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Laikipia farm manager awarded British certificate in crop protection

By BRIAN OKINDA
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A farm manager from Laikipia has been awarded this year’s British Agrochemical Standards Inspection Scheme (BASIS), the Louise Labuschagne award.

The general manager of Kariunga Greens Farm in Laikipia, Daniel Ontonyi, was given the award after he emerged the best student of BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection.

The annual award, named after the curriculum’s founder, Louise Labuschagne, who is the co-founder of Real IPM together with Dr Henry Wainwright, is given as a certificate of competence on BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection.

It is a legal requirement for those selling and advising on crop protection in the United Kingdom, and the course has been running in Kenya for the last 18 years, showing potential global customers that good agricultural practices are observed in the country too.

“Mr Ontonyi represents the future of agriculture advisors who, we at Real IPM are dedicated to helping grow the throughput of agriculture in Kenya,” said Dr Wainwright, the general manager of Real IPM.

BASIS is a benchmark professional course for practicing agronomists and is an industry standard that exposes learners to the global perspective in horticulture production, best practice in crop protection that concern safety of operators, consumers and the environment.

It also keeps pace with changes in the industry when it comes to practical technologies and innovations that aim at improving quality and profitability in agricultural production.

For instance, the implementation of integrated pest management in dealing with pests, which is now widely accepted as a safe and sustainable approach in agricultural production, is a brainchild of BASIS.

The course is offered at the institution’s headquarters in Thika and trains agronomists on the BASIS Crop Protection Certificate of Competency; a certificate which is globally recognised as a measure of competence for crop advisors.

“With the current changing agriculture dynamics it is important to stay informed by utilising the most up-to-date information. We empower our students with this information to support them in their agriculture and horticulture decisions,” said Lee Ngugi, the training manager at Real IPM.

According to Mr Ontonyi, the course is structured to build on one’s field experience and also provide an opportunity to engage with emerging global trends.

“I am honoured to receive this award and I believe it has equipped me with additional skills as a crop advisor,” he said, encouraging agriculture professionals to attend the course as it affords one a passport to work anywhere in the world as an agriculture advisor.