Main Menu

Friday, December 20th, 2019

 

TC Pawan affects about 60 to 70% of the population in Bari and Nugal Regions, Somalia

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

The Tropical Storm (TS) initially named SIX that developed in the northern Indian Ocean, subsequently developed into a Tropical Cyclone (TC) named Pawan after sustaining speeds of more than 39 miles made landfall on 7 December on the coastal side Puntland (Bosaso, Garowe). The influence of Pawan was felt in the coastal areas of Bari and Mudug regions where moderate to heavy rains have fallen and strong winds were sustained on 7 and 8 December. The storm impacted the shipping lane that links Somalia and Gulf states. TC Pawan caused widespread destruction of property and infrastructure including roads, buildings and boats due to the strong winds.

According to the Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Agency (HADMA), some 35,600 people in Puntland have been affected by TC Pawan and the consecutive heavy rains which accompanied the tropical cyclone. This resulted in damage to shelters, including collapsed houses and the loss of domestic household items, which have been washed away by the flash floods and reduces households’ capacities to access basic shelter. In Eyl town, one of the main telecommunication towers was destroyed by the storms but there is another telecom company operating there and the affected areas are reachable through mobile phones.

Between 6 to 8 December 2019, TC Pawan caused flash floods and Pawan-related storms in the Puntland. TC Pawan has displaced communities, impacting access to basic health services, which has left affected communities exposed to diseases. The most affected households need urgent humanitarian assistance as they are currently in dire living conditions. Damage was also sustained to IDP settlements, infrastructure and social services such as roads, schools, as well as telecommunication towers and electrical installations. The worst hit areas include Nugaal Region (Eyl and Dangorayo Districts), Karkaar (Qardho District) and Bari Region (Alula, Iskushuban, and Baargaal). Other areas affected include the coastal villages in Bari Region including Hafun, Iskushuban, Baargaal, Quandala and Alula districts.

Summary of the current response

Overview of Host National Society Response Action

In response to TC Pawan, from 5 till 12 December, the affected branches, Garowe and Bosaso, carried out need assessments with technical support of SRCS coordination office and IFRC to identify the impact of TC Pawan on the affected areas. These assessments were reinforced by a multi-sectoral assessment that were conducted under the coordination of HADMA. According to the HADMA needs assessment, TC Pawan has resulted in 7 deaths, 11 people seriously injured, 168 houses destroyed and 65 damaged houses and displaced 450 households. The operational plan was prepared based on the findings on the assessment in the affected areas. However, the support expected from the local authorities and other actors are very limited as compared to the magnitude of the cyclone impact on the population, the loss of livestock, livelihoods and other properties.

SRCS has a long-term record in providing life-saving assistance to people in need. SRCS’ presence and local networks across the country are exceptionally well-established, which enables SRCS to also reach vulnerable populations who are not served by other humanitarian actors, for instance in highly remote areas. SRCS has vast expertise with different types of programming through multilateral projects supported by IFRC, as well as through bilateral programs with Movement partners and with ICRC. This includes youth development, disaster risk management, community-based nutrition, Community-Based Health and First Aid, HIV programmes, restoring family links, community resilience (including WASH, Livelihoods, Drought Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation), dissemination of IHL, humanitarian values & RC/RC principles, and rehabilitation for physically disabled people.

SRCS volunteers play a critical role at all stages of SRCS’s programmes. This includes assessment, identification and registration of target communities, nomads and IDPs. In addition, volunteers service the Oral Rehydration Points (ORPs) and carry out hygiene promotion and community mobilisation. Branches in the targeted areas have teams of trained volunteers in epidemic control, Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST), health and hygiene promotion.

SRCS branches of Bosaso and Garowe in Puntland have mobilised their volunteers, staff and communities in all areas affected by the cyclone in different parts of the two regions. The two branches will conduct hygiene promotion and water treatment campaigns as the water sources in all the affected areas have been destroyed by the flash floods. There is fear of outbreak of water borne diseases as there is no clean and safe drinking water. The branches are also planning to distribute non-food items consisting of plastic tarpaulin, blankets, plastic floor mats and kitchen sets for the affected households in both regions. The branches have competent volunteers and staff but there are inadequate financial capacity and shortage of equipment and limited logistical capacity. Even so, the branches can do a lot to continue such responses despite limited resources.


ADEI lance ses activités à Abidjan pour accompagner les acteurs de l’écosystème du numérique


Côte d’Ivoire : « Macron apporte un soutien politique à Ouattara (Spécialiste)


Terrorisme au Sahel: la France, un nouveau bouc émissaire


Le Roi Mohammed VI appelle à dresser un bilan rigoureux de la mise en œuvre du chantier de la régionalisation avancée

Publié le 21.12.2019 à 00h18 par APA

Le Roi Mohammed VI a appelé, vendredi, à une « étude constructive » et un « dialogue sérieux » pour dresser un bilan rigoureux de la mise en œuvre du chantier de la régionalisation avancée.Dans un message adressé aux participants aux premières Assises nationales de la régionalisation avancée, le Souverain a relevé que l’application effective de la régionalisation avancée, de ses principes théoriques comme de ses modalités pratiques, reste tributaire de la mise en place d’une politique régionale clairement définie et réalisable en matière économique, sociale, culturelle et environnementale.

« Un tel processus doit être mené en accord avec une politique publique intégrant la dimension régionale, s’appuyant sur une économie forte et efficiente, génératrice de croissance, pourvoyeuse d’emplois et garante de justice sociale et s’attachant à conférer une efficacité accrue aux programmes et aux projets entrepris au niveau territorial pour qu’ils puissent profiter réellement aux bénéficiaires ciblés », a-t-il indiqué.

Le Roi a également invité les régions à faire une évaluation d’étape pour redresser le cap dans la définition des projets prioritaires et leur hiérarchisation, ainsi que dans l’élaboration d’une architecture renforcée des projets programmés et de leur montage financier.

Selon lui, « le but ultime est de garantir l’efficacité de ces projets et de parvenir à faire converger les différentes politiques et les divers programmes publics au niveau régional ».

Le Souverain a aussi mis en exergue l’importance de mettre à profit les mécanismes contractuels établis entre les régions, l’État et le reste des intervenants en vue d’élaborer et de mener à bien les projets de développement prioritaires.

Il s’est dit attendre que les travaux de ce Forum débouchent sur des recommandations pratiques, qui permettront de relever le défi du développement régional, de réduire les disparités existantes, d’améliorer l’attractivité et la compétitivité au niveau des territoires, ajoutant qu’il importe de s’ouvrir aux mécanismes modernes de gouvernance financière, d’assurer l’efficacité de toutes les formes de démocratie participative, d’ériger cette dernière en levier majeur de développement socio-économique intégré et durable.

C’est aussi une importante occasion de débattre autour de l’expérience accumulée durant les quatre dernières années pour assurer la mise en œuvre des lois organiques sur les collectivités territoriales et définir les moyens de relever les multiples défis auxquels les élites régionales ont dû faire face dans l’exercice des compétences assignées aux régions, a poursuivi le Souverain.

« Il s’agit en somme, de marquer un temps d’arrêt pour mener de manière approfondie une évaluation de la situation présente, afin d’envisager une nouvelle phase d’action. Celle-ci, en même temps qu’elle s’inscrira dans la continuité, devra permettre d’affermir les règles de bonne gouvernance dans la gestion des affaires des Régions et d’aplanir les obstacles jusqu’ici rencontrés », a-t-il relevé

Les premières assises nationales de la régionalisation avancée se sont ouvertes, vendredi à Agadir. Organisées par le ministère de l’Intérieur et l’Association des Régions du Maroc, ce forum connaît la participation d’environ 1.400 personnes, notamment des élus, des représentants de divers secteurs ministériels, des institutions constitutionnelles et des institutions publiques, des universitaires, des experts nationaux et internationaux et des acteurs de la société civile, en particulier des représentants des comités consultatifs créés auprès des conseils régionaux.


Coopération: Échanges commerciaux déficitaires entre Paris et Abidjan

Publié le 21.12.2019 à 00h18 par APA

Les échanges commerciaux entre la France et la Côte d’Ivoire sont marqués par de fortes importations en provenance de l’Hexagone, impliquant des soldes commerciaux déficitaires de 52,91 milliards de F CFA et de 27,836 milliards de F CFA enregistrés respectivement en 2017 et 2018.Cette chute du volume des échanges en 2018 est due principalement à la baisse des importations ivoiriennes sur la même période (119,700 milliards de FCFA en 2017 contre 91,141 milliards de FCFA en 2018), indique une note officielle.

Pour la construction d’un marché à Bouaké et à Yopougon (Ouest d’Abidjan), une convention a été signée entre Paris et Abidjan. Cela devrait permettra de reconstruire à Bouaké un grand marché et de procéder à l’aménagement de toute la zone marchande (39,36 milliards FCFA).

La construction d’un marché moderne de demi-gros et de détail de Yopougon, dans l’Ouest d’Abidjan, devrait  bénéficier d’un financement de 19,68 milliards FCFA. La France apporte des appuis à l’Etat de Côte d’Ivoire. L’appui au secteur éducatif s’élève à 328 milliards FCFA.    

 La dernière visite de M. Emmanuel Macron en Côte d’Ivoire remonte au 5è Sommet Union africaine -Union européenne  (UA-EU) qui s’est déroulée à Abidjan du 28 au 29 novembre 2017.


Primaire démocrate: Pete « la menace » Buttigieg sous le feu de ses rivaux

Publié le 20.12.2019 à 23h52 par AFP

La guerre est déclarée entre Pete Buttigieg et ses rivaux démocrates, qui se sentent menacés dans la course à la Maison Blanche par l’ascension du jeune candidat à quelques semaines du lancement de la primaire aux Etats-Unis.

En quelques mois, Pete Buttigieg a consolidé son statut de prétendant sérieux à l’investiture démocrate à seulement 37 ans. « C’est actuellement la bataille pour l’Iowa et le New Hampshire, et les candidats se positionnent », a expliqué sur NBC le gouverneur de Californie Gavin Newsom, interrogé après le dernier le débat de l’année, jeudi à Los Angeles.

Selon lui, M. Buttigieg « est le mieux placé et, par conséquence, il est au centre de la tempête » car ces deux premiers scrutins, les 3 et 11 février, donneront le ton de la primaire démocrate.

Lors de ce sixième débat, le jeune maire de l’Indiana a montré un visage combatif en répondant aux attaques sur ses riches donateurs et sur son manque d’expérience.

La première charge est venue d’Elizabeth Warren, qui représente l’aile gauche du parti et avec qui les tensions ne cessent de monter depuis plusieurs semaines.

« Des milliardaires dans des caves à vin ne devraient pas choisir le prochain président », a-t-elle fustigé jeudi, en référence à une récente collecte de fonds de M. Buttigieg dans une cave viticole de Californie.

Des sept candidats présents, « je suis le seul à être ni millionnaire, ni milliardaire », a rétorqué Pete Buttigieg, en référence à la fortune de Mme Warren dont le revenu est selon lui « cent fois supérieur » au sien.

Manifestement bien préparé à l’offensive, il a reproché à la sénatrice de 70 ans de « décerner des tests de pureté » qu’elle est elle-même « incapable d’obtenir ».

L’élue du Massachusetts, qui refuse les contributions des grandes entreprises, n’avait pas été aussi regardante dans le passé sur ses contributeurs, a-t-il continué. « Cela vous a-t-il corrompu, Madame la sénatrice? Bien sûr que non ».

Une animosité compréhensible, pour Kenneth Baer. « Il prend une partie de l’électorat d’Elizabeth Warren », dit à l’AFP le consultant démocrate, notamment les « blancs diplômés ».

– Sang-froid et répondant –

La sénatrice du Minnesota Amy Klobuchar est revenue sur le manque d’envergure nationale de M. Buttigieg, maire de South Bend, une ville de 100.000 habitants. Lors du précédent débat, il s’en était pris aux vétérans de la politique qui incarnaient « l’establishment à Washington » méprisé par l’électorat populaire.

« Je n’ai pas dénigré votre expérience comme élu local, je l’ai été moi-même », a lancé la candidate, qui comme lui fait partie du courant modéré.

Elle a enfoncé le clou en rappelant qu’il avait « perdu de 20 points » lors de la seule élection au niveau de l’Indiana à laquelle il avait participé, en 2010.

Loin de se laisser démonter, « Mayor Pete » a rappelé son passé militaire en Afghanistan, et sa capacité à rassembler au delà des partis pour être largement réélu à South Bend, après avoir révélé son homosexualité dans un Etat très conservateur.

« Il s’en est bien tiré. Il a gardé son sang-froid, ne s’est pas laissé déstabiliser et a eu du répondant », analyse pour l’AFP Terry Madonna, du Centre de politique et d’administration publique de l’Université Franklin and Marshall.

Amy Klobuchar, 59 ans, est apparue comme la grande gagnante de cette soirée, ses réparties fulgurantes et son ton affuté compensant un programme qui reste flou. Mais elle est à la traîne dans les sondages, son électorat blanc, rural et modéré étant attiré par la jeunesse de M. Buttigieg.

Pour Kenneth Baer, Mme Klobuchar doit aller au-delà du message « +je suis du MidWest, j’ai gagné plusieurs fois au niveau national et c’est pour cela que vous devriez me choisir+, ce n’est pas un argument pour être présidente des Etats-Unis ».

Terry Madonna souligne l’absence « d’un programme auquel elle peut se référer sur des points spécifiques » alors qu’une contre-performance dans l’Iowa pourrait signer la fin de sa campagne.

L’universitaire tempère pourtant la portée de la soirée électorale car « ces débats produisent un mouvement éphémère, pas une énergie qui dure ». Mme Klobuchar l’a bien compris, elle a débuté vendredi une tournée de trois jours dans l’Iowa pour capitaliser sur son succès.


The pioneers: Rise and fall of profitable cotton farming in Kenya

PETER NDEGEBy PETER NDEGE
More by this Author

In 1902, the manufacturers of cotton textiles in Britain established the British Cotton Growers Association. Its main function was to promote cotton production in British colonies wherever local conditions suited the crop.

The primary aim of cotton growing in Kenya, as in other British colonies, was to assist Britain to minimise its reliance on foreign, particularly the United States sources of cotton for her textile manufacturing industries. The US source had become unreliable since the civil war in the 1870s.

The association was ready to provide the colonies with necessary scientific research, develop suitable varieties of cotton seeds for distribution and the necessary capital for the enterprise.

The colonial government in Kenya was expected to identify areas where cotton would be planted and to establish infrastructure such as roads and markets to facilitate the production and sale of cotton.

This arrangement suited the colonial state, which believed that agricultural production, including cotton growing, would help it defray the cost of the Uganda Railway, which had reached Kisumu in 1901. Exports of cotton would also pay the cost of administering the colony and benefit the motherland.

The early years of cotton growing were full of trial and error. Since most colonial administrators hardly possessed the requisite agronomic knowledge before the establishment of the Department of Agriculture, they often relied on inaccurate guesses to determine areas suitable for the crop.

Advertisement

They made many mistakes. Eventually, cotton was introduced among the Luhya communities bordering Uganda and among the lakeside Luo of both sides of the Nyanza gulf. Cotton growing was also carried out in Lamu at the Coast and in Kirinyaga in the drier parts of Central Province.

Initially, the British East African Corporation Limited, the Association’s subsidiary, obtained cotton seeds from Egypt to be distributed in Nyanza and other parts of Kenya for trial. Apart from cotton seeds, the colonial administration introduced new technologies of production to the cotton growing in these areas. These consisted of imported jembes and ploughs.

Local oxen were trained to assist with ploughing. In 1910, the British East African Corporation established a ginnery at Kisumu to semi-process cotton produced in Uganda.

SPIRIT OF COMPETITION

In later years, many more Indian-owned ginneries were established in all the cotton growing areas, including Sio Port, Nambale and Malakisi in Busia County; Ndere, Asembo and Rang’ala in Siaya; Kibos near Kisumu; and in Kendu Bay and Homa Bay in the present Homa Bay County.

From the outset, division of labour based on race characterised the cotton industry in Kenya. Africans grew cotton.

Indians bought it from them and ginned it. British companies bought the lint and exported it home for the manufacture of textiles.

They then imported the manufactured textile and other items back to Kenya for sale. This arrangement was strictly adhered to.

Initially, cotton growing was not readily accepted by Africans. Cotton was inedible, entailed too much work in comparison to the traditional crops to which Africans were accustomed.

It was also vulnerable to very many bacterial, fungal and viral diseases. Heavy hailstorms often destroyed the entire crop. Very great care had to be taken to pick the ripe cotton at the right time and to ensure that the cotton lint was not soiled.

The colonial state, therefore, used chiefs to force Africans to grow cotton. In many cases, the chiefs themselves became the crop’s pioneers and demonstration farmers.

Cotton in a farm and (left) a farmer sprays Cotton in a farm and (left) a farmer sprays cotton crops in a farm in the coastal Kenya region. As the government tries to revive the cotton industry as part of its Big Four Agenda, including introduction of Bt Cotton, the reasons for the crop’s checkered course in the country’s agricultural history should be very carefully analysed, meaningful policies formulated and translated into sustainable practice. FILE PHOTO | NMG

They mobilised their subjects’ labour. In Nyanza Province, such chiefs included Amoth Owira of Alego and Paulo Mbuya of Karachuonyo.

Mbuya is credited with the establishment of group or communal farms which instilled a spirit of competition among cotton growers.

He rewarded individuals whose plots did well. Another individual who promoted cotton growing in Busia was the Anglican Church leader, Canon Jeremiah Awori, uncle Moody Awori’s father.

He planted the crop in his shambas that straddled the Kenya-Uganda border. He sold most of his cotton in Uganda, where prices were relatively higher, rather than at the buying post at Nambale.

Cotton growing faced many internal and international problems. Internally, the British economic policy in Kenya invariably favoured European coffee, tea and maize farmers who were supplied with cheap labour, infrastructure, marketing facilities and finances.

TRY THEIR LUCK

This continued unabated even when attempts should have been made to also assist African agriculture as was advocated by the dual policy of the 1920s.

Moreover, the period between 1929 and 1934 were years of heavy rains, drought and locust invasions, which led to bad and almost no harvests of cotton and other African grown crops like sorghum and maize.

Commodity prices dramatically fell. Shortages of revenue led to retrenchment of both administrative and agricultural staff, particularly in African reserves.

Many European settlers left the country. Many others significantly reduced labour and production on their farms. For the first time Africans sought but never secured employment in European farms. Paradoxically, these were the very factors that forced many Africans to try their luck with cotton.

Even as many Africans were increasingly forced to undertake cotton production, the First World War, 1914-1919 and the Second World War, 1939-1945 disrupted international shipping and forced Britain to reorient her domestic economy for the immediate requirements of the two wars. In Kenya, the colonial state mobilised the local administration to recruit Africans to serve in the wars.

Most administrators were also withdrawn from the cotton growing districts to serve in the war. Moreover, the colonial administration during both wars requisitioned African-owned livestock and grains for purposes of feeding soldiers.

Then there were two major depressions during the years between the two wars. These were equally disruptive of the cotton economy.

To save the situation, the colonial state enacted very stringent cotton rules that regulated growing, sale and ginning, first in 1926 and later in and 1936.

Throughout the colonial period and afterwards, cotton production and exports were therefore characterised by a lot of instability due to changes in its production and vacillations in its external demand.

Cotton prices were either lowered or remained constant. In view of these vicissitudes, African peasants therefore grew cotton primarily as a means of coping with the economic exactions of colonialism: taxation, paying fees for their children and purchasing few imports that increasingly became necessities.

IMPROVE CONDITIONS

African members and leaders of the Native Chambers of Commerce and the Local Native Councils often pleaded with the colonial state to improve conditions of cotton growing.

For instance, they demanded that cotton prices be increased and that Africans also be allowed to establish ginneries.

Canon Awori added his voice to these requests through letters to the colonial administration. As expected the colonial state hardly heeded to such requests.

The story of rise and fall of cotton as a cash crop demonstrates the folly of having primarily relied on the external market for Kenya’s agricultural development.

With time, the market contracted as cotton was replaced by synthetics. Large quantities of second-hand or cast away clothes were and are still being imported into the country.

Today, the old ginneries have become rustic and covered with cobwebs. Textile factories like Kisumu Cotton Mills and Raymonds, now Rupa, either serve as go downs or lie in utter waste.

As the government tries to revive the cotton industry as part of its Big Four Agenda, including by introduction of Bt Cotton, the reasons for the crop’s checkered course in the country’s agricultural history should be very carefully analysed, meaningful policies formulated and translated into sustainable practice.


Father, son reap from creating urban farms

RICHARD MAOSI By RICHARD MAOSI
More by this Author

Traffic is moving at a snail’s pace as we leave Nairobi’s central business district to Muthaiga North. Ordinarily, without traffic, it takes 10 minutes to reach Wonder Farm, located in Muthaiga North, one of the leafy suburbs of the city.

Some 30 minutes later, we arrive on the farm and a team made up of father and son is glad to meet us. Dennis Mureithi, together with his father Daniel Gitau, and a host of workers, are busy putting final touches to some 500 multistorey gardens for their clients.

The conical-shaped gardens are made from ultraviolet treated polythene materials of 0.5mm thickness. The materials are cut then fastened together.

“We make the base wider for stability and reduce the size of the gardens as we move up so that we end up with a pyramid,” says Mureithi.

The gardens are then filled with well-drained loam or red soil, mixed with goat manure, which is part of value addition on their part.

“I came up with the idea of urban gardening in 2013 as a solution to shrinking land sizes in both urban and rural areas,” says Mureithi, whose interest in the business started when he was 18 after seeing his father do it. The interest made the 24-year-old to study for a Diploma in Agriculture at the Thika Technical Institute.

Advertisement

“Most land is now taken up by houses but people still need food. These gardens are part of the solution to urban gardening and improved food security because you can grow sukuma wiki, tomatoes, spinach, managu, kunde, minji, onions and strawberries here.”

The storey garden rises six layers from the ground, with the farmer using each terrace to grow different crops.

“The gardens utilise water and manure well, especially in areas with inadequate water, as they can consume between 20-30 litres of water per week,” he observes. The duo make the gardens on their farm and transport them to their clients.

“There, the first thing is to identify a site for installation, where the ground is levelled. Thereafter, soil mixed with manure is filled in the garden and thereafter, seedlings or seeds are planted on top of the soil, and watered regularly with 20 litres a day on daily basis.”

Mureithi says crops grown in storey gardens do not face stiff competition for nutrients with weeds.

UTILISE THE LITTLE SPACE AVAILABLE

“Weeds are deprived sunlight by the shadow formed by the six-layer structure standing tall hence they cannot thrive and they can easily be picked by hand making husbandry easier.”

He says an average garden occupies a space of 4 square feet, where one grows up to 130 plants, and each has access to water, manure and sunlight.

Dennis Mureithi, together with his father Dennis Mureithi, together with his father Daniel Gitau at a client’s farm. An average garden occupies a space of 4 square feet, where one grows up to 130 plants, and each has access to water, manure and sunlight. PHOTO | RICHARD MAOSI | NMG

“The normal garden can only accommodate 65 plants on the same space. These gardens can also be used inside greenhouses. A standard greenhouse measuring 8m by 15m can accommodate up to 30 storey gardens.”

And on half-an-acre piece of land, one is able to accommodate more than 500 multistorey gardens.

“An acre of land can hold 40,000 sukuma wiki plants, but using multi storey gardens, you will end up with some 200,000 plants,” says Mureithi, who sells each garden at Sh2,500.

The father and son, who employ eight people, also make hanging gardens from wood and pellets, which are then fixed to the wall.

Gitau says each garden has a planter filled with soil where the seeds are placed to sprout.

“A single pellet measuring three by five feet costs Sh5,000. The gardens are mostly used to beautify balconies or walls.”

They sell the gardens to urban farmers and ranchers in Kiambu, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nairobi.

Evans Nyabaro, a farmer in Kericho County, says there is need to utilise the little available space to feed the growing population.

“I came across the storey gardening technology at the ASK showground in Nairobi. I use it to grow tomatoes, spinach and sukuma wiki. It saves on labour, manure and conserves soil,” he adds.

Brian Sakwa, crops expert from Kalro, Njoro in Nakuru County, says that because of limited space in urban cities, the gardens offer long-term solutions to food shortages.

According to him, urban agriculture is one way of reflecting development in economic and social status.

“The idea can be used to supplement food production in towns and cities without relying on scarce land,” he says.

However, he notes that while more people use urban gardens to produce should, it should be improved to cater for agroforestry and other sectors.

Get it fast

Benefits of having an urban garden

Spinach, sukuma wiki, onions, tomatoes, peas, basil, parsley, capsicum, herbs, chilies, mint, strawberries and indigenous vegetables are some of the crops that can be grown in the urban gardens.

Hanging garden helps one to take advantage of small spaces around the home to grow vegetables, fruits and flowers.
Growing crops on the gardens minimises challenges associated with diseases.

Since the crops are not grown on the ground, this minimises chances of pest attacks.


Agronomist notebook: Practices that earn you more from bananas

ANN MACHARIABy ANN MACHARIA
More by this Author

Daniel smiles broadly as I enter his banana plantation in Maragua, Murang’a County, perhaps because this has been one of his best years.

This year, demand for bananas has been high, according to him, with the farm selling each bunch at between Sh700-Sh1,200.

One of the things that has pushed up demand is increased consumption of the produce, especially the value added products, as families now add banana powder in porridge or blend it with wheat flour to make chapatis.

Bananas are a profitable crop as the pseudostems and fibres are used to make fabrics and mats for decorations.

To make profit from the crop, one should grow tissue culture varieties acquired from certified growers as they are highly productive and more resistant to pests and diseases.

The crop does well in altitudes of 1,800 above sea level and requires warm and humid climatic conditions. Higher altitude areas have colder climatic conditions that slow down the growth of the crop, and the inflorescence may fail to develop.

Advertisement

When planting bananas, the land should be well-prepared and a planting hole measuring 90cm by 90cm by 60cm in depth and a spacing of 3 by 3 metres used depending on the variety.

While digging the hole, it’s advisable to separate the topsoil from the subsoil, which is later mixed with well rotted manure before refilling the hole. The crop takes eight to 15 months to mature depending on the variety.

Most farmers, however, find it challenging in controlling or managing banana stools, which affects production. To ensure maximum production, only three pseudo stems should be allowed on each stool.

Remove unwanted suckers regularly by cutting them at the ground level or destroying the heart of the suckers without detaching it from the mother plant.

DURING THE EARLY DAYS

Desuckering can also be achieved by pouring kerosene on the heart of the suckers. During pruning, one should ensure at the time of the harvest of the first crop that the set sucker will become ready for the next ratoon crop.

Bananas are shallow-rooted but high feeders hence the need to provide adequate nutrients to the crop. Removal of dead leaves is also essential as this acts as a hiding and breeding ground for the pests.

One of the diseases that affect banana plants is cigar-end rot, which is fungal. It is a common disease in most banana growing areas which affects the developing fingers.

In most cases, it causes a dry rot of the flower end that produces an ash grey wrinkled lesion on the fingers. The disease may spread during transportation and storage.

In most cases, the pathogen causing it enters the banana fingers through the flower, causing a dry end rot that spreads from the flower into the tip of the immature banana fingers.

Sometimes the tips of the immature fruits separate upwards. The disease can also spread by the irrigation water and the farm implements.

The infection is common during the early days of fruit emergence and spreads along with the growth of the fruits, causing the blackening of the banana skin.

The tips of the infected fingers end up being covered by powdery mass of spores resembling grey ash end of cedar.

It is a common disease in warm moist conditions, especially in high altitude areas and plantations with excessive shade.

The disease can be controlled by frequent removal and burning of the dead flower parts and the infected fruits to prevents its spread.

One should also ensure the irrigation water is free from the pathogen to prevent the spread of the diseases. Cigar end rot is effectively controlled by covering the flower with the fruiting bag before the hands emerge.