth and resistance to diseases,” Mr Boinnet said.

Mr Boinnet said, “Farmers should dig a stool three feet deep and wide, mix the top soil with ripen farm yard or compost manure and 150 grams of DAP fertilizer before planting a banana seedling,”

“Each stool should hold not more than four suckers and they should be of varied sizes so as to ensure continuous harvest all year round. The farm should be weed free so as to curb disease and pest attack while manure should frequently be spread,” Mr Boinnet stated.

****
Get it fast

County partners with Jkuat in the project

  • The county government of Bomet has supplied 100,000 tissue culture banana seedlings from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in just two months.
  • Farmers purchase the banana seedlings at a subsidised cost of Sh50 as compared to Sh150 in the market.
  • According to Governor Joyce Laboso’s administration, subsidising the banana seedlings will reduce hunger and enable farmers get an extra income. An acre should have 330 tissue banana seedlings.

Importance and challenges of testing animal feeds

By CAROLINE WAMBUI
More by this Author

In livestock production, feeding is the largest expense and one that has a direct impact on the growth rate, production capacity and health status of the animal.

Feed production has become competitive and some farmers have turned to making own food for their animals, partly relying on commercially manufactured feed.

But while making the feed, a problem emerges as farmers cannot clearly determine the nutritional composition because they cannot access laboratories.

Knowledge in ingredients through testing is vital as it makes farmers have an an idea of the nutrients requirements.

Ingredients need to be analysed critically on their nutritive value before they are incorporated into the diet.

Nutritional value in feed varies from source to source, season to season and batch to batch.

“A slight variation in the quality of feed ingredients affects animal performance. While underformulation reduces the animal performance, over formulation deviates from quality with losses in revenue,” says Mr Paul Mambo, a consultant.
A lab analysis is thus a key influential aspect of quality control.

The analysed raw materials help the feed manufacturer in determining the nutrition value of feed ingredients while avoiding contaminants and detecting adulterants.

While some substances or contaminants are characteristically present in feed ingredients, others are acquired during handling, processing or storage, thus making feed testing invaluable.

“Some agents adulterate feed ingredients for economic benefit. Adulterants and contaminants seriously affect the feed quality and animal productivity especially when present in more than prescribed quantities,” Mr Mambo says.

When it comes to the commercially made feeds, it is difficult to have a general assumption on the published values as a wide variability is observed in the nutrient content of raw material.

The establishment of a testing laboratory can enhance accurate feed analysis and promote feed quality.